SDS kicks off a series looking in-depth at teams and their biggest subplots heading into 2013. Up next: LSU.
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
The Tigers enter 2013 in a little bit different situation than in years past. Usually, LSU is the frontrunner to win the western division, but because of player personnel losses, the Tigers are underrated and rebuilding. Not only do they replace some players at key positions, but they have one of the toughest schedules in the entire country. But even when rebuilding, LSU is must-watch in 2013. They easily have the talent to win the national championship, but it’s going to come down to the revamped offense.
2. Revamped offense
LSU’s lethargic and very average offense stands to make a jump in 2013. With Cam Cameron at the helm, Les Miles and Zach Mettenberger have to be giddy just thinking about it. Cameron should incorporate the backs and tight ends more, getting Mett more in tune and in rhythm quicker than last season. The backfield is loaded and the receiving corps has two of the finest receivers in the league in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. To me, LSU winning a championship is all about how much better the offense will be in 2013.
3. New-look defense
Anytime any team loses four D-line starters, top middle linebacker and two secondary stars, you can’t expect them to just reload. Reloading is a term thrown around way too much, but certainly, the Tigers have the talent to plug star caliber players into the lineup and be very competitive. They have leaders at every level in DT Anthony Johnson, LB Lamin Barrow and safety Craig Loston to ease the transition with younger players. John Chavis will always put a great product on the field, and the Tigers are packed with talent. The Tigers are used to being top 10 in the country in total defense, but they could take a step back this season.
LSU always has the one player who sets the tone on defense. Three years ago it was Patrick Peterson. Two years ago it was the Honey Badger. Last year it was Kevin Minter, along with three or four other players. Who will it be in 2013? Two players who stand out in my mind are DT Anthony Johnson and safety Craig Loston. Both players play with an edge, and Johnson plays with an attitude. Each are veteran leaders capable of setting the tone and giving this young, inexperienced defense a swagger and cockiness that LSU football is all about.
SDS takeaway: The margin of error for LSU in 2013 will be razor thin. This club could win eight or nine games, or they could win 12 and the national championship. The talent is there on defense, but they’re inexperienced. Likewise, the offense must develop under Cameron, and Zach Mettenberger must take a big step forward. I’m certainly not discounting the Tigers, but the 9.5 over/under seems more like an under to me.
Photo Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports