Triple Option Attack: #16 LSU

Next up on the Triple Option Attack is #16 LSU

Music to listen to: Shoot, Pass Slam by Shaq

I could have chosen plenty of artists but Shaq gets some love for his decent rapping skills.

The Story: If you suggested that Les Miles and the entire LSU football program would be in panic mode coming into the 2010 season after capturing the 2007 national championship, its second in the decade, people would have accused you of hyperbole and lacking a proper perspective of what constitutes a successful program. The Tigers have won 17 games the last two seasons but are only .500 in SEC contests over this period.

When you look at the overall landscape of the SEC, fans and analysts alike are right to question where LSU lies in the conference. Alabama and Florida have surpassed them. Georgia and Auburn are making improvements in their own way. Arkansas is even making noise of having a better squad this season.

However, with elite talent coming into the program every year and a national profile, fans are wondering why the Tigers have underachieved the last two years. You don’t have to look further than head coach Les Miles, who’s personality and coaching style may make him endearing to his players but also leaves him liable to making crucial mistakes during games like at Ole Miss last year.

Last Season: Finished with a record of 9-4 last season, including a 5-3 mark in the SEC. The season ended with a loss to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl. It was marked by many interesting moments.

-The Tigers almost lost at Washington, an inferior team, in the season opener.

-Barely won at Mississippi State, needing a goal-line stand to preserve the victory.

-Almost beat Florida at home.

-Lost to Ole Miss with some of the worst clock management in school history.

-Needed overtime and some luck to beat Arkansas

Offense: This entire post can be about Jordan Jefferson, the inconsistent junior quarterback. He has the physical tools to be quarterback that can lead his team to a conference title but makes too many mental mistakes and throwing errors. Some may point to last season as a solid one because he only had seven turnovers, which served arguably the main plan for a quarterback, not turning the ball over. However, he still needs to improve for the Tigers to reach its goal.

While Jefferson’s campaign last year could be looked at in a positive or negative way, the offensive line was one of the worst in the SEC and maybe the entire nation. Because of its play, the entire offense struggled, especially running the football. The line may get two new starters and a promise from the offensive coordinating staff to run the ball more may help.

One thing that LSU doesn’t have to worry about is playmakers on the offense. Senior Terrence Toliver will lead a talented receiving corps which also includes Russell Shepard and Rueban Randle that will help the Tigers score points.

Defense: While the offense had struggles last season, the defense continued its stellar play behind preseason All-SEC selection, senior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

The only issue may be returning three starters in the secondary. However, another all-conference player, cornerback Patrick Peterson, has returned to anchor that unit.

The Schedule

9-4-10 North Carolina @Atlanta, GA
9-11-10 at Vanderbilt
9-18-10 MISSISSIPPI STATE
9-25-10 WEST VIRGINIA
10-2-10 TENNESSEE
10-9-10 at Florida
10-16-10 MCNEESE STATE
10-23-10 at Auburn
11-6-10 ALABAMA
11-13-10 LOUISIANA-MONROE
11-20-10 MISSISSIPPI
11-27-10 at Arkansas

If the Tigers can get past North Carolina in Atlanta, and right now I’m penciling that in as a win, than they should be 5-0 heading into Florida. However, the contest against the Gators starts the toughest stretch of the season as LSU will travel to Florida, to Auburn, host McNeese State and host Alabama over a four week period. If the Tigers can somehow come out of that 2-2, than a ten win season isn’t out of question.

Most Famous Sports Alum: Another stellar list to choose from but ultimately, you have to go with Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq has become one of the biggest, figurate and literally, crossover figure ever in professional sports. Even your grandma knows who Shaq is or at least how he looks. BTW, seeing a skinny Shaq in the video above is awesome!

Most “Badass“ Alum: There have been plenty of beautiful women I would have chosen for the “crush,” but since I picked Jimmy Carter in my last Triple Option Attack for Georgia Tech, I’m going to go with another political “badass” for LSU. Nothing warms the heart more than flipping around the news shows on TV on Sunday mornings and seeing James Carville lay the smack down on the pundits.

Prediction: 9-3

While the Tigers are talented, I still don’t trust the offensive line, Jefferson and especially Les Miles. They can beat Florida on the road but then blow a contest at home to Mississippi State, I don’t know how to project them. However, I’ll give them a few wins and maybe Les Miles survives the season as well.

Sports Inquirer Top-25 Preseason College Football Poll:

#25 West Virginia

#24 South Carolina

#23 Auburn

#22 Oregon State

#21 Arkansas

#20 Florida State

#19 Georgia

#18 North Carolina

#17 Georgia Tech

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