BATON ROUGE, La. -- As long as Les Miles refuses to name his starting quarterback, that position battle will occupy the attention of most LSU fans.
However, several starting jobs are up for grabs as the Tigers push to within two weeks of their season opener. We’re leaving out ongoing battles on the interior offensive line and at linebacker, but here are three positional competitions that Miles’ staff is still working to resolve:
Quarterback: Certainly everyone around the program -- not just the fans, but the players and coaches -- is ready for a resolution to the Anthony Jennings-Brandon Harris competition. Jennings was the obvious winner in Round 1, starting every game but one last season, even if his passing stats left a lot to be desired. However, it’s clear Harris has jumped into the lead since preseason practice started. Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron haven’t anointed anyone as the 2015 starter yet, so the explosive Harris still has some work to do if he is to take the field first against McNeese State on Sept. 5.
Defensive end: New defensive line coach Ed Orgeron doesn’t have a ton of proven performers at his disposal here. Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal are his top veteran options, but watch out for freshmen Arden Key and Isaiah Washington. Based on the praise they consistently receive from Miles, it’s clear the rookies will factor into LSU’s rebuilding pass rush in 2015. Sophomores Deondre Clark and Sione Teuhema are also expected to contribute after playing as reserves in 2014. This is a key position in Orgeron and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's first season on campus, because the departure of starters Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco, the unproven depth and the Tigers’ paltry 2014 sack total (19) made the position a total mystery entering the offseason.
Cornerback: With junior Tre'Davious White manning one cornerback spot, LSU has a possible first-round draft pick locking down one side of the field. The question is who takes over the starting job vacated when Jalen Collins jumped to the NFL after a strong junior season. Dwayne Thomas or Ed Paris will probably be that guy. However, we can’t rule out a freshman -- namely five-star recruit Kevin Toliver, but we might as well mention Donte Jackson -- someday surpassing the veterans and becoming a starter.