Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Strong and weak: LSU Tigers
By Edward Aschoff
Every year, players come and go in college football. With the turnover teams can either grow or take steps back.
It's time to check out LSU's strongest position and weakest position heading into the 2013 season:
Strongest position: Offensive line
There was a lot of shuffling and reshuffling along the offensive line last year, but it should be a real strength of the Tigers this fall. LSU returns four linemen who started at least six games last year. The Tigers have some seasoned guys returning, along with some very talented youngsters to use. Junior La'el Collins spent last season lining up at left guard, but with Josh Dworaczyk gone, he'll get his chance to protect Zach Mettenberger's blindside at left tackle. Sophomore guard Trai Turner, who started seven games last year, is back as well. The coaches are very excited about his potential and he showed that he can be a special player after getting thrown into the fire early last year. In 559 snaps, he registered 51 knockdowns. Fellow sophomore Vadal Alexander, who started nine games at right tackle last year, was an named an Freshman All-SEC member by the coaches and should cement a very strong right side with Turner's return. Senior guard Josh Williford missed most of last season with a concussion, but his return should help make the left side very strong as well. The concern is at center, where junior Elliott Porter is replacing P.J. Lonergan. He has limited college experience and transferred to LSU after a year at Kentucky. Also, look for junior college transfer guard Fehoko Fanaika to help out.
Weakest position: Kickers
With All-American Brad Wing leaving early for the NFL, the Tigers find themselves with issues in the kicking game. Jamie Keehn, who is also Australian, replaces Wing at punter, but has little game experience. He punted 12 times last year, averaging 43.7 yards per kick. He has a strong leg, but can he change games like Wing once did? No one is quite sure. The real problem is at placekicker, where the Tigers had two walk-ons competing this spring. Junior James Hairston has a chance to take the placekicking duties, but he's spent all of his career as the kickoff man and hasn't been very consistent kicking field goals. Then you have redshirt freshman Colby Delahoussaye, who walked onto the team last year. Redshirt freshman Trent Domingue will compete for the starting placekicking spot, too, but will also serve as Keehn's backup.