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LSU spring wrap-up

5/5/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

New chief in charge: First-year defensive coordinator John Chavis didn't waste any time placing his imprint on the LSU defense this spring. Nicknamed "Chief” during his time at Tennessee, Chavis restored the intensity, emotion and hustle to the practice field, and the LSU defenders responded. Chavis was a perfect fit for what LSU coach Les Miles was looking for in a defensive coordinator.

Jefferson makes his move: Jordan Jefferson showed his potential at the end of last season as a true freshman. But this was his first spring practice, and he didn't disappoint. He was more consistent as a passer, made plays scrambling and also established himself in the huddle. Make no mistake. He's the Tigers' starting quarterback and ready to take on a much larger role in the offense.

Getting the edge back: Somewhere along the way, LSU lost its edge last season, particularly on defense, that was so vital in the Tigers' run to the 2007 BCS national championship. This spring in Baton Rouge was all about getting that edge back, and Miles likes what he saw from his team. There was competition for spots, better leadership and nobody taking anything for granted.

Fall questions

Shepard's role: Russell Shepard is a quarterback at heart, but may have to do most of his damage at receiver next season. The explosive true freshman proved this spring that he can do some serious damage in the open field. Now it's up to LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton to figure out different ways to get him the ball. He'll definitely be behind center some in the Wildcat package.

Looking for receivers: Senior Brandon LaFell is coming off a big season and is the anchor of the Tigers' receiving corps. But he needs help. They can't wait on the Bayou to see highly touted signee Rueben Randle in an LSU uniform. He could start right away. The Tigers also need more production from the likes of Terrance Toliver, Jared Mitchell and Trindon Holliday.

Defensive line depth: LSU's defensive line depth took a hit with the loss of Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois and Kirston Pittman. The Tigers got some good news when tackle Charles Alexander received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, and tackle Drake Nevis has a chance to be one of the breakout players in the league. But some of the younger players have to keep coming in order to build the depth back.