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March 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Laney

Gary Laney
  (2:00 PM)

LSU spring football is under way (practice four is today) and recruiting is hot and heavy. Not to mention, basketball's over (surprisingly) and baseball's in full swing. So let's get this started.

victor (monroe,Louosiana)

Do you think lsu will improve on their football games this fall? comments.

Gary Laney
  (2:02 PM)

Improve? There's a chance, considering 2012 was a 10-3 season and I think this team has a chance to be around 11-2, though if I were to predict, I would say 10-3 or 9-4. They can improve without improving their record, considering that the Tigers have a tougher schedule this year. But to improve, they'll have to outperform expectations on the defensive line.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the Starting Defense for LSU in College Football in 2013?

Gary Laney
  (2:04 PM)

Wow. Another question requiring a detailed answer. I think we went down this road once. Here's my guess as of today: On the DL, Hunter and Rasoc at DE and Johnson and Ferguson at DT, at LB, Alexander-Barrow and Jones, at S, Martin and Loston, at CB, Collins and Mills. Thompson as a third safety, White as third corner (nickel) and Eugene as dime.

steve (texas)

your pick to win the sec west in football and why..

Gary Laney
  (2:06 PM)

Alabama. I think the defense will be outstanding and while there are players to replace on the offensive line, the skill players are great. LSU lost too much on defense to pick them and A&M lost a couple of elite players who were leaned on quite a bit on both the OL and DL.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

Who convinced Les Miles to participate in the Harlem Shake video?

Gary Laney
  (2:07 PM)

Same person who convinces him to chew grass and to encourage girls to kiss his players on the mouth after games. Some fella with a white hat that sits up high on the noggin.

Trey (Florida) [via mobile]

How many wins do you think the tigers will have in 2013? and do u think with cameron as offensive coordinator mettenberger will have a breakout season and if so what reciever do u think will emerge to be his #1 guy?

Gary Laney
  (2:10 PM)

I'm saying a 10-3 season that includes a bowl win. I'm staying on the "realist" side right now. Some optimists have made some interesting and compelling points to me that points to a surprisingly better season. For example, LSU may actually be better at safety because the young up-and-comers are guys who can cover, where last year's safeties struggled some in coverage. And the young LBs are out-of-this-world talented and some of the defensive emphasis will be shifted to their talents, thus taking the pressure off the depleted defensive line. Honestly, I get all that, but I need to see it in action before I'm convinced that it really does add up to a big season.

Trey (Florida) [via mobile]

After losing so much leadership on d too the draft, who do you see stepping into those rolls this year

Gary Laney
  (2:11 PM)

Good question. Anthony Johnson is a natural leader in terms of being vocal and being a guy who has always been an alpha type. Barrow is that veteran presence at LB. Loston is a guy that's mentioned in the seocndary.

Rick Jones. Leander Texas) [via mobile]

Offense looks great for the upcoming season. How are we looking on defense?

Gary Laney
  (2:14 PM)

I sort of touched on it in some earlier answers, but let me elaborate. LSU coaches, both Miles and Chavis, have repeatedly noted that this may be the best LB group they've had. Given that, I'd expect the LBs to be asked to do a lot more this year. I think the corners will be good and the safeties should be good enough. The question is, will the line pull through? Will Anthony Johnson take that next step? Is Danielle Hunter as good of a player as he looks coming off the bus? Is Rasco ready to take that next step? Will Ferguson be more that just a plugger.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Did Johnny get hosed by the NIT committee or what?

Gary Laney
  (2:15 PM)

I wouldn't say that. LSU's RPI was around the mid-80s, which put it squarely on the bubble for the NIT. Last year, LSU got in with an RPI around the same area, this year, it didn't. Win some, lose some.

Tim (NORTH CAROLLINA)

I am so pumped about the possibilities opened up by having Cam Cameron as OC

Gary Laney
  (2:16 PM)

I look forward to seeing the offensive personality start to come together.

Trey (Florida) [via mobile]

Last question lol. Lsu has got off too a fast start in recruiting in 2013 n Louisana having one of its strongest classes ever. Do u think Lsu can finish #1 in recruiting and what would it take to do it

Gary Laney
  (2:18 PM)

I've been saying all along that things are set up for LSU to land a No. 1 class. I'd say LSU has the inside track. The state is loaded with elite talent and LSU has a chance to steal the likely No. 1 player in Texas (Tony Brown) and possibly the No. 1 player in Mississippi (the already-committed Devin Voorhies). Brown's from Beaumont, which sits 15 minutes from the Louisiana state line, about 3 hours down I-10 from Baton Rouge. Voorhies is from Woodville, which sits right on the Louisiana state line, about an hour and change north of Baton Rouge. I don't know if I can remember a year where there's been so much low-hanging fruit there for LSU to pick.

Sean (Mobile)

Do you think there is a chance our offense will actually be better than our defense this year? I know our defense will be good I just have the feeling given all the changes, our offense could be seriously explosive this upcoming season.

Gary Laney
  (2:21 PM)

Good point. There is a chance. I think the offensive line is going to be very good and the running backs will be the usual dominant LSU backs. If Mettenberger takes that next step in development under Cameron and the WRs continue to improve, this is going to be a very good offense, maybe as good or better than the defense, indeed. A lot of that will have to do with the defensive line. If Johnson plays like an all-American at DT (he's capable) and Rasco and Hunter develop into legitimate pass-rush threats at DE, then LSU's defense will again be elite. But those are big ifs.

Mike the Tiger (Cage)

What you think about Big Man on Campus Mason Katz? 7 homers in 5 games is crazy!! Omaha here we come!

Gary Laney
  (2:25 PM)

How about Mississippi State throwing at him on Sunday? Wow. The one thing you have to worry about is Katz can't possibly maintain that pace, not without somebody sneaking some 1999 bats into his equipment bag. I'd like to see another 10 HR guy emerge in the lineup and another guy who at least gives you consistent gap-to-gap power. Bregman may be that guy.

Nick (Houston)

Change of focus, on special teams, i know there is some competition at K and P but what about return duties....is Beckam still going to be the primary returner?

Gary Laney
  (2:26 PM)

I'd think so. I think once August gets here, we may see Jeryl Brazil back there. A dynamic athlete like that needs to get his hands on some balls in the open field. I'd suspect Beckham may be back there for kickoffs as well as punts this year, though.

Kevin (Houston)

What big recruits have visited for spring practice so far? Any others planning to come?

Gary Laney
  (2:28 PM)

LSU got a commitment from Tony Upchurch, the WR from Pearland, Texas, last weekend at practice and they offered an RB from Newton, Texas named Kevin Shorter. I suspect LSU will continue to bring prospects on campus during spring and I think some bigger names may show up for scrimmages, in particular.

Donnell (New Orleans)

Gary, when LSU learned they were not in the NIT bracket did JJ just not want to play in the other two level tournaments or did the players decide not to. I thought playing would have given this young team more time to pratice and jell and get ready for next year. Your thoughts please.

Gary Laney
  (2:31 PM)

I would think the first option is true, though I must say I did not attend today's JJ newser (thanks to this chat!) so I didn't have a chance to ask. Players play. Like I mentioned to somebody else, these guys don't have an NIT to play for, so they'll be looking for a quality pick-up game this weekend, I'm sure, so long as JJ doesn't forbid it for whatever reason. I tend to agree with you about playing more. I do know the CBI is a losing proposition in terms of money.

Phil (Florida)

Assuming we can land a top 3 recruiting class for 2014 and seeing how much young talent we have on the roster right now, do you see LSU winning a national championship in a couple years?

Gary Laney
  (2:34 PM)

I would never predict a national championship because I do think luck is involved. For example, I thought the 2011 team was historically good, but it was extremely unlucky in having to play Alabama a second time in the BCS game. The odds of that scenario were quite slim. But I'll say this, I think the talent can be accumulated where it can STRONGLY COMPETE for a national title, which is basically saying the same thing. If they land the class we all think they might land, avoid a couple of key injuries and avoid some bad breaks, then yeah, I can see LSU competing for a title.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

What has surprised you most so far this spring?

Gary Laney
  (2:36 PM)

That question might be a little premature considering how early it is and there has yet to be a practice in full pads. But I'd say I was surprised to see Bolden fully participating at practice coming off the injury and Ethan Pocic getting reps at center. Ronnie Feist getting reps at DE instead of LB was a bit of a surprise too.

Tracy (Avondale)

Gary, do you think with all the talent in high school for football and basketball coming up in the next feww years, that LSU can recruit these kids to stay home and play for LSU or do you see some of the kids wanted to leave the state and take their talents elsewhere.

Gary Laney
  (2:39 PM)

There are always guys that may be itching to leave, especially in basketball. But LSU does as good of a job as any program in America at keeping talent at home IN FOOTBALL. In basketball, it's been more of an uphill battle. In football, I think the expectation here for players to stay home is so strong, people darn near panic when somebody leaves the state. Look at Georgia, where the Dawgs barely bat 50-50 with their top prospects. If it was like that in Louisiana, LSU fans would panic. In basketball, I think LSU's program was sort of looked down upon by top in-state prospects, but that perception is changing under Jones. But the state does not as consistently produce talent as it does in football.

Mike the Tiger (Cage)

Agreed, Bregman is a star in the making. This is a very balanced team. And throwing at a kid for having a good weekend has no place in college athletics.

Gary Laney
  (2:41 PM)

LSU can hit for average up and down the order. So long as they hit enough for extra-bases, I do think this might be an Omaha team. I think they need to have a clear-cut No. 3 pitcher emerge by mid-April too. They have a lot of good arms though.

Phil (Florida)

With so many offensive players coming back this year and the addition of our new OC, will LSU have the best offense in the SEC?

Gary Laney
  (2:43 PM)

There are some other talented offenses out there. Look at A&M, returning a Heisman Trophy winner at QB. Look at Alabama, returning a QB that has won two national titles, an elite RB in Yeldon and a star WR in Cooper. But LSU has a chance to be in that class.

Phil (Florida)

What is Cameron Robinsons position in recruiting? Does LSU have the edge over Bama?

Gary Laney
  (2:45 PM)

LSU has "an edge" in that he's an in-state kid and that tug will be there. Both schools will do a great job recruiting him because it's what they do. I think the biggest thing LSU has going for it, besides the in-state thing, is the class LSU is going to have a chance to put together. If the dominos start to fall -- let's say Tony Brown and Fournette commit -- then it's going to be more enticing for Robinson to want to be part of a special class like that. The key right now for LSU is to get that next domino to fall.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

There has been very little said about the Rickey Jefferson situation, is this a concern?

Gary Laney
  (2:49 PM)

That's a good question. It depends on what is pursued by the DA. I would imagine that it will be a misdemeanor before it's all said and done and RJ will face some repercussion from LSU in terms of team discipline. But I have not heard it addressed yet.

Lawrence Jones (Bagram AB Afghanistan)

Does it look like our offense is ahead of our defense this year? While in the years past the defense had always been ahead.

Gary Laney
  (2:51 PM)

Thank you for your service, Lawrence. I do think this might be a year where LSU's offense has a chance to be better than the defense. But that's assuming considerable progress in the passing game and also assumes that a talented, but unproven defensive line is less than extraordinary. The talent is there for the DL to be very good. It's just a question of whether the talent translates to performance.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

With Upchurch committed, what other WRs will LSU target?

Gary Laney
  (2:54 PM)

LSU has offers out to Speedy Noil, Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre, a trio of in-state WR prospects. Noil and Quinn have speed to spare. All you need to do is look at Noil's name to figure it out with him. Quinn ran a hand-timed 10.7 100-meters at the first outdoor meet of the season for his school, which is impressive considering he's never run a 100-meter race before this one (he stopped playing baseball this year, allowing him to concentrate on football off-season and speed training in track). Dupre is a big, downfield threat. If LSU can land all three along with already committed TE Jacory Washington, it will have some big-time receiving targets to build a passing game around.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

Often former Tigers return to speak or help the current players, has anyone come back? Or is that more of a Summer camp question?

Gary Laney
  (2:56 PM)

Henry, there are ALWAYS former players coming back. I'd expect to see NFL guys passing through to work out, watch practice and catch up. It's to the point where it often doesn't register with you much, you come to expect it so much.

Gary Laney
  (2:58 PM)

We're closing in on 2 p.m. and things slowed down at the end (hey, it's the off-season after all). So I'm going to end this til next week. Send additional questions to glaneyespn@gmail.com or on twitter to @glaneyespn and I'll use them in a mailbag on Friday. Thanks for another great chat!