Tigers rebuilding in 2013
by Joey Martin - posted Thursday, January 24th, 2013 @ 9:46 am
I saw a projected Top 25 list for the 2013 college football preseason poll and was thinking, never mind Waldo, where in the world is LSU?
Several early projections have Alabama No. 1, followed by either Ohio State and Notre Dame or vice versa.
Georgia and Texas A&M are in the top five of a couple of college football sites.
CBS Sports actually has Texas A&M at No. 1, followed by Alabama, Stanford, Ohio Sttate, Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida. Clemson and Notre Dame.
LSU comes in at No. 17.
Huffingtonpost.com has Alabama, followed by Oregon, Notre Dame. Georgia, Ohio State and Stanford.
Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Florida State fill out the final Top 10. LSU is at 13.
So not only is LSU not considered in the top five nationally, they are not even considered a top five team in the SEC for the 2013 season.
Something tells me that may be just the way Les Miles likes it.
But I'm wondering, how does a program that played for a national title two years ago and was a few points from playing for another drop like that.
Obviously, the loss of some talented juniors along with the graduating seniors is a big reason.
But, hey, this is LSU.
Then I stepped back and took a look at a way-to-early projected starting lineup for the 2013 Tigers.
Zach Mettenberger returns at quarterback. That could be good or bad, depending on which Mettenberger shows up and whether or not LSU has a new offensive coordinator.
Sophomore Stephen Rivers is the backup, but watch out for freshman Hayden Rettig, if they give him some reps.
A talented backfield consists of Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and JC Copeland.
Travis Dickson will be the starting tight end, with freshman Desean Smith expected to see a lot of action.
Chris Faulk's expected return in the offensive line took a detour and dampened what could have been a real strong point.
Then again, if the past two years are any indication, the offensive line will take a big hit before the season starts.
Right now, junior Elliot Porter is starting at center. Expect freshman Karl Malone Jr. (yep, Mailman Jr.) to be his backup.
At right guard is sophomore Trai Turner, with freshman Josh Boutte backing him up.
Left guard is solid with junior La'el Collins and senior Josh Williford, who could be learning a new position by the end of spring.
Sophomore Jarald Hawkins is at left tackle, with freshman Ethan Pocic backing him up.
Hawkins played ball at West St. Mary and didn't allow a sack as a senior and had over 20 pancake blocks. He is also the reigning state outdoor shot put champion with a personal best heave of 52-9 ½ in 2011.
Sophomore Vadal Alexander, who looked good early as a freshman last year before looking like a freshman, will be backed up by Derrek Edinburgh.
That's a young offensive line. But there's a lot of potential on that line.
Juniors Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham need to be much more consistent next year as pass-catchers, while redshirt freshman Travin Dural will develop into a real good SEC receiver.
Junior Terrance Magee needs to step up at some position, and this may be the spot. Freshman John Diarse also could make some waves.
Obviously, the defense took a real hit (which is actually something it was lacking at the end of the season).
Junior Jermauria Rasco is slated to start at right end, but I figure freshman Kendal Beckwith will be lined up there for the season-opener.
Sophomore Danielle Hunter is at left end. Oh, Mr. Ndkemiche, what could have been.
Who is Danielle Hunter?
I believe the next Sam Montgomery or Barkevious Mingo.
Junior Anthony Johnson is looking for a breakout year at left tackle, while junior Ego Ferguson is at right tackle.
Freshman Maquedius Bain also has a chance to see plenty of playing time.
Bain, the No. 6 defensive tackle in the ESPN 150, will play a position where the Tigers have a tremendous recent track record for getting players to the NFL.
Kevin Minter will be sorely missed at linebacker.
Senior Tahj Johes, sophomore Kwon Alexander, senior Lamin Barrow and sophomore Deion Jones have a lot of promise behind the defensive line and could end up being the best linebacking corps at LSU in a few years.
What was once a strong point, has been not as strong the past coupel of years.
Cornerbacks are sophomore Jalen Mills, sophomore Jalen Collins, sophomore Ronald Martin and senior Craig Loston.
Junior James Hairston takes over as kicker, while sophomore Jamie Keehn is the punter.
That's a young football team right there. And one that has to travel to Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama.
Also, Tiger fans hope it doesn't get younger via injuries or police blotters. Maybe the second 10 is not such a reach. But it should definitely be a rarity.