Southern Football Report Preseason Poll: #12 LSU Tigers

LSU LogoYeah I know, I’m a little higher on the LSU Tigers in 2015 than most people but keep in mind that the LSU Tigers won 8 games last season despite terrible quarterback play. In the end Alabama & Mississippi State were the two top teams in the SEC West and LSU only lost to those two teams by a combined 12 points and the Tigers only passed for 76 yards in their seven point, overtime loss to the Tide. No, the quarterback situation hasn’t been settled yet but if LSU gets any improvement, the Tigers could figure into the SEC West equation.

LSU Sophomore Running Back Leonard Fournette
LSU Sophomore Running Back Leonard Fournette

Of course, every discussion of the LSU offense begins and ends with the quarterback position where it is a two tiger race between Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings. Harris finished the season as the with only 452 yards passing while Jennings got most of the snaps and finished with 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns but also 7 interceptions to go with them. The Tigers return three of their five offensive lineman from 2014 and that will always help the quarterback, whoever it is. The did lose a two-year starter at center and will be replacing him with redshirt freshman William Clapp but I don’t think there will be too much of a drop off up front. It seems like LSU just reloads with big, mean offensive lineman every season. Lining up behind the quarterback will be sophomore running back Leonard Fournette whose legend grows with each passing day. Fournette was one of the most sought after players in the country two seasons ago and finished his freshman season with over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, one of which left a poor Texas A&M defender as roadkill in Fournette’s wake. So the Tigers have a solid offensive line and a good running game to compliment poor quarterback play again so the wide receivers have to be a weakness right? Wrong. LSU has retooled the wide receiver position as well as anyone in the country and this season will be no different. The trio of sophomore John Diarse, junior Travin Dural and sophomore Malachi Dupree will be one of the most explosive group of wide receivers in the nation. Needless to say, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron doesn’t have to get too fancy with the offense in 2015.

On defense the Tigers return six starters from 2014 but the biggest loss will be from the booth where defensive coordinator John Chavis left to take the same position at Texas A&M. New defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has been around the league and the south in his career and will have to address the defensive line first thing. The NFL Draft, the legal system and transfers have almost completely gutted the defensive front of LSU. They still have solid players like sophomore defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and junior defensive tackle Christian LaCouture, who are both returning starters, but depth will be an issue. The loss of Kwon Alexander will be felt immensely at linebacker but the combination of Lamar Louis and Kendall Beckwith will make Tiger fans forget all about him as Beckwith was only 13 tackles behind Alexander last season. LSU will return senior free safety Jalen Mills to lead the secondary along with junior corner back Tre’Davious White and walk-on and former TCU player Jordan Moore. If Kevin Steele can keep the defensive lineman fresh throughout the season and LSU can avoid any costly injuries, the Tiger defense will be great once again.

LSU Tigers Head Coach Les Miles
LSU Tigers Head Coach Les Miles

The Tigers do have a tough road to go in 2015 and the schedule doesn’t take long to get interesting. They will open the season at home against FCS opponent McNeese State before back-to-back conference games against Mississippi State in Starkville and Auburn in Tiger Stadium. LSU will close out the month with an odd road trip up to Syracuse, New York, to take on the Syracuse Orangemen in the Carrier Dome. It’s unlikely, but LSU could exit the first month of the season with two conference losses. My how the boo-birds would be out for Les Miles’ job if that happens. October begins with Eastern Michigan visiting Baton Rouge before the Tigers hit the road to face the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia. After that its back-to-back home games against the Florida Gators and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers before their Halloween weekend bye week. As always the Tigers will have a bye week before their annual slugfest with the Alabama Crimson Tide, who will also be coming off of a bye week, in Tuscaloosa as the Tigers are looking to snap a two game losing streak to the hated Tide. November doesn’t get much easier as LSU has to return home to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks before a road game to Oxford to play Ole Miss. The regular season ends against the Texas A&M Aggies and former defensive coordinator John Chavis but for the Tigers’ sake it is in Baton Rouge.

It’s amazing how some programs can win eight games in a season and be satisfied yet in Baton Rouge eight wins is enough to put the head coach on the hot seat despite the abysmal play of the offense. The Tiger offense will be much better in 2015 and the defense won’t miss a beat because if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that the LSU Tigers reload every year and every year playing that team from the bayou is going to be a tall order.

Tiger Stadium - Capacity: 102,321
Tiger Stadium – Capacity: 102,321

2015 LSU Tigers Schedule

Sept 5th            McNeese State
Sept 12th          at Mississippi State
Sept 19th          Auburn
Sept 26th         at Syracuse
Oct 3rd             Eastern Michigan
Oct 10th            at South Carolina
Oct 17th            Florida
Oct 24th           Western Kentucky
Oct 31st            BYE WEEK
Nov 7th             at Alabama
Nov 14th          Arkansas
Nov 21st           at Ole Miss
Nov 28th          Texas A&M

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