We love Les Miles. We do. The grass-eating, kiss-you-all-on-the-mouth maverick coach pulls two or three results out his butt every year (and also loses a couple of games like that too!), loses talent every year, and still keeps LSU competitive.

He’s a miracle worker in a place where miracles are much talked-about, because 13-0 is expected. And if not, he’s the most hated coach in Louisiana, if not the South. LSU fans seemingly are never happy with Miles, even if they win.

Well, they might be a little more grateful for wins than most this season.

Why?

THE QUARTERBACK PROBLEM

It’s all well and good having two of the best wide receivers in college football in Malachi Dupree and Travin Dural, but if you can’t hit them, it’s not much use.

After being much-touted, Brandon Harris had an awful freshman season, looking at sea under pressure, overthrowing his receivers, and generally looking like a fish out of water. He went 25-45 for 452 yards with 6 TDs and 2 INTs. The numbers don’t look too bad, until you consider that one of the games was a 178 yard, 3 TD effort against New Mexico State.

Then there’s Anthony Jennings, who looked even worse than Harris when it came to making decisions. He went 111-227 (48.9% (barely an improvement on 2013)) for 1,611 yards, 11 TDs and 7 INTs. He also wasn’t great as a rusher (108 attempts for 292 yards), either.

Les Miles doesn’t seem to have a back-up, relying instead on those two. And that’s going to look an awful recruiting decision if Leonard Fournette gets injured and the game’s on the line with one of these two under center.

THE NON-QUARTERBACK PERSONNEL

LSU’s still very young. “A year in the SEC West doesn’t make a battle-tested team be”, to quote John Shakespeare, a distant grand-cousin of William, if you believe the myth on Bourbon Street. The team brings back 18 starters- but there are holes everywhere. Offensive linesman La’El Collins will be a huge loss. And worse, when the injuries come, there is no real depth on that offensive line.

THE COACHING PERSONNEL

Losing John Chavis is a massive blow to LSU, who then replaced him with Kevin Steele – a move – to say that least – has been unpopular. He was the former inside linebackers job at Alabama. His last DC job was at Clemson, where he was fired after 3 seasons (25th, 13th, 81st) (2009-2012)). Ed Orgeron ought to be great for recruiting next year, if players can understand what in the hell he says. He’s now defensive line coach after Brick Haley was fired.

On the offensive side, the Tigers hired Tony Ball from Georgia to be its WR coach after Adam Henry went to work with the San Francisco 49ers.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS…

Listen, Les Miles and team are pretty damned good coaches, and it’s not going to be all bad in TigerLand (we hope none of the players do it like Jeremy Hill (or if they do, let’s hope that they perform a blindside punch lot better than he did!).

Here’s why: Firstly, they’ve got one of the best running backs in college football in Leonard Fournette. The man’s a beast. He ran for 1,034 yards and 10 TDs and caught 7 ball for 127 yards. And here’s the scary thing: He also returned 13 kick-offs for 625 yards and a 100-yard TD. And while we don’t expect Miles to use him as a kick-off returner so much in 2015 (they don’t want/need to injure their best player, do they?).

Secondly, LSU’s wide receivers – Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre – are pretty incredible. Their numbers could have been Heisman-worthy in 2014 if they had actually had a quarterback who was something close to capable. In a schedule, where the first good secondary the Tigers face will be Florida’s on October 17, these kids could put up numbers.

Thirdly, the team returns 18 starters, including a ton of talent defensively. CB Jalen Collins, DE Danielle Hunter, LB Kwon Alexander and free safety Jalen Mills are all back. LSU has one of the most talented secondaries in the SEC with Collins, Mills, Jamal Adams and Tre’Davious White. That’s experience, folks.

THE SCHEDULE

Date Opponent# Site
September 5 #25 (FCSMcNeese State* Home
September 12 at Mississippi State Away
September 19 Auburn Home
September 26 at Syracuse* Away
October 3 Eastern Michigan* Home
October 10 at South Carolina Away
October 17 Florida Home
October 24 WKU* Home
November 7 at Alabama Away
November 14 Arkansas Home
November 21 at Ole Miss Away
November 28 Texas A&M Home

LSU has to go to Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State  – and South Carolina in the SEC East in the SEC. They could quite easily go 0-4 in that stretch, although it’s more likely to be 2-2 (wins against South Carolina and Mississippi State, losses against Alabama and a revenge-fuelled Ole Miss team).

They are at home to Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Name me a ‘gimme’ in the SEC for this young LSU team with a pair of poor quarterbacks. We expect them to come out 2-2 out of that stretch in the schedule, if they are lucky (wins against Florida and Texas A&M, losses to Auburn and Arkansas).

To give Tigers fans something to smile about, we expect LSU to beat McNeese State, Syracuse (on the road), Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky.

And although it’ll be a 8-4 season, it’ll feel a lot longer.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged with:

Filed under: AlabamaArkansasArticleAuburnFloridaGeorgiaKentuckyLSUMississippi StatemissouriOle MissSouth CarolinaTennesseeTexas A&MVanderbilt

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!