The LSU football team reported to campus back on August 1. As we sit here today after five games played and a record of 5-0, this is a much different team. It is safe to say that it is not a better team.
Prior to the season, I predicted that LSU would win 10 games. It will be close but could be nine or eleven. No I am leaning to 9.
LSU released a depth chart to start the preseason which included seven players on the two-deep depth chart who are no longer playing for the Tigers. Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed while Alfred Blue, Chris Faulk, and JC Copeland have been injured. Others such as Tahj Jones, DJ Welter and Tyler Edwards had academic issues. A few others who were not expected to contribute are also gone.
Now to the players who are still on the roster. Are they good enough?
"When you step into a starting role, you play like the expectations of the position," explained LSU head coach Les Miles on Monday. "Yet when you lose starters, there's guys that step in there probably not as good as the starter. Given some time and some coaching, I think of them that they can be comparable to any team."
Even before the injuries, it starts with quarterback Zach Mettenberger who has not shown improvement in the first five games. Sure, this is his first time to start for an SEC team but Washington is likely the only bowl team that LSU has played. Mettenberger is slow at times in movement and decision-making and has not protected his body or the ball well enough. His footwork is suspect as well. He has to get better right away.
The seven games remaining on the LSU schedule are all SEC games inwhich the Tigers could lose as many as five (they should beat Ole Miss and Arkansas). Right now, it seems they are capable on winning up to five although I do not see them beating Alabama. The team that played and won five games in September can't beat the Crimson Tide.
The wide receivers need someone to step up and be the "go-to guy". All of the ones who have played have skills needed but no one has separated themselves as good enough to consistently rely on as of yet.
The offensive line has to get better. Losing left tackle Chris Faulk, a protential 1st round draft choice, has hurt but this unit needs to adjust and get better. The running backs that remain after the loss of Blue are all very talented. Turnovers and penalties have hurt and must be eliminated to be Top 25 opponents that litter the rest of the slate.
Defensively, the team has shown to be pretty tough. A few break downs have occurred but did not hurt the Tigers because the opponents were not as good as what awaits on the schedule going forward. Special teams play has been good, not great, and could stand to improve as well.
One may think that I am being rough on a team that is 5-0. However, the next five teams on the schedule are significantly better that the previous opponents. Therefore, LSU must get better and get better NOW. I do not see them beating Florida in "The Swamp" unless a much-better performance than we have seen so far comes from the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Tommy Krysan is the host of a number of sports shows including:
- "Tigers Roar" a live TV show each Wednesday night at 8:00 pm on Pelican Sports TV in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans.
- The Pelican Sports LSU Football Postgame Show after each LSU game on Pelican Sports TV in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans & Fox Sports Radio 910 AM in Baton Rouge.
- Pelican Sports Radio, Monday – Friday, 3:00-5:00 pm in Baton Rouge on Fox Sports Radio Baton Rouge, WUBR 910 AM, online at: pelicansportstv.com - and "Tune In" app smart phones
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