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It Takes Eleven

Quoth the Raven...
Louisiana State University

By: It Takes Eleven


Nickname: Tigers
2006 Record: 11-2 (6-2 in SEC play)
Head Coach: Les Miles (3rd year, 22-4)


Despite the loss of a stable of NFL draftees, LSU returns 15 starters and is poised for another strong year. With several preseason rankings of number 2, the Tigers are universally viewed as one of the top five teams in the nation. Because the two blemishes on an impressive 11-2 record were in SEC play, the Tigers did not qualify to compete for an SEC championship. The Tigers finished strong in 2006 and ride a seven-game winning streak into 2007. Key to their continued success will be their ability to replace a quarterback selected first in the draft, two standout receivers, key defensive linemen and Mike V, who passed away in 2007 after serving as mascot since 1990.


Mike V

The Series

LSU and Alabama meet for the 71st time, with Alabama leading the series 43-22-5. LSU has won four straight and six of the last seven against Bama, marking its most successful streak ever. An interesting but little known fact is that current Alabama coach Nick Saban served as LSU’s head coach for five years from 2000-05.


The offense loses productive weapons in QB JaMarcus Russell and receivers Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis. Replacing Russell will be Senior Matt Flynn, who has shown an ability in previous years to be a competent replacement for Russell. Seeing action in ten games last season, Flynn was 12 for 20 passing for 133 yards, with two TDs and one interception, and also rushed for 86 yards on 13 carries. The receiving corps is anchored by senior WR Early Doucet, who appears poised for a standout year after making 59 grabs for 772 yards and eight TDs last season. Rushing duties were by committee last year, and leading rusher Jacob Hester returns after tallying 440 yards last year.



Also new is Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton, who will design the Tiger attack after the loss of Jimbo Fisher to Florida State University. O-line and receivers coaches are also new in Red Stick. Along the line, LSU returns three full-year starters, along with All-American candidate Will Arnold. Arnold missed most of last season with ankle and knee injuries. If Arnold returns to form, LSU stands to have one the best lines in the SEC.



Offensively, there are sufficient playmakers returning to aid Flynn in getting his footing as a full-time QB. With a strong O-line to take the pressure off him, Flynn should have the time to make good decisions and flourish. Key to the Tigers success is blending the new offensive coaching staff with the existing coaches and players. Overall, LSU has the talent for its offense to do what is necessary, particularly in view of the prospects in the defensive side of the ball.




With 2006 national rankings in scoring defense (4th – 12.6 ppg), total defense (3rd – 247 ypg), and passing defense (3rd – 147 ypg), LSU looks to continue its defensive dominance. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey’s decision to forego a sure first round selection in the NFL and return for his senior season was huge for the LSU defense. With the loss of Safety Landry and DE Pittman to the NFL, Dorsey’s return was key. Everybody’s All-American, Dorsey is considered by some to be the finest defensive player in the nation and is on five national award watchlists. Playing in a position not normally known to produce a large number of tackles, Dorsey made 64 tackles while being double-teamed on almost every play. Some comparisons are made between Dorsey and Warren Sapp. Tyson Jackson, Marlon Favorite and Kirston Pittman will team with Dorsey on an extremely strong defensive line. Adding to opponents’ woes is the return of all three starting linebackers. Although both safeties are gone from last year (including first round pick Landry), new starter Craig Steltz played well in reserve, snagging four INT last year. Safety Chad Jones’ decision to not enter the baseball draft also adds depth to the secondary.



Special Teams

David Colt returns for kicking duties this year after a strong 2006, going 8 for 13 in field goals and 50 of 51 in PATs. KO returns will again be handled this year by Early Doucet. CB Chevis Jackson will likely get the nod again as punt returner.




LSU has the potential for another nationally prominent season. Flynn’s performance and the new offensive staff will be key to SEC championship and BCS contention.
LSU Season Prediction: 12-2.
Game Prediction: LSU 24, Bama 20.
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