LOVE: After Further Review
Soap-opera week gives form to LSU’s future
The LSU football team will take the field in 2011 under the direction of head coach Les Miles.
It will be without the services of running back Stevan Ridley and cornerback slash return guru Patrick Peterson. It will also be running plays on offense via commands from a new coordinator.
All of these decisions we expected to be made in the aftermath of the Tigers’ 41-24 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 7.
We just didn’t know they’d all come so quickly, or within four days of another.
The stretch of time that was Monday, Jan. 10 - Thursday, Jan. 13 shaped LSU football for the near future and beyond.
Starting with the headman first, one thing is clear: Miles ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s funny, but the man’s detractors really have little to no recourse between now and 2018. So many LSU supporters out there who wanted the Hat run off used incidents like Ole Miss-2009 and Tennessee-2010 as fuel to a fire they’d hoped Joe Alleva and the LSU brass would eventually feel pressured into putting out.
Now, with Miles’ new contract merely awaiting approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors, the only thing heating up in Baton Rouge are expectations surrounding the 2011 Tigers.
Which means while a sizable portion of the fan base acclimates itself to a newfound reality, Miles will keep on going about his latest stated goal of “building a bully” in Baton Rouge.
Those are the words Miles used Wednesday morning when reporters barraged him with questions following the formal press conference. They indicate the intentions of a man who, in my opinion, wants to resurrect Michigan (as he knew it) down on the Bayou.
And you know what? With not only the level of recruits he’s hauling in but the types Miles, Frank Wilson & Co. are getting, LSU could very feasibly do just that.
Pound-the-rock football is nothing new to Tiger faithful. Sure, with the likes of Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard and many others roaming the perimeter, it’d be nice to see the pigskin fly around the yard all day, but the truth is LSU is recruiting an I-formation juggernaut offensively.
Losing Ridley, the prototypical “bully” of a back, won’t help, but inserting Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and current 2011 commitment Kenny Hilliard will ensure that beef is what’s for dinner in the Tiger backfield.
Then, there’s the work LSU’s doing across the offensive line. La’El Collins from Redemptorist in Baton Rouge is a player who could step in immediately and play for three years at left tackle. The Bayou Bengals are also drawing heavyweight linemen Trai Turner and Jonah Austin from St. Augustine in New Orleans.
When LSU needs to play-action pass, strong-armed Zach Mettenberger (who has three years of eligibility) should have no problems finding Randle, Sheppard and newcomers like Jarvis Landry of Lutcher.
Objectively speaking, we’re talking about the type of personnel which translates nicely to the NFL game. And should LSU hire the type of offensive coordinator I expect them to (one who shares Miles’ physical-first mentality) in replacing Gary Crowton, these blue-chip talents of the future will see the Red Stick as the perfect grooming ground for their next-level games.
Defensively, keeping John Chavis and his blitzing ways around will fill the “bully” quotient on that side of the ball. Seeing Peterson wave goodbye to college means there are big shoes to fill, but the young talent in LSU’s secondary remains the envy of every program around the country.
When it’s all said and done, this will go down among the craziest weeks ever on “As the LSU World Turns.” Although, with the talent lining up as it is, here’s betting Miles is pumped to take his chances at turning “The Young and the Restless” into “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Editor Ben Love covers LSU football and men’s basketball for Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.