Lee, Ware lead LSU
Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011 00:09
Throughout preseason camp, Jordan Jefferson was the clear starter at quarterback for the Tigers. But after a bar fight incident on campus, Jefferson was suspended indefinitely.
Senior backup quarterback Jarrett Lee was forced into the starter role immediately. Lee responded well, leading LSU to victories over No. 3 Oregon and No. 25 Mississippi State. Lee is surrounded by talent at every position and doesn't have to post big numbers to ensure a Tigers victory.
Two sophomores have split time at running back for LSU in 2011.
Spencer Ware has had most of the carries and has posted 226 rushing yards with three touchdowns in the first three games.
Michael Ford has tallied 218 yards and four touchdowns. Both backs weigh more than 215 pounds and have shown ability to run between the tackles.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
The Tigers have been run-oriented in the early going of 2011, but this may change with the return of junior wide receiver Russell Shepard.
Shepard was second on the team last year in receptions but did not play in the first three games this season due to ineligibility. Junior receiver Rueben Randle has been the go to guy. Randle leads the team with 229 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The 2011 LSU offensive line is big and experienced. They return four starters at that position and none of the members weigh less than 290 pounds.
Left guard Josh Dworaczyk is the most experienced player on the offensive line. Dworaczyk has appeared in 38 games in his career.
At center, P.J. Lonergan returns as one of the best centers in the country. Right guard Will Blackwell and right tackle Alex Hurst are the two other returning starters.
The defensive line is the most impressive position on the Tigers' team. It is a struggle to even know where to begin to describe their talent. LSU can go eight guys deep on the defensive line and all those who see playing time produce.
Keep an eye on freshman defensive tackle Anthony Johnson. Johnson is 6-foot-3 inches tall, 310 pounds and amazingly runs a 4.8 forty-yard dash. He has drawn comparison to former LSU great Glenn Dorsey.
Much like its defensive line, LSU has depth at the linebacker position this season.
Senior Ryan Baker is the leader and has patiently waited his turn. Former LSU great Kelvin Sheppard graduated, which forced Baker to fill his spot. Baker will be joined by last year's starting safety Karnell Hatcher.
Hatcher made the transition to linebacker during the offseason. Expect the Tigers to go seven or eight deep at this position.
The LSU secondary is young but extremely talented. Sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu returns after being named to the 2010 Freshman All-Southeastern Conference.
Mathieu leads the team in tackles after three games. Junior cornerback Morris Claiborne has already drawn comparisons to last year's LSU great Patrick Peterson. Claiborne had two interceptions in the Tigers' last game against Mississippi State.
The Tigers are forced to replace one of the best placekickers in the country in 2010, Josh Jasper.
Junior kicker Drew Alleman has the responsibility to do so. Through three games, Alleman has connected on 12 of 13 extra points and 6 of 7 field goals.
Freshman punter Brad Wing has an interesting way of punting. In fact, Wing can punt with either his left or right leg. Wing has been injured for the past two games but should return against West Virginia. The Tigers shuffle multiple players out as punt and kick returners.
Head coach Les Miles enters his seventh season as head coach of the Tigers. Miles has compiled a 62-17 record in Baton Rouge, La., including a 23-13 record versus top 25 teams. He led LSU to the 2007 BCS National Championship and his team has finished in the top 10 in four of his first six season seasons. The resume is as impressive as any coach in college football.