Here is team #15 and the 2010 LSU Tigers Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview highlighting the best college football teams for the upcoming 2010 NCAA football season.
No. 15 LSU Tigers
2009 record: 9-4
2009 Bowl Game: 19-17 loss to Penn State in Capital One Bowl
2009 ATS: 5-7-1
Returning starters: 10 (6 on offense, 4 on defense)
Despite returning only six starters, the Tigers’ biggest question mark could be at quarterback. Senior Jordan Jefferson and junior Jarrett Lee have both started eight games, and Jefferson was the starter last year. Lee had eight starts as a redshirt freshman in 2008.
Jefferson had solid numbers last season, throwing for 2,166 yards and 17 touchdowns. He completed 61.5 percent of his 296 pass attempts. Jefferson only threw seven interceptions and ran for 171 yards and one touchdown. His biggest problem was sacks. He was sacked 34 times in 2009, which could be a way into the starting job for Lee, if he can convince in practice.
LSU loses top rushers Charles Scott and Keiland Williams, but still look like they are set in the backfield. Scott ran for 550 yards and four touchdowns, while Williams had 389 yards and four scores as well.
Stevan Ridley, who had 180 yards and three scores last season, will probably get the bulk of the carries. Redshirt freshman Michael Ford and senior Richard Murphy are the other two threats in the backfield. Ford is the fastest out of the three and should see the most action on outside runs, while Ridley will handle most of the inside work.
Quarterback turned wide receiver Russell Sheppard is part of a strong receiving corps that also features senior Terrance Oliver and sophomore Rueben Randle. Toliver caught 53 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns in 2009. Randle averaged 15.7 yards per reception and scored two touchdowns on just 11 catches.
The Tigers had problems with their pass rush last season and totaled only 21 sacks. They add new talent to the line for 2010 and have improved their speed. They should be more dangerous this year and get to the quarterback more often as redshirt freshmen Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery as well as JuCo transfer Ken Adams progress.
The Tigers’ linebacking unit loses starters Perry Riley and Harry Coleman who combined for over 170 tackles in 2009. Coleman had 97 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, and one interception. Coleman had 82 tackles, four sacks, and five tackles for a loss.
LSU returns its top-tackler Kelvin Sheppard, who will anchor the linebacking unit. He had 110 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, and one interception. Ryan Baker, who has spent most of his playing time on special teams, will get a shot at WLB.
The secondary is anchored by junior cornerback Patrick Peterson, who had two picks last season. He is one of the strongest corners in the nation, breaking up 13 passes in 2009. With the improved defensive line and more pressure on the quarterback the defensive backs should be able to shine.
Josh Jasper was perfect on extra points, making all 34 of his attempts. He went 17-for-20 on field goals, and made two of three from 50+ yards. His season long was 52. He went 7-for-8 from 1 to 29 yards and 4-for-5 from 40 to 49. He was perfect on all four of his kicks from 30 to 39 yards.
Derek Helton had most of the punts, averaging 40.0 yards on his 46 attempts. He forced 25 fair catches and buried the ball within the 20-yard-line seven times. LSU’s opponents managed only 57 return yards.
Trindon Holliday was dangerous returning punts and kicks last season, but he won’t be back with the team. He averaged a very strong 18.1 yards per punt return and took the ball to the house. Holliday averaged 24.4 yards on kick returns.
Peterson and Shepard will most likely take on the return duties in 2010.
Against the spread
LSU went 5-7-1 against the college football point spread in 2009. They were 3-2-1 as the home favorite and 0-2 as the away favorite. They had a 2-2 record against the spread when they were the underdog; 0-1 at home and 2-1 on the road.
The Tigers went 3-4-1 ATS against other teams from the SEC, and 2-3 in non-conference play. They are 25-35-4 under sixth-year head coach Les Miles and 60-60-5 ATS in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
Onto some winning college football picks. Bet the Tigers at Vanderbilt on September 11. LSU has won ten of the last 11 against Vandy and beat the Commodores in the last six meetings. The Tigers haven’t lost to the Commodores since 1990 and have won their last three SEC openers.
Favor the fade
Fade the Tigers at Florida on October 9. While the Gators will look different without Tebow, the Tigers haven’t looked good when playing in Gainesville. They have lost the last two road games against Florida by a combined score of 84-31.