#2 LSU Football 2012 Preview

LSU Tigers   

Overall Rank #2
#1 Southeastern Conference  
LSU College Football 2012 Team Preview
LSU Team Page


The LSU Tigers have put together many impressive seasons under their former head coach, Nick Saban and their current head coach, Les Miles. Together they have transformed the Tigers into one of the nation’s premier powerhouses in the nation’s most prestigious conference. When championship caliber teams such as this 2012 LSU squad fall off, it typically is from within, either key suspensions or NCAA volitions. Les Miles has done a great job at minimizing these things in his tenure at LSU as well as overcoming them when they happened. This season however, their best all-around player and Heisman Trophy finalist, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, failed another drug test and it resulted in a season long suspension. The Tigers are still a team gushing with talent, but they have already faced adversity and there will be more to come as they prepare to make two consecutive trips to the BCS National Championship.

2011 Record: (13-1, 9-1 Conference)
2011 Bowl: BCS National Championship vs Alabama (L 0-21)   
Coach: Les Miles (75-18 at LSU, 103-39 Overall)   
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Studrawa  
Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Spencer Ware, RB, 727 yards  
Passing: Zach Mettenberger, QB, 92 yards
Receiving: Odell Beckham, WR, 475 yards   
Tackles:  Eric Reid, DB, 53
Sacks: Sam Montgomery, DL, 9
Interceptions: Eric Reid, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: QB Rob Bolden, P Brad Wing, DL Barkevious Mingo, T Chris Faulk, DL Bennie Logan, LB Kevin Minter

Key Losses: CB Tyrann Mathieu, QB Jarrett Lee, QB Jordan Jefferson, CB Morris Claiborne, DL Michael Brockers, WR Rueben Randle

The 2011 LSU Tigers defense was one of the best squads in the history of college football. They lost many stars from that defense a year ago, but are reloaded and ready to dominate again in 2012. The defensive line is the true strength of this team. This unit is oozing with talent and is arguably the deepest and most talented line in all of college football. This makes it difficult for opponents to run or throw. With the return of one of the best defensive backs in the nation, Eric Reid, LSU’s secondary is also replenished and loaded for the upcoming season. Watch for corner Tharold Simon, who has an excellent combination of size and speed, to have a big year for the Tigers as he likely moves to their number one corner role with Mathieu not playing this year. When it is all said and done, this year LSU will once again have one of the finest defenses in the nation and that will be what will propel them to great success.

The Tigers offense struggled a season ago. Most of the blame can be assigned to their lack of a passing attack which ranked 106th in the nation. Their two starting quarterbacks, Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson are both gone, so they will have a new quarterback under center in 2012, which could make this offensive unit struggle even more. Rob Bolden, a Penn State transfer, is an excellent fit for the Tigers offensive scheme, and there will be a lot of pressure on him to provide a spark to this otherwise dormant passing attack. Odell Beckham, Jr. had a great freshman campaign so expect the Tigers to lean on him as their number one threat at wide receiver in his sophomore season.  

The Bottom Line:
The Tigers have appeared in 12 straight bowl games, including one in each season of Les Miles coaching tenure. That streak will undoubtedly continue this year. LSU will live by their defense in 2012, which is star studded and loaded with NFL caliber talent again. If opponents cannot score, they cannot beat you. LSU will live by that theory because points will be few and far between against this talented Tiger defense. Their rushing attack is a perfect combination to go with their strong defense because it chews clock and grinds out the time, allowing opponents fewer opportunities to try to crack this defense.  The formula is simple but effective and this team looks to be the class of the best conference in football and the next in line to win the SEC’s seventh straight BCS Championship.

Projected Bowl: BCS National Championship

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 202.57 (22nd in the nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 152.50 (106, 10)   
Total Offense: 355.07 (86, 6)
Scoring Offense: 35.71 (17, 2)
Rushing Defense: 90.07 (5, 2)
Pass Defense: 171.43 (8, 4)  
Total Defense: 261.50 (2, 2)  
Scoring Defense: 11.29 (2, 2)   
Turnover Margin: 1.43 (2, 1)
Sacks: 2.79 (14, 1)   
Sacks Allowed: 1.29 (25, 1)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#2 Sam Montgomery
#11 Barkevious Mingo
#16 Alex Hurst
#21 Chris Faulk
#55 Bennie Logan
#65 Russell Sheppard
#77 Eric Reid

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#82 Kwon Alexander
#169 Vadal Alexander
#197 Lamar Louis
#208 Dwayne Thomas
#252 Avery Johnson