- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
KWON ALEXANDER It's not often that a top recruit from Alabama signs with LSU, but the 6'2", 215-pound Alexander did just that. The speedy linebacker missed most of his senior season at Oxford High with a knee injury, but Miles expects him to contribute immediately.
SPENCER WARE The LSU coaching staff has great expectations for Ware, a 5'11", 225-pound junior who started 10 games in 2011. With an improved passing attack, Ware won't be facing as many eight- and nine-man fronts this season, which should translate into one big year.
IN 2010, Zach Mettenberger threw for 2,678 yards and 32 TDs at Butler (Kans.) Community College. Now, he takes over an amped-up LSU offense that will feature more mid- and long-range passes in an attempt to put more points on the board. If he succeeds, it will take pressure off the team's suddenly depleted D. Of course, the Tigers aren't exactly hurting for defensive talent. The line—led by junior ends Sam Montgomery (nine sacks in 2011) and Barkevious Mingo (15 tackles for loss)—could be one of the best in school history. And while Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal stings, the secondary will rally around junior safety Eric Reid, a potential top 15 draft pick next April.
BESIDES METTENBERGER, the Tigers have one of the most experienced offensive lines in the nation, which includes five returning starters with a combined 102 starts. LSU's top four rushers from 2011 are also back, headlined by junior tailbacks Spencer Ware (who ran for 707 yards last season) and Michael Ford (756 yards). On defense LSU may be just as ruthlessly talented as it was last season, when the Tigers were ranked in the top five nationally in four categories. Still, that unit will miss Mathieu, and his absence will be the tissue-thin difference between a BCS bowl bid and the BCS Championship Game.