Here at ATVS, we all bring our own unique insight to LSU and creative writing style. But when it comes down to it, we're just fans. We're the guy that wakes up at 6 a.m. to go to the grocery store and pick up fresh cut meat at the grocery store for the grill/tailgate. We're the guy that wakes up at 11:30 a.m., barely, with a throbbing headache from the previous nights activities (usually not from being on the wrong end of a LaGarrette Blount right cross). And everything in between. We are just like you and we're all excited about wiping the 8-5 taste out of our mouth. We're all excited to see LSU v.2009. After the jump is specifically is what I can't wait see out of the Tigers on Saturday night.
1) Jordan Jefferson - I think this one is probably at the top of most people's list. The quarterback situation last year was miserably unstable. Everyone knows that LSU is dripping with talent all over the field on offense. Brandon LaFell, Charles Scott and Ciron Black are among the best players in the SEC. You've got gamebreakers all over the place and one of the league's best offensive lines. The only question is Jefferson. I don't really need to see him be spectacular or make big plays. I just want him to play smart and play confident. He has the tools and the talent around him to be successful. I want him to play within himself and make a play when the opportunity presents itself.
2) Russell Shepard - In theory, watching the defense should be second on my list at worst. However, there has been so much buzz around Shepard it's hard not to be pumped to see him with the ball in his hands. How will LSU use him? Wide receiver? Running Back? Quarterback? Is he really the Reggie Bush/Percy Harvin-type gamebreaker that could elevate the Tiger offense to something utterly special?
3) The Defensive Line - As much talent as LSU has had on the defensive line over the past two years, it has struggled mightily to put pressure on quarterbacks consistently. I want to see the D-Line get after it. I want Rahim Alem in the backfield all night. Can Pep Levingston step up at the other end spot? He wasn't a four or five-star recruit like everyone else on LSU's line and he's got big shoes to fill after taking over for Tyson Jackson. Charles Alexander seems like he's been on campus for a decade. Will he finally make it through the season healthy and be a difference maker. And Al Woods and everything you want in a tackle. Can he be the rock against the run LSU will need to match up with Alabama, Florida and Georgia this year?
4) Patrick Peterson and Chad Jones - Peterson and Jones are arguably the two most talented defensive players in the SEC this side of Eric Berry. LSU's pass defense last season was suspect on a good day and down right awful the day after Thanksgiving. These two players have the opportunity and ability to turn last year's weakness into a strength. But outside of just playing the pass better, I want to see them ball hawk. Creating turnovers as well as flipping field position and momentum is a huge part of college football. These two guys should be every offensive coordinators worst nightmare.
5) The Return Game - This is probably my biggest pet peeve about LSU's football team over the past few years. It baffles me that a team with the best athletes in the country (yes, I'm counting Florida and USC too) can't have a better punt and kickoff return game. It's amazing that even though the Tigers have set up the return on every punt I have seen in the last few years, there aren't any better returns and there are that many fair catches. Hell, if you're going to fair catch 75 percent of the time anyway, go after the punt and try to block one every once in a while. And Keiland Williams just seems like he caught a toss sweep on kickoff returns.
6) Wide Receivers - We all know that we have a legit No. 1 receiver in Brandon LaFell. But, after that, it's just potential. I'm interested to see who the second, third and fourth receivers are and how they're used. I want to see who steps up. Will Terrance Tolliver finally become a stud? How good is Reuben Randle? What unknown, overshadowed receiver will become a solid option. Can Russell Shepard and Trindon Holliiday be difference makers on the outside?
7) A Killer Instinct - Throughout most of this decade, I've often said that, "nobody throttles a mediocre team like LSU." The Tigers used to get a team down, then step on the throat and crush them. It was laughable how they would destroy a mid-level bowl team 38-7 and rest the starters the whole fourth quarter. The team seemed to be missing that last year and it cost them in the Arkansas game and almost the Auburn game. Hell, LSU only beat Mississippi State by 10.
8) The Backfield - LSU has so many options at running back, and even quarterback if you include Shephard in the mix. How creative will Gary Crowton be with his personnel groupings? I've been aching to see Charles Scott and Keiland Williams in the same backfield for two years. Will LSU run any Wing-T type plays with Shephard at QB, Scott and either Williams or Holliday as the pitch man. Or just straight up triple-option plays? Where do Richard Murphy and Stevan Ridley fit in? It reminds me of 1997 when Herb Tyler was coming back with Kevin Faulk, Cecil Collins, Rondell Mealey and Tommy Banks. The possibilities are endless.
What are you most interested and excited about to see in LSU's season opener?