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More Freshmen Will Play This Year

Last year, 7 true freshmen played football for LSU, only 5 of whom were actually position players.  They were Chad Jones, Terrance Toliver, Drake Nevis, Joseph Barksdale, and Jarvis Jones.  Every other true freshman recruit from the 2007 class (a highly regarded class, by the way), redshirted.

This year, it appears more will get a chance to get on the field.  In addition to the expected (Patrick Peterson, who will see the field a lot), it appears Ryan Baker will be a backup linebacker and play special teams.  Jordan Jefferson will probably play quarterback a fair bit.  Deangelo Peterson and Brandon Taylor appear to have won jobs on special teams and/or wide receiver and cornerback respectively.  Lavar Edwards and Cordian Hagans have impressed at defensive line enough to possibly get in, either or both of them.  Karnell Hatcher may be a backup safety and/or play special teams.  Greg Shaw appears to be the primary backup to Ciron Black at left tackle.  Tyler Edwards will possibly be the 3rd tight end and/or the backup fullback.  Kellen Theriot will probably play special teams.  Even Tim Molton, who went on record as wanting to redshirt, and who reported to the team relatively late due to academic issues, may have impressed enough to earn some playing time.

For a signing class that wasn't particularly highly regarded (for LSU), that's a lot of immediate contributors.

While we have a lot of immediate contributors, few freshmen will be counted upon for heavy duty, and that's a good thing.  Here in Tuscaloosa, I hear a lot about some true freshmen who are going to play a lot, but when true freshmen are starters in the opening game, that usually bodes poorly.  People tend to discount what a big adjustment it is to go from high school to college football, even for the best players.  The opposing players are as good as or better than the best player the person went against in high school.  The schemes and plays are many times over more complicated than anything these guys were running just a year prior.  It's too much to expect of almost anyone to get it right off.

In our case, we are in position to ease young players into the lineup, and really only Patrick Peterson appears to be pushing the starters any time soon.  Everyone else will get a chance to grow in limited roles, such as special teams.  That is a big advantage to us, and it is a luxury that we have true freshmen who can fill those roles effectively.

Injuries to veterans could, of course, change the plans to ease players into the lineup slowly.

One of the key things to watch during the upcoming game, especially if the game gets to be something of a blowout, is who among the young players (freshmen and redshirt freshmen) see playing time.  Not all of the above will, but many of them will get their shot.