BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After a year that included the loss of Tyrann Mathieu, gut-wrenching defeats to Florida, Alabama and Clemson and the departure of several underclassmen, LSU fans are a bit uneasy about the 2013 season.
Coach Les Miles addressed the media Wednesday touching on the team's news offensive leader, the loss of several underclassmen, defense, recruiting and more.
LSU's offense has a new leader this year in Cam Cameron. He will need to jump start an offense that at times sputtered and at crucial times could not make the play needed to win a game.
Miles likes his new coordinator, saying, "Offensively, we add Cam Cameron at offensive coordinator and he has done a great job already. Just the approach of the offense and how we see ourselves, and in my opinion he will have great affect. Our two deep, I think we will have a lot of quality on the offensive line."
There may be some moving around on the offensive line. La'El Collins will work out at left tackle, Josh Williford will get some work at center, Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander will line up at their normal positions.
Zach Mettenberger start his second year at quarterback for LSU. The coach thinks this year Mettenberger will show improvement. "I think that anytime you are in the second year as a starter, your concepts are different. You look to the receiving core and you want to make them better. You look to the passing attack and want to make it better. He needs to be more patient with the deep ball. He needs to understand that some of his throws need to be better. We would expect that the leadership component and his ability to play better will show."
The Tiger running game will again be strong this year. Miles believes Jeremy Hill may become an "elite back", Alfred Blue "will be ready to go" and Kenny Hilliard has had a great off-season and "should have his opportunities."
Blocking for the trio of running backs will be J.C. Copeland and Connor Neighbors.
With the loss of stars like Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Eric Reid, Kevin Minter and Tharold Simon, the Tiger defense will need rebuilding on the defensive line, backfield and a leader in the middle. While young, there is a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball and more coming in this fall from a top 10 recruiting class.
The coach said it is a compliment to LSU's program when players leave to further their career in the NFL. "We lost 13 three and outs. It is a really positive thing," Miles said. "I don't think there will be a number like that in the future, but it is a strong statement that the Tigers come in, they get prepared and they have the opportunity in three years to further their football in the NFL."
"With eight new guys already on campus, I think that will give us a very nice group of young guys. We can age our team by giving our freshman class a spring, and we will be in more of a groove in summer. When fall starts, again we will have a much improved group guys."
Lamin Barrow will start spring practice at the middle linebacker spot, with Kwan Alexander, Tahj Jones, Lamar Louis and Deion Jones on the outside.
The arrest of Rickey Jefferson again started a new year off with a black cloud over the team. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office arrested the younger brother of former quarterback Jordan Jefferson on February 2 and charged him with resisting arrest by violence, just four days before he signed a letter of intent to play for LSU.
Miles said he had no information on the arrest of the Destrehan signee before the news broke Tuesday night. At Wednesday's news conference Miles said "we'll have to trail behind and find out what's going on, but I'm really without information at this point."
LSU will have 15 practices before the Spring Game on April 20th at 2 p.m.
The Tigers start spring practice with the same goals they have each year and this year's ultimate goal is making it to Pasadena, CA.