BATON ROUGE, La. -- After taking this week off for spring break, LSU resumes spring practice next week. Here are three things to watch for as the Tigers head for the last two weeks of spring drills, capped by the April 20 Spring Game:
1. The progression of La'el Collins: As much as people talk about how Cam Cameron will influence Zach Mettenberger's quarterback play and how much LSU might throw the ball, the move of Collins from left guard to left tackle to replace the graduated Josh Dworaczyk becomes that much more critical.
We all know about left tackles and their valuable because they protect the right-handed quarterback's blind side from the modern-day Lawrence Taylors. We've all seen "The Blind Side."
Collins came out of high school, where he was one of the nation's most decorated offensive tackle prospects, as a guy who was projected as one of those blind-side protectors. But his niche last year in his first season as a starter at LSU was as a guard who used the same nimble feet that made many project him as a dominant pass blocker to become a dominant pull and reach blocker in the Tigers' running game.
Now, he's out on the edge. If he's what he's been sold to be, Mettenberger should have time to find open receivers, given that he's more experienced and his wideouts and both older and more talented than last season. If the Collins move has issues, then that can be a problem for the Tigers' passing game.
Youth movement?: LSU's eight early enrollees have had a chance to get their feet wet.
In the next two weeks, it'll be interesting to see if junior college transfers Logan Stokes (tight end) and Fehoko Fanaika (offensive guard) make a move towards the starting lineup as they get more comfortable.
Similarly some young linemen, particularly offensive tackle Ethan Pocic and defensive tackle Christian LaCouture, have looked good at times. As they begin to better grasp the concepts they are learning this spring, will they be ready to translate that to a big spring game and prominent roles come August?
Air Les (meaning, Air More)?: LSU has thrown its share of passes in the two spring scrimmages so far.
Will that trend continue to the spring game? Or will the Cameron influence be overwhelmed by the Les Miles identity of a power running game that tries to make defenses submit through force of will (and force of muscle)?
The spring game will give us our verdict. A lot of Tigers fans won't be happy unless Mettenberger throws it 30-plus times, as he's been doing in early spring scrimmages.