Today, we take a look at what should be the strongest and weakest positions for LSU entering the 2010 season:
Strongest position: Secondary
Key returnees: Patrick Peterson, Jai Eugene, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Taylor, Ron Brooks
Key departures: Chad Jones, Chris Hawkins
The skinny: Jones was a playmaker for the Tigers at safety, but defensive coordinator John Chavis thinks they will be even faster in the secondary next season. Essentially, they will be playing four cornerbacks back there when you consider that Eugene is moving from cornerback to safety. Peterson is the best cornerback in the country and a future star in the NFL. He’s good enough to take away one whole side of the field. The Tigers’ defensive coaches think Claiborne will be their next great cornerback. He’s had a terrific spring and will step in at the other cornerback position opposite Peterson. Taylor’s a returning starter at the other safety position, and Ron Brooks gives them quality depth as the third cornerback. If redshirt freshman Craig Loston keeps coming, this has a chance to be one of the best defensive backfields in the league.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Key returnees: Joseph Barksdale, Alex Hurst, Josh Dworaczyk, Will Blackwell
Key departures: Ciron Black
The skinny: It was a brutal season for the LSU offensive line a year ago. The Tigers were 11th in the league in rushing offense and gave up 37 sacks, which tied South Carolina for the league high and ranked 105th nationally. The Tigers have shuffled some people around up front with the hope of finding the right combination. Coach Les Miles likes the way the offensive line has responded this spring, but the real test will come in the fall. Barksdale will be moving from right tackle to left tackle for the departed Black, who had a disappointing senior season. Hurst, a sophomore, has moved from guard to right tackle. There are signs that the Tigers will be better in the offensive line in 2010, but they have to prove it on the field first.