February 22, 2007

10 questions to be answered in spring drills

On Monday, Les Miles will open his third spring practice as LSU football coach.

The need to find a wide receivers coach has been the primary reason for the indecision on Miles' part to set up a start date for spring football.

In Miles' first two years, the Tigers have finished with identical 11-2 records. LSU finished in the top five in the nation each season. There have been two dominant bowl performances, but no Southeastern Conference championships.

Although many of the players on the 2007 roster were signed by former coach Nick Saban, few actually logged playing time for the current Alabama boss.

Here are ten questions which need to be answered during the Tigers' month-long spring drills. The questions are grouped according to offense, defense and special teams.

1. What will the Gary Crowton offense look like?

During his time with Louisiana Tech and the Chicago Bears, the LaVell Edwards disciple made his reputation by running a wide-open offense. Miles is certainly not a coach who wants to be a pass-first, run-second team. There is no doubt that Miles clashed with former offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher about philosophy. Miles appears to be comfortable with the more experienced Crowton. LSU must replace a quarterback and two wide receivers. So, the Tigers may be better served to run the ball a little more, which runs contrary to Crowton's beliefs.

2. How fragile is the quarterback situation?

Everyone knows that Matt Flynn will be the starter. But, Flynn has started just one game in the past four years - the 2005 Peach Bowl. Flynn threw only 20 passes in relief of JaMarcus Russell last season. No one knows if Flynn is ready to be the No. 1 guy. There are no constants about Ryan Perrilloux. He has been unhappy with his limited use - four pass attempts - in two years. At times, Perrilloux has been in Miles' doghouse. In addition, Perrilloux has reportedly had some off-the-field issues. There will be no other scholarship quarterback at spring practice. An injury at this position would be a disaster.

3. Is running back-by-committee over?

By the end of the year, Keiland Williams had established himself as the top running back. However, he still didn't start the Sugar Bowl ahead of Justin Vincent. The running game would be more productive if Jacob Hester would play fullback and tailback only as a pass receiver. Spring practice is very important for Alley Broussard and Charles Scott. Both had become non-factors by December. The one person who could really help the running game is Richard Murphy, who was redshirted last year.

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