Wednesday, August 8, 2007

No Worries Mate, Part II

Part II of an as-yet indeterminately-lengthed series on things I think can derail this very good team we have.

All football teams are vulnerable to injuries. It's just a fact of life. Everyone from USC down to Southern Miss can have their hopes dashed by key injuries to the wrong players.

The player pictured at the top of this blog is definitely one of the "big uglies". He is Mark Snyder, an offensive tackle who was running with the second team. He's also the first victim of a serious injury for the LSU football team this season. In his second practice of the season, he injured his knee, apparently rather seriously. He will likely be out for quite some time, if not the entire season.

It's a position where LSU is vulnerable. We have a very talented offensive line, and lots of depth in the middle of the line, but very little at the edges. It now appears that the #3 offensive tackle on the team may be a true freshman. If there is any injury to the starters Ciron Black and Carnell Stewart, we will either have to shuffle the line to play players out of position, or stick a true freshman in the game against SEC-calibre defensive linemen.

Where else are we vulnerable? Actually, with our depth of talent, we'll be more able to sustain injuries than most teams, but that's not to say we're invulnerable. Here are players or positions where we are most vulnerable:

1. Early Doucet, WR. He's our best and most experienced wide receiver. He's an All-American candidate wide receiver on a team where no other returning wideout had more than 6 catches last year. Talent and athleticism are available behind him, but Doucet is clearly the go-to guy and there will be a big drop-off is he goes down.

2. Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon, CB. Both of our starting corners are pre-season All-SEC players. No one behind them has ever played a down of college football. Once again, there is a lot of talent, and a lot of players who are expected to have very good careers, but we want to ease them into the lineup, not throw them to the wolves.

3. Tyson Jackson, DE. With the apparent loss of Ricky Jean-Francois to academic problems, the defensive end spot becomes a lot more vulnerable. Tyson Jackson is possibly an All-America calibre player. Behind him ar a number of very solid players like Tremaine Johnson, Rahim Alem, and Kirston Pittman, one of whom will be lining up opposite him. But Tyson Jackson is the man. If he is lost, there will be a big drop-off.

4. Matt Flynn, QB. Obviously, any team that loses its starting QB will have some problems. We have a backup QB with a lot of promise, and it makes us somewhat less vulnerable to injury here than a lot of teams, but Perrilloux has clearly lost the competition for the starting job, and appears that he may not quite be ready to be a team leader. You'd like to see him keep his opportunity to understudy and mature before he becomes the starter. If he is forced into starting action now, the team will suffer for it.

Other positions do not have me so worried. This is better than a lot of teams, most of whom can't sustain ANY significant injuries to players in the two-deep without suffering serious consequences. However, if we lose a tight end or an offensive tackle to injury, even a guy like Glenn Dorsey, the team will probably be OK. It'll be a setback, and definitely will hurt, but not as much as it will hurt other teams.

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