LSU spring football preview: Three and out

By Scott Rabalais

Advocate sportswriter

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson is not with the team and will not play in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, a source said Tuesday.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson is not with the team and will not play in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, a source said Tuesday.

Offense

1. The Cam Cameron era begins.
Les Miles tapped Cameron, his close friend, to be his fifth offensive coordinator at LSU (including Steve Kragthorpe). Cameron may be the best-qualified play-caller ever to come to LSU, but everyone waits to find out how much he can change the culture of the Tigers offense.

2. Quarterbacks.
Zach Mettenberger has been compared to a statue, and like a statue he’s entrenched as LSU’s starting quarterback. Backup is a different story. With an eye to who will be the starter in 2014, expect to see Stephen Rivers get a strong push, particularly from freshmen Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings.

3. Left tackle.
La’El Collins was LSU’s best offensive lineman last year, and apparently Miles and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa are ready to at least give him a try at the line’s most critical position. Other than moving Vadal Alexander over there, they seemed to have little choice.

Defense

1. Laying it on the line.
After years of familiar faces at defensive end, how many familiar faces could you pick out of LSU’s current group? The Tigers will be young and thin here and will depend on tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to help out the likes of Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter. This is the most critical area for LSU entering the spring and fall.

2. Something Barrowed.
Two years ago, LSU looked like it had a serious issue replacing Kelvin Sheppard at middle linebacker. Now the same is true as it tries to replace Kevin Minter. Lamin Barrow was second to Minter with 104 tackles last season and seems a natural to slide over from the weakside spot. If not, sophomore Ronnie Feist looks like the heir apparent.

3. Chief of surgery.
John “Chief” Chavis will earn his $1.1 million as defensive coordinator this season. He replaces seven starters who accounted for 386 of LSU’s 930 tackles last season. The Tigers probably won’t be as vulnerable on defense as they appear right now, but they have months of work ahead of them.