Man, I hate spring football.
Or preseason football, for that matter.
Heck, I hate any football that’s played that doesn’t count in the win/loss standings.
It’s just … different. The urgency isn’t there, the energy isn’t the same, and it’s all just a big tease.
It’s like being really hungry, ordering a huge, juicy steak and then only being allowed to eat one bite. Sure, that one bite is fantastic, but when you have to quit after that, it’s torture, because you want more.
That is spring football in a nutshell – a painful reminder that we won’t see LSU football again until the fall.
My personal pain and anguish aside, Saturday’s spring game is a big one for LSU , because the program is heading toward a crossroads 2016 season that will go a long way in deciding the direction of the program.
Here are the five things I need to see for me to call the day a success.
1. Someone making plays under center – Preferably, it would be Brandon Harris doing the most damage, but if it’s Danny Etling, that’s OK, too. Whoever it is, I need to see something from the LSU quarterbacks. With the exception of one season from Zach Mettenberger, the Tigers have been downright abysmal at the position for almost a decade – a streak of struggles that has ser ved as the No. 1 factor in the program falling behind Alabama in the SEC West hierarchy. Reports out of camp are good, but they always are. It’s time we see results.
2. Offensive line working as a unit – LSU has a ton of returning offensive linemen with experience. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a lot of them are expected to play new positions in the fall. I don’t expect this to be a huge issue, but keep an eye on how that line performs in its live action. The chemistry has to be there in the trenches.
3. Aranda’s wizardry on display – We don’t expect him to show his full hand, but I can’t wait to see this new-look LSU 3-4 defense under new coordinator Dave Aranda. It’s a scheme I wish the Tigers would have been running for years – an alignment that should help the team better corral the spread offenses that are taking over college football. I never liked the way Kevin Steele fit this program, but I love Aranda’s style. I’m legit excited to watch the Tigers play defense – hopefully at a championship level again.
4. Healthiness is key – Football is a violent game. Injuries happen. We’d rather them not happen when it’s Tigers versus Tigers. Any successful spring is one in which everyone leaves it in full heath. LSU needs to keep its cogs upright and in position to make a run in the fall.
5. A different look on offense – Folks don’t realize that LSU was near the top of the SEC in mostevery SEC offensive category in 2015. That’s because the unit lacked the consistency and swagger of a championship-caliber group. Les Miles promised fans this offseason that the offense would look different – both in formation packages and also in overall efficiency and effectiveness. Let’s see what offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has in store for us. Let’s see just how “new-fangled” this Tigers offense will be.
Photo by Mike Buck.