LSU Football: Spring Practice Storylines That Matter

    LSU football spring practice is here. Here are the storylines that matter for Les Miles and the Tigers.

    March 8, 2016

    LSU football spring practice is here. Here are the storylines that matter for Les Miles and the Tigers.

    And you wanted a new head coach …

    Maybe you didn’t, but it took just one three-game losing streak to put Les Miles this close to getting pushed out of his job. He’s back, most of the key stars return, a tremendous recruiting class is coming in and a stronger one is on the way – everything is looking up for a program that just four months ago seemed destined to make this a very, very different type of spring.

    If there was hope for big things last offseason, this time around there’s full-on giddiness over a loaded team that isn’t starting from scratch, isn’t starting with a Jimbo Fisher or Kirby Smart at the helm, and isn’t having to deal with several question marks about what might have been with a team good enough to be in the preseason top five, if not No. 1.

    No, this isn’t it in terms of an open window for a possible national title run, but if you’re an SEC West team and you have a chance at doing something massive, and if Alabama is likely to be just a wee bit down, you have to pounce.

    LSU has the talent and potential to be the Miles’ best in several years, but he’s welcoming in a new defensive coordinator in Dave Aranda from Wisconsin, along with a few other assistants, and he’s tweaking his schemes a bit. Spring practice will be about just how much offensive coordinator Cam Cameron wants to throw, and just how many changes Aranda will want to make to the front seven.

    But there won’t be a total overhaul, and there won’t be a new coach trying to get to know his players during spring practice. It’ll be Les Miles trying to set the tone for a possible national championship.

    No one is worried about …

    The running game. And it’s not just because Leonard Fournette is back for a possible Heisman-winning run. 222-pound Derrius Guice wasn’t around for the start of the spring ball, but he’s a dangerous back who can fill in here and there to give Fournette a bit of a break. Almost every rushing yard from last year should be back by the start of the season – with 1,953 of the 3,089 coming from No. 7 – working behind a terrific O line that welcomes back all three starters in the interior.

    Extra attention must be given to …

    The defensive changes. Aranda ran an attacking 3-4 scheme at Wisconsin, and now he’s bringing it the LSU football program with all the pressure now on the linebacking corps that has to find enough bodies to form a good rotation. The line isn’t a problem with everyone back – there are more than enough options to keep everyone fresh – but leading tackler Deion Jones is gone from a group that might need all spring to come up with the right starting four linebackers. However, it’s a flexible scheme that can easily modify to a 4-3 when needed

    The spring’s biggest storyline will be …

    MORE: Five Keys To 2016 LSU Football Schedule


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