Local blue chippers could be LSU key

    Within days of the opening kickoff against TCU, I have a message for LSU opponents: If you plan on getting the Tigers, make sure you do it now.
    Because the future of LSU football is as bright as the look on my wife’s face every time we drive by a shopping mall.
    Yes, that bright!
    Head coach Les Miles is poised to have another very good recruiting class in 2014. It could be topped off by St. Aug running back Leonard Fournette and Karr’s tandem of athlete Speedy Noil and defensive lineman Gerald Willis.
    And, Miles made the right hire last winter, tapping friend and former NFL head coach Cam Cameron to run his offense.
    With Anthony Jennings on board and Brandon Harris of Parkway committed for 2014, the quarterback position is as healthy as 2006. That’s when JaMarcus Russell started and Matt Flynn backed him up.
    Miles is a hard guy to read, but my sense is he is energized by what he sees. Miles, who is extremely guarded with the media, said opponents will find it much harder to read whether his team is running or passing.
    That may not seem like much. But it was a telling statement for a coach who doesn’t routinely give away intelligence on his team.
    My guess is Miles likes the attitude of his team. The 2012 Tigers looked distracted, like a group that had one foot out the door to the NFL. Even when LSU won, it wasn’t pretty.
    LSU’s best effort of the season came in its biggest game. In a 21-17 loss to Alabama, one first down inside the Bama 25-yard line would have dramatically altered the seasons of both teams. The final three games after that deflating defeat were ugly.
    LSU needed 21 fourth-quarter points to beat Ole Miss. One week later, the Tigers were outgained 462 to 300 in total yards but still managed to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville. And, in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, LSU was one first down away from running out the clock against Clemson. The Tigers fell 25-24 despite being outgained 445-219.
    So, as we approach kickoff, Miles finds his team ranked outside the top 10.
    I say, great. Lack of respect is one of the best cards a coach can throw on the table, especially in the dog days of camp, when September still looks far away.
    The schedule is a bear. The Tigers play at Georgia and at Alabama. Florida comes to Baton Rouge in October. And, we can only assume that Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel will have his eligibility issues cleared by the time the Aggies come to Tiger Stadium in late November.
    But, on LSU, put me down as a buy, not a sell. LSU has too many great athletes not to be good on defense. And there’s no way the offense again finishes 85th in the country in total yards.
    Opponents, if you plan on getting these Tigers, do it early.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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