LSU will have to rebuild on defense next season
The 20-13 victory for the LSU Tigers over the Arkansas Razorbacks gave Les Miles his sixth double-digit win season in eight years at LSU.
The win was not pretty, but again what it all boils down to is putting a “W” on the board.
Miles has led the Tigers to an 85-20 mark since arriving in 2005. Winning 81 percent of your games should be satisfying and applauded when you consider the Tigers are playing in the toughest conference in college football.
The expectations were high to enter the 2012 season. I, like many others, thought the Tigers would be playing in the BCS National Championship, but we made those assumptions thinking this team would have one of the top defensive playmakers in the country in cornerback/return specialist Tyrann Mathieu.
The Tigers also went through much of the season without left offensive tackle Chris Faulk, right offensive tackle Alex Hurst, outside linebacker Tahj Jones, former Hahnville High School standout halfback Alfred Blue and offensive guard Josh Williford.
Due to suspensions, academic issues, injuries and personal problems these players did not play for the Tigers down the stretch.
For all the complaints about Miles and his staff, think about how many other coaching staffs would have been able to handle those injuries and distractions.
The encouraging part of what has played out is that the Tigers have finally taken the football training wheels off of the bike of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. While he has had some inconsistent moments, he has also played behind an offensive line that was gelling on the move and wide receivers that at times had trouble getting good separation downfield and also catching the ball clean.
Right now, much is at stake in the final weekend. I really think Georgia has a strong chance to upset Alabama in the SEC Championship game and that would make it interesting to see where LSU lands in a bowl game, most notably the Capital One or Chick-fil-A bowls. No matter what bowl the Tigers head to, it doesn’t take away how well this team has overcome the adversity of 2012.
Give Les Miles full credit. Very few college teams could post a 10-win regular season with all the obstacles along the way and such a tough schedule.
Next season will be a rebuilding year on defense because we have likely seen the final regular season game played by Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo, Eric Reid, Bennie Logan and possibly Kevin Minter.
But what returns on offense will give LSU another strong shot to get to double-digit wins again next season.