Spring preview: Storylines to watch

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
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As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, GeauxTigerNation will take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the eighth in the series:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU begins springs football practice Thursday with plenty of question marks, from adjusting to a new offensive coordinator to replacing the entire defensive line.

Here are the big story lines as practice gets set to start Thursday and continue until the spring game April 20:

1. What's the Cam Cameron effect? It's really going to be hard to pinpoint the Cameron influence on the offense until the Tigers start taking snaps in games next fall.

But if we start seeing Jeremy Hill taking swing passes from Zach Mettenberger and tight ends getting targeted repeatedly in passing drills, we'll know where that came from.

[+] EnlargeLa'el Collins
Patrick Green/Icon SMIWill La'el Collins move over to left tackle from left guard this spring?
2. Who's at left tackle? All indications are that La'el Collins will get first shot at replacing Josh Dworaczyk at left tackle.

But how sold is LSU on moving Collins from left guard, where he started last season?

Will Collins take all his spring reps at tackle or does LSU swing him between tackle and guard and give freshman Jerald Hawkins a shot? How about moving Vadal Alexander from the right side?

It will be interesting to see how the reps appear to be divided at the position and what the first-team line looks like in position drills.

3. Juco impact? Tight end Logan Stokes and offensive guard Fehoko Fanaika, both junior college transfers, are being brought in to make an immediate impact at their positions.

Will they?

Stokes should be able to contend for the starting tight end job, but both junior Travis Dickson and sophomore Dillon Gordon will compete for those spots. At guard, Fanaika theoretically gives LSU the luxury of being able to move Collins to tackle. But Fanaika would still have to contend with two experienced starters -- Trai Turner and Josh Williford -- if he's going to win the starting job.

4. Defensive line?: This is a rebuilding job if there ever was one.

Junior Anthony Johnson, the former top-rated prep defensive tackle in the country, is set to be the centerpiece despite not being able to beat out Josh Downs for the starting job last season. Now's the time for Johnson to step his game up.

Aside from him, everything seems up in the air. Ego Ferguson played a lot at tackle, but is he ready to move to being a starter? Jermauria Rasco was among the top four ends last season, but is he ready to be a starter? Is end Jordan Allen healthy after a knee injury ended his 2012 season?

And are any of the young defensive linemen ready to step up to make an early impact?

5. DBU?: LSU annually gets defensive backs drafted high in the NFL draft, the reason why the secondary likes to dub itself "DBU."

Will the Tigers have that kind of player this year?

Craig Loston, the oft-injured strong safety, needs to have a big senior year. The two cornerbacks, Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins, need to take the next step at their positions. It's up in the air who will start at free safety.

This spring is the first in a long while where LSU won't enter the season with an obvious star, and high draft pick, in its secondary. From Patrick Peterson to Morris Claiborne to Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid, the Tigers always seem to have an all-star candidate back there.

This year, LSU is looking for that guy.

Gary Laney | email

Reporter, GeauxTigerNation

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