LSU Tigers: Reid Ferguson

Editor’s note: This week, we’ll take a quick look at each of LSU’s position groups as the Tigers prepare to open preseason practice next week. Up last are the special teams units.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Returning starters: Colby Delahoussaye (13-for-14 on field goals, 56-for-57 on extra points) had an outstanding freshman season, ranking as the SEC’s most accurate kicker on field goals at 92.9 percent. Punter Jamie Keehn dealt with consistency issues, ranking 11th in the SEC with an average of 41.0 yards per punt.

Starters lost: Odell Beckham Jr. (26.4 yards per kickoff return, 8.9 on punts) will be nearly impossible to replace after winning the Paul Hornung Award and earning All-America honors last season as one of the nation’s most exciting return men. The Tigers also lost kickoff man James Hairston.

Key newcomers: Cameron Gamble (ESPN’s No. 6 kicking prospect) is the lone special teams-only signee, and Coach Les Miles has said several times that he is a candidate to claim the kickoff duties. Of course, several members of the signing class will also likely contribute on the Tigers’ various coverage and return teams, but it’s far too early to speculate on those possible roles.

Players to watch: Terrence Magee and Travin Dural. Listed as the starters at kickoff return and punt return, respectively, Magee and Dural are nearly the only players not named Beckham to handle those roles at all in 2013. Magee returned two kickoffs for 45 yards and Dural returned four punts for 12. Will they hold onto those roles this August? And will their attempts to claim starting jobs at running back and receiver affect their bids to serve as the top return men? We shall see.

Overall: Delahoussaye was pleased with his physical development this spring and said he was kicking the ball with more power than ever before. He seems locked in as the first-team kicker, although it will be interesting to see whether LSU follows through with Miles’ stated goal of finding someone to handle kickoffs in order to keep from overworking Delahoussaye. Utility man Trent Domingue and Gamble might battle for that job, but Delahoussaye is listed first on the preseason depth chart. Keehn also holds the top spot over Domingue at punter after the two players competed during the spring. Snapper Reid Ferguson and holder Brad Kragthorpe are also back. That leaves the return jobs (and to a lesser degree, the freshman personnel that will be included on the coverage and return teams) as LSU’s most intriguing question marks in the kicking game.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The passive LSU fan might vaguely recall the name "Reid Ferguson" from the 2012 season.

LSU spring football primer

March, 14, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Here are things to know as LSU starts spring practice:

Practice dates: March 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 23 (scrimmage), 25, 26 and 28. After spring break, resumes April 9, 11, 13 (scrimmage), 16, 18 and 20 (spring game).

What's new: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will install his new offense, and four new starters will man the defensive line.

What's old: The Tigers have eight returning starters on offense, led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Offensive outlook:
Starters returning (8): QB Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill, FB J.C. Copeland, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Odell Beckham, LT La'el Collins (moved from left guard), LG Josh Williford (moved from right guard), RG Trai Turner, RT Vadal Alexander.

New starters: TE Dillon Gordon or Logan Stokes, C Elliott Porter. Key reserves -- QB Stephen Rivers, RBs Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and Terrance Magee, FB Connor Neighbors, LT Jerald Hawkins, RG Fehoko Fanaika, RT Ethan Pocic, WR James Wright, Kadron Boone, John Diarse and Travin Dural, TE Travis Dickson.

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True freshmen make impact at LSU 

December, 27, 2012
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BATON ROUGE -- With a number of top prospects still considering the possibility of signing with LSU Feb. 6, they should remember one thing before they sign with the Tigers:

If you sign, you better come ready to play.

LSU brought in 21 true freshmen in the 2012 signing class, and 15 have played -- which is second in the country.

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Expect UW to make LSU show more 

September, 3, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- If you think what you saw in LSU's 41-14 win over North Texas Saturday in any way defines what the Tigers will be as a team, think again.

LSU was pretty vanilla and limited with what it showed against the Mean Green on both sides of the ball. One can expect much more going forward, starting with the Tigers' toughest test in a relatively light non-conference schedule Saturday against Washington at Tiger Stadium.

How basic did the Tigers keep it?

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Who emerged as starters in camp? 

August, 24, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. - Depending how you look at it, LSU's August camp ended on Aug. 16 with the last scrimmage before the start of the fall semester, or on Aug. 21, with the last scrimmage before the Tigers shifted their focus to preparations for the Sept. 1 season opener against North Texas.

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertZach Mettenberger will lead LSU on offense, and the Tigers might air it out more in 2012.
Either way, camp is over and the question now is who emerged from camp as the Tigers to look for in 2012.

With the caveat that the media -- and the public in general -- did not see much of the work, here's our best guess at how the Tigers will line up, position by position:

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For Zach Mettenberger, finishing second is something he's grown accustomed to.

Frankly, he's tired of it.

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
AP Photo/Butch DillZach Mettenberger is ready to end a season with a national title. The past two teams he played for ended up No. 2.
LSU's quarterback has been on teams that lost in national championship games for two straight years. In January, he watched from the sidelines as Alabama beat his Tigers 21-0 in the BCS national championship game. A season earlier, he was the starting quarterback at Butler Community College when they were defeated by Navarro Junior College, 13-12 for the 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association championship.

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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesQB Zach Mettenberger has LSU fans excited, but he has yet to take a meaningful snap in the SEC.
Even with all the glowing reports about LSU, a favorite to contend for the BCS national championship again, nobody is going to declare the Tigers national champion at the start of August.

While the Tigers indeed appear loaded and ready to make another title run, they aren't without their own set of question marks. Here are the top five that have to be answered.

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GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

Of all the battles LSU dominated en route to one of the remarkable regular seasons in college football history, there was one that stood out against the rest.

On November 5, 2011 kicker Drew Alleman was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals, including a game-winning, 25-yarder in overtime that gave the Tigers a 9-6 win over Alabama in what was LSU's only down-to-the wire regular season game and a game, at the time, that appeared to give the Tigers the inside track to the national championship.

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BATON ROUGE, La. – If you're looking for reasons why LSU could be so dominant last season despite being occasionally anemic on offense, chew on these numbers:

[+] EnlargeRonald Powell
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireLSU's Alfred Blue is looking to make a big impact on special teams in 2012.
LSU was plus-7 yards in net punting (41-34), plus-2 in net kickoffs, kicked 11 more touchbacks than its opponents, had three kick returns for touchdowns to none for its opponents and made 89 percent of its field goals compared to 68 percent by its opponents.

It short, the Tigers absolutely dominated on special teams. If you are around the program, that is no shock, given the emphasis placed on it by Les Miles and his staff. Here are five things to know:

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Five newcomers to watch in 2012 

June, 28, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. – College football, by its nature, is a sport of turnover.

For every Michael Brockers or Morris Claiborne headed to the NFL, there will be a new player getting on the field trying to make an impression.

Here are five new names, players who have yet to touch the field in purple and gold, to know this fall for LSU:

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Top five offseason issues for LSU 

April, 5, 2012
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Tyrann Mathieu Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesLSU in 2012 will lean on Tyrann Mathieu (7) in the secondary, but others need to step up.

It didn't take long for LSU to segue from a disappointing end to a 2011 season to a highly anticipated start of the 2012 season. The day after the Tigers' 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship game, ESPN's Mark Schlabach labeled the Tigers his way-too-early preseason No. 1.

LSU did its part to move the story forward by holding spring football earlier than the rest of the SEC and played its spring game Saturday, earlier than any of its conference rivals. Perhaps LSU is hoping that by playing the spring game early, it would help fans turn the page from dissecting quarterback and offensive failures in the BCS game to focusing on new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the offense in the fall.

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Things seemed to be aligning for a big day for Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense during Saturday's scrimmage at Tiger Stadium.

It was a picture-perfect day for football. The defensive line was, to use Les Miles' favorite phrase, "nicked." And the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, was held out of the secondary because of injury.

Mettenberger and the offense did not disappoint. The Tigers' new starting QB completed 16 of 25 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions in the last scrimmage before the March 31 spring game

"I think we are competing in the passing game very, very well," Miles said after the 100-play scrimmage that was conducted outside of the view of the public and the media. Statistics were provided by Miles. "I think Mettenberger is a leader there. I think he enjoys his role."

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