Youth will be served in 2013 for the LSU Tigers.
After losing eight defensive players to the 2013 NFL draft, the Tigers are plugging positions with true freshmen, talented ones at that.
But that's not the only obstacle standing in the way of the Tigers' fourth national championship. No sir, the Tigers must overcome offseason injuries, valuable losses in personnel and a daunting schedule to win the crystal ball.
Will the talented youngsters bring LSU good fortune in 2013? Here is a full preview of LSU's upcoming season.
On August 31, Gainesville will once again be enamored with the sights and sounds of Gator football. Following a breakthrough 2012 season, Gator Nation has reason to be optimistic that head coach Will Muschamp can lead Florida back into the national title conversation.
Led by junior quarterback Jeff Driskel and do-it-all cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida hopes to raise the crystal football for the fourth time in program history.
But with plenty of storylines, big plays and rivalry games in store, the Gators will deliver plenty of excitement, no matter the outcome.
With the 2013 season less than two weeks away, one of the season’s dominant themes will surround Alabama’s quest to three-peat.
Alabama returns 13 starters off last season’s squad, with several All-American candidates on both sides of the ball.
On offense, quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon, receiver Amari Cooper and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio rate among the best in the nation at their respective positions.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix lead the way for a defense with seven starters back from a unit that led the nation in total defense last season.
What can Tide fans look forward to from the 2013 edition of the Crimson Tide?
Arkansas fans are ready and willing to put a disappointing 2012 behind them as the 2013 season is just weeks away. They can't wait to pile into Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and watch their Razorbacks take on Louisiana-Lafayette on Aug. 31.
There's a new coach in town named Bret Bielema, and there's hope for better days ahead. That's what the Arkansas programs will emphasize at the stadium.
But what if you could pick up a program early? What might it say about about new quarterback Brandon Allen or defensive ends Chris Smith and Trey Flowers?
Well, here's an advance copy of what such a program might say.
Newly-minted Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has a unique issue in the form of three starting-caliber running backs. For his up-tempo offense to bringing 10-win success back to Austin, he needs to figure out how to formulate a rotation that keeps each back involved.
Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron are three talented runners with three different styles. Gray is the smallest of the bunch, with the quickest feet and best vision on the team. Bergeron is a textbook short-yardage back, and Brown a pleasant medium between the two.
While different, the three also have a lot in common. Each has multiple 100-yard games under their belt, has significant starting experience and is capable of ripping off big gains. Most importantly, all three can finish a drive as well as they can start it.
This is why it is so important Applewhite gives each the ball frequently in his offense. While each runner attacks the defense in different ways, there is no need to substitute any of them multiple times in a drive—which is valuable when you are trying to operate at a break-neck pace.
But a rotation needs to be defined, both to keep them healthy and to take advantage of their talent to the fullest extent. Herein lies the problem, as there are only a certain number of carries to go around with specialists like Daje Johnson certain to cut into the final figure.
Unfortunately, the 'Horns have not had a great track record with divvying up the load. The Texas game plan always seemed to leave one out of the equation in 2012, playing seven games where at least one got five carries or less.
Health and Bryan Harsin's offense both played a part in this issue for much of the season, but Applewhite did display the same unsettling proclivity. Brown and Bergeron combined for nine carries in their new coordinator's Alamo Bowl debut, even though the game was practically played in the Brown's home town.
There is simply no reason or excuse to waste talent like this. Running an offense similar to Applewhite's, the 2005 Longhorns were able to give three running backs—Jamaal Charles, Ramonce Taylor and Henry Melton—75 carries or more on the year. And that was with Vince Young rushing it 155 times, a figure David Ash will not even come close to in 2013.
That same level of equitable sharing is easily doable. Texas ran the ball about 56 percent of the time in 2012, so if the offense maintains that ratio while running the stated goal of 80 plays per game, then there will be just over 45 carries per game to be divided out.
Gray will get the largest share of the pie because of how well he fits the scheme and his overall talent. He should expect 15 carries per game, with Brown and Bergeron combining for another 15-20 between them. That provides each back just under 100 carries on the year and leaves another 10-15 rushes per night for David Ash and the specialists.
While that figure is purely speculative and ignores the potential for injury, it proves the three-back time share is both doable and reasonable. It also takes full advantage of the players at Applewhite's disposal, essential for a program that has taken heat for its inability to maximize talent.
The point is that when all three are healthy and ready to go, they need to be on the field. Especially with an inexperienced receiving corps and a quarterback prone to some inconsistency.
If Applewhite can do that in an effective manner, these backs have the talent to combine for one of the most lethal rushing attacks in the country.
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Every team needs a strong recruiting class, as stocking talent on an annual basis is a major component for success in college football. However, depending on the situation, several programs may face more pressure than others in a given recruiting cycle.
Some programs have coaches who are coaching and recruiting for their jobs in 2013. Others are coming off solid seasons and need to strike while the iron is hot. And there are always programs who need a strong class because their previous one was, well, weak.
A pair of programs who are moving to new conferences must continue adding good talent to be well prepared for their transitions. It is time for another program that changed conferences last year to begin to consistently land higher-quality talent. Also, another program saw its rival have a breakthrough class in 2013, so it must respond strongly in 2014.