HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – Fresh off a 10-3 season and a loss to Clemson in the Chik-fil-A Bowl, the LSU Tigers are poised to be strong contenders in the SEC West and in the national championship hunt in 2013. Eight starters return to an offense that struggled in 2012.
Of those starters, senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger is the one who will be looked to as the catalyst, the driving force of the Tigers' hopes and aspirations during the upcoming season.
"Our quarterback, Mettenberger, threw for 2,600 yards a year ago and 12 touchdowns. We expect that quarterback play will be much better," head coach Les Miles said of his signal caller. "Certainly the experience and the want that he has, has helped in leadership, the commitment of a summer program, has all been seen."
Mettenberger has the opportunity to lead an LSU offense that returns its top two running backs as well as its top four receivers from 2012. Sophomore running back Jeremy Hill, who lead the Tigers with 755 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 2012, has been involved in legal issues during the offseason. Miles took time to address his standing on the team on Thursday morning.
"Jeremy Hill has a legal entanglement. At this point in time he remains indefinitely suspended. I have a track record with really disciplining my team," Miles explained, "We go through the same process that all of my guys will go through. Frankly, you know, we're gathering information as we go. So he's been separated from his team and teammates for the summer."
The LSU offense will have to adjust to a new person calling the shots this season. Les Miles hired former Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron for the same role, and Miles is confident about his ability to be successful in Baton Rouge.
"Offensively, Cam Cameron will come in. Knowing him as a mentor to quarterback play, knowing him as a quality man and friend, knowing what he'll really do for us in a play-calling position. We're looking forward to this offense," he said of Cameron. "We feel like we'll have an opportunity to be very dominant there. Certainly they're playing much more confidently."
Miles, as is usually the case when he makes an appearance at SEC Media Days, provided plenty of laughs during his time holding court with reporters on Thursday morning. He discussed what he's done during the offseason, but he was quick to note that he's ready to get back to football.
"I repelled down a building. I don't know that that was all it was cracked up to be. It was tall. It was up there. I spent hours at kids' games," he explained. "My son, the eldest, is baseball. He's currently in Pensacola. I told him to come over for it. He said, ‘No.' Baseball. I went to Elite 11 as a father, got in the 'dad line,' watched my eldest son compete in a camp in Columbus, Ohio.
"I watched countless baseball games with Ben and Manny, my eldest daughter, who is a swimmer, is home for the summer. We have certainly enjoyed that family peace. . . . So summer went fast. I had no vacation. But I'm looking forward to football, in case you wondered."
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