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An Early Look At: Southeastern Louisiana (Part 2 of 3)

Sorry for the delay, I'm trying to teach you all patience. I am concerned solely with your future well being, hopefully this tried and true lesson in patience will benefit you in the future. Enough of the BS, let's move on to the Lions' offense.

RETURNING STARTERS

RB's Jay Lucas and Mario Gilbert: These two runningbacks are nearly identical in size, both standing at 5'11" with Lucas weighing in at 232 and Gilbert at 223, and both ran for 5.1 yards a carry last season. The duplicity desrves brownie points, but wins will be hard to come by without much of a throwing game. The Lions were already led by their ground attack with a senior quarterback, a brand new quarterback can only force the offensive coordinator to fall more in love with running the ball. While I agree with putting the ball in your best players' hands, a one-sided, less talented team will nearly always lose to a more talented, two-sided team. And while our offense will struggle as it tries to find its quarterback and runningback, we have decent options at both positions which is more than what the Lions can say. Lucas, a transfer from Texas A&M after his freshman season, is the true starter and received nearly twice as many carries and is also the red zone back of sorts, scoring 6 TD's to Gilbert's only 2.

WR Crawford Kilpatrick and WR Merrick Lanaux: While they will will have a new quarterback taking over the reins of the offense they bring back his two biggest weapons in Kilpatrick and Lanaux. Crawford and Merrick, who could very well form the best duo of names in the history of wide receiver corps, both had solid seasons, especially the freshman Kilpatrick who caught 47 passes for 391 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading his team in all 3 categories. Lanaux was equally dangerous in the red zone, also catching 3 touchdowns but was less of a factor overall with only 28 catches. He is more of a deep threat, averaging an entire 3 yards per catch more than Kilpatrick. These two will be keys to their success in the passing game all season long, but will be shut down by the improved Kansas secondary. Talib's assignment, most likely Kilpatrick, will be held to a catch or two and while Lanaux will get open more than a couple of times, the time in the pocket will be non-existent and won't catch more than a couple.

TE Josh Wilson: I am starting to think that besides the starting quarterback, their entire offense is returning. This is good news for Lions fans, they are a team on the rise which is always promising after going 2-9 in a year. Wilson is not a receiving threat, and blocking skills are hard to convey through statistical information. He averaged a hair over a catch a game (12 catches in 11 games) and caught a single TD pass, no doubt the highlight of his soon-to-be long and illustrious career. Or short and illustrious, with the odds-on favorite being the ladder.

Ugh. I hate looking into these teams' offesnive lines, it is next-to-impossible to figure out who the starters were last season and even harder to figure out how each played. Seriously. Yet, after all of that I have struck gold. Scroll down to the game's starters, and there they are. The big guys who play in the trenches, not in the box scores. The guys who are compared merely through different people's opinions, outside of the elite few agree on who is better than who. The most unheralded stars in all of sport, they are rarely highlighted despite being most responsible for....highlights. With that kind of introduction, I am turning them into Garrett Anderson. So underrated, they will soon be widely acknowledged as the 5 most important people on the football field, making them overrated. You know, if I had that kind of power. Anyways, here are the returning starters on the offensive line, the most underrated pl (I've gotta stop myself):

LT Johnny Flowers, LG Brad Bardy, RG Earl Cager and RT Montrell Neal: Four returning starters out of five is an impressive ratio, of course the one member they are losing (Donald Usury) was a 3.5 year starter and the leader of the line as a center. This line is probably the biggest reason for Lucas' and Gilbert's impressive statistical output last year. It will also probably be the way they stay in the game, having a brand spankin' new quarterback will likely require more time in the pocket than normal, something that will be difficult against a BCS conference team, like Kansas. Still, a veteran line like the Lions' figures to keep in the game as long as they possibly can.

INCOMING STARTERS

The Lions are definately a young, up-and-coming team returning 9 of 11 starters on the offensive end. However, those two starters (C and QB) are the two leaders of the offense likely leading to botched play calls early on in the season.

Quarterback: There are a couple of in-house options, namely Bradd Schossler, who threw the ball 162 times last season just a hair under Seth Babin's total of 225 passes. OK, so it was a long hair. Still, Schossler is just a sophomore and has plenty of room to grow, although the starting job isn't necessarily his. Brian Babin, Seth's brother, is also a candidate despite receiving much less playing time last season. He is a junior, having a year on Schossler despite only throwing the ball 2 times last season, completing both passes. For a combined 1 yard. I'm not quite sure how that is possible, there is obviously a negative somewhere in there, but it happened and if you trasnlate that to, say, 200 passes he would be a perfect 200 for 200. For 100 yards. I know, I know, I should be a math major. In the end, I think that Bradd "Two D" Schossler should claim the job and be the leader of the Lions' offense in Memorial Stadium on September the 8th, but his performance in such a high-intensity game (for him) is yet to be seen.

Center: While the quarterback position appears to be all-but-solved, center is a harder position to replace. Your guess is as good as mine, but I will give the edge to Chad Tedder, he played center at Holmes Community College before coming to Southeastern and is going to be a senior. He is my pick.

Again, I'm sorry for gettting this to you so late.

ROCK CHALK!