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Despite the loss of 11 starters and seven players to the NFL Draft, second-year coach Les Miles is convinced the Tigers have everything they need to contend for championships in 2006.

After the Tigers went 11-2, won the SEC West and finished fifth in the final rankings last year, Miles has a better feel for his team, the expectations and the SEC. So it's meaningful when he says, "I feel like we can be the kind of team we're used to having at LSU."

The Tigers have a lot of work to do make that happen, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. The Tigers must return three starters from the offensive line and three more starters from the defensive line.

For all the necessary attention that must be paid to those areas, the spotlight continues to fall on the quarterback. Shoulder and wrist injuries kept starter JaMarcus Russell out of spring practice and allowed Matt Flynn to build on his MVP performance in the Peach Bowl win over Miami.

Russell's absence also allowed redshirt freshman Ryan Perrilloux, one of the nation's top prospects in the 2005 recruiting class, more practice time to compete for the starting job.

Still, the Tigers won 10 games in 2005 with Russell as the starter and he enters the preseason as the starter, so Flynn and Perriloux will have to find a way to beat him out for the job.

"What Matt Flynn has proven with how he's played in the bowl game and through the spring, and with Ryan Perrilloux and his ability, I just see the competition benefiting us," Miles said. "I'll be the first one to tell you that maybe we'll look at the guy who won 10 games a year ago first, but we feel very confident that there's some other quality quarterbacks at that position who can play and deserve to play."


--LSU led the SEC with seven players selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. RB Joseph Addai went to Indianapolis in the first round; offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round; DT Claude Wroten went to St. Louis in the third round; WR-PR Skyler Green went to Dallas in the fourth round; DT Kyle Williams went to Buffalo in the fifth round; WR Bennie Brazell went to Cincinnati in the seventh round and DE Melvin Oliver went to San Francisco in the seventh round.

--Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar accepted a similar position with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, so coach Les Miles replaced him with Earl Lane, who spent the past 10 seasons at South Florida.

2007 DRAFT PROSPECTS: FS LaRon Landry -- He almost entered the draft after his junior season, but his return gives him a shot to be the first free safety selected in the draft. Landry was named to the Blue Ribbon preseason All-America first team.

SS Jessie Daniels -- He won't be drafted as high as Landry but a strong senior season could put him in the top 10 among all safeties.

RB Justin Vincent -- He must prove he can stay healthy and productive over the course of the season.

WR Dewayne Bowe -- He must prove he can hold on to the ball consistently to move in to the top 10 among receivers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think there's any question. I don't think I got into my house until early June. It's just getting comfortable with the surroundings of your community, getting to know the players. It only gets better with time." -- Coach Les Miles, reflecting on being more comfortable with his job in his second year at LSU.



DTs Glen Dorsey and Charles Alexander -- They made the most of their opportunities provided by the departure of starters Claude Wroten and Kyle Williams with their play in the spring. "Glen Dorsey stepped up," LSU coach Les Miles said. "He's going to be a great leader and a tremendous player for us inside."

QBs Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux -- With starter JaMarcus Russell sidelined by injuries Flynn and Perrilloux looked like legitimate contenders for his job.

TB-FB Jacob Hester -- With Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent out for the spring with injuries Hester showed he can do more than block, improving his stock as a runner and receiver.

ROSTER REPORT: QB JaMarcus Russell (shoulder and wrist) wasn't the only prominent player who missed the spring due to an injury. Senior safeties LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels also sat out the spring recuperating from injuries and running backs Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent spent their spring rehabbing from knee injuries.

Previous Report: 06/13/2006




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