Tigers want to put title game memory behind them

The Sports Xchange
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LSU's spring practice was all about taking the first steps toward finishing the job that the Tigers failed to finish in January.

After setting a school record by going 13-0 in the regular season, winning the SEC championship, and being ranked No. 1 most of the season, LSU came up short of its ultimate goal when it lost to Alabama, 21-0, in the BCS Championship Game.

The Tigers have enough key starters returning, enough quality depth, and enough talented newcomers to expect to make another run at the BCS title -- and perhaps win it if they get another crack at it.

"Anytime you end a season when you didn't finish the last game the way you liked, frankly you look forward to getting that feeling behind you," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "So, the next time that you take the field, it's as good a feeling for you as there is."

The quarterback position is a lot less complicated than it was last season when Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee shared the position. The job clearly belongs to junior Zach Mettenberger, who started his career at Georgia.

"Zach just needs reps," Miles said. "He has command of the huddle and it appears that he has anticipation as to where the ball is going. He's throwing it pretty well."

Mettenberger appears to be a more efficient passer than both Jefferson and Lee, and he'll have a similar supporting cast to what they had -- a strong, experienced offensive line, a deep stable of running backs and a talented though relatively inexperienced group of receivers.

LSU's defense has to replace five starters in cornerback Morris Claiborne, safety Brandon Taylor, linebackers Ryan Baker and Stefan Francois and defensive tackle Michael Brockers. The Tigers' depth has left them with multiple experienced players competing on the line and in the secondary, though the linebackers will lean on younger players.

The special teams are in good shape with outstanding kickers returning in place-kicker Drew Alleman and punter Brad Wing. Tyrann Mathieu will return punts again and wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will compete to replace Claiborne as the primary kickoff returner.

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