LSU coach Nick Saban didn't spend the spring talking about national championships -- last year's title or this year's chase. Instead, he treated the spring as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the Tigers needed to take seriously.
"This is the first chance this team -- this team right here, our team -- has, in front of anybody, to establish an identity," Saban said before the spring game.
The Tigers responded with a strong performance, but Saban will be the first to admit this year's team still has a lot of questions, especially with the loss of 10 starters, including seven who were selected in the NFL draft.
Some of the biggest questions surround the quarterback position, where Matt Mauck passed up his senior season to enter the NFL draft. None of the three contenders -- senior Marcus Randall or redshirt freshmen Jamarcus Russell and Matt Flynn -- did anything to secure the starting job, but Randall is the only one with any college game experience, having started six games in 2002 when Mauck suffered a foot injury. He showed the best grasp of the offense this spring.
"Marcus Randall's team functioned with the least amount of chaos," Saban said after the spring game. "He did a pretty decent job of managing what he needed to do to move his team. He did a good job."
As for Russell and Flynn, it's not enough to show flashes of potential.
"The game management part of it for the young quarterbacks was not what we want to see," Saban said.
"I saw some talent and ability in terms of them throwing the ball and all that. But I also saw some miscommunication on snap counts, things like that you have to eliminate before you're going to give yourself a chance to be successful and help your team win."
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