30 days, 30 topics inside the world of LSU football.
TSD is previewing and analyzing the 2014 edition of the Tigers from every angle, bringing you a daily dose of "Summer Session" each weekday through July 11, three days before the unofficial kickoff to football season at SEC Media Days.
TODAY'S SESSION: BEST OPPOSING QBs
It's a bit of a different story heading into the 2014 campaign and trying to forecast the best signal callers the Tigers will encounter. Yes, there's still some expected talent John Chavis' troops will tangle with, but a lot of the name-brand, experienced QBs are gone from the mix, providing additional optimism for LSU's – and every other team in the SEC's – defense.
When putting together my top five opposing quarterbacks for LSU this fall, the first two or three jumped off the page and were fairly obvious. Who fell next, however, became pretty tricky. There are position battles aplenty under center for a whole lot of the Tigers' foes (and, of course, for the Tigers themselves).
So here, in one man's view, are the five best QBs LSU will face.
- Call him a system quarterback or a scheme quarterback or whatever you want, just make sure to call him the most dangerous person playing the position in the conference. Because that's what Marhsall is. Pulling the strings on Gus Malzahn's offense in 2013, Marshall went for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns (against six interceptions) through the air while decimating defenses on the ground for 1,068 yards (6.2 ypc) and 12 touchdowns. Even without Tre Mason, Marshall will have a stable of talented backs to engage in Malzahn's unique ground-game attack. LSU's athletic defense usually tends to match up fairly well with these types, but he'll be the biggest handful to game-plan for in 2014, particularly with the game being played on the Plains.
- A name Louisiana high school football fans know very well, Prescott has emerged as one of the SEC's leading QBs in a transitional year at the position for the league. The Haughton native, like Marshall above, was a dual-threat headache for defenses a season ago. Starting seven games Prescott totaled 1,940 yards and 10 touchdowns (against seven interceptions) passing to go with 829 yards (6.2 ypc) and 13 touchdowns rushing. Against LSU Prescott came off the bench to tally 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He's back for his junior campaign, when he'll be the no-doubt starter for a Bulldog offense that figures to be improved. Prescott is also a pretty durable cat at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds.
- The man just keeps on coming back and airing it out for the Rebels. It's weird, Wallace has only been at Ole Miss for two seasons after transferring in from East Mississippi Community College, but I feel like I've been watching him by the Grove since Dexter McCluster was there. Wallace has tossed 40 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions over his two years, making him a different type of weapon than the previous two guys – but also one more predisposed to give the ball away. Still, LSU fans know what he's capable of as Wallace torched Tigers for 346 yards on 30-of-39 passing in 2013. With the weapons he has returning around him, Wallace will again test LSU's defense, particularly the secondary.
4. Whoever wins the Texas A&M job
- My gut tells me it will be true freshman Kyle Allen, who was on campus as an early enrollee this spring, but I'm not sure it matters if it ends up being sophomore Kenny Hill. The point is that offense is so high-octane, and both combatants for the starting job project to be good enough, that either will give opposing defenses fits. If Allen wins the gig, though, it will signal a move to a little less dual-threat action at the position, instead opting for more of a downfield passing attack. Given all the elite receivers roaming College Station these days, that makes Allen, or even Hill, a dangerous man in 2014. I'm thinking the Aggies' offense will hum along nicely, although obviously not to quite the same level as Johnny Manziel had it rolling.
5. Joel Stave, Wisconsin
- He technically isn't the opening-day starter yet, in the midst of a battle with several players – most notably Tanner McEvoy, but I'll give Stave the nod at No. 5. It's a bit of a tip of the cap to his body of work in 2013, but, to be honest, it's also indicative of the fact LSU won't face a depth of top-flight quarterbacks this season. Rather than speculate about Alabama's race (Blake Sims vs. Jacob Coker) or take a flier on Kentucky's Patrick Towles, it seems simplest to go with a guy who threw for 2,494 yards and 22 touchdowns (against 13 interceptions) last fall. The only real strike against Stave: he injured his throwing shoulder – AC joint – in the Capital One Bowl, causing him to miss out on the Badgers' spring game. He's expected to be back for Fall Camp and the opener versus LSU in Houston.