LSU free safety LaRon Landry has wrestled the ball away from many a
receiver in his playing days. Last spring, the first team All-Southeastern
Conference selection wrestled with perhaps the biggest decision of his

“I knew the whole time what I wanted to do, what I had in my heart, and where I wanted to be,” Landry said. “I just wanted to take the time, don’t overwhelm myself and make the right decision. It wasn’t hard at all. I always had in my heart that I wanted to come back. I had some things at LSU that I wanted to finish off my senior year.”

Landry’s decision was welcome news to head coach Les Miles. In light of the Tigers tumultuous 2005 season that made the Baton Rouge campus a shelter for Hurricane Katrina refuges- it’s obvious that Miles sees Landry’s option to stay as a tremendous example of leadership both on and off of the football team.

“LaRon Landry, our veteran free safety, All-American candidate, is a guy that made a decision to postpone wealth and the NFL and chose to return to school, to come back and play with his team and be around is schoolmates. When you get him in this room, please welcome him.”

He could easily have secured the riches the league offers. Landry was sixth in the conference in tackles last season with 92. He has already amassed 241 stops in his three years at LSU. Landry has been recognized his entire career earning Freshman All-American and recently first team All-Southeastern Conference by anybody who has taken the time to name a team.

“It’s a feeling that I had. I just didn’t leave it all on the field the way I wanted to,” Landry stated. “Hopefully, I can come back for my senior year and give it all. If I don’t worry about injury or nothing like that and give it my all, and I’m really not worried about all of that, I can say that I came back and made a difference.”

Matt Deville, publisher of Tiger Rag took the time to give us a quick overview on his LSU perspective…

Obviously, you are more keenly aware of the overall depth chart and any moves that the staff might make- based on that understanding what should be the Tigers strengths and weaknesses?

“The strengths of the team are no doubt are a very deep, experienced cast of players at running back, wide receiver and in the secondary. JaMarcus Russell is a talented quarterback and is 14-2 as a starter. While lots of people are talking controversy, the coaching staff is playing up the quarterback situation as a positive with healthy competition at the position.

Losing three starters on both the offensive and defensive lines will be tough to overcome, considering the personnel they replace. Will Arnold is a preseason All-American on the offensive line and even though the coaching staff is boasting lots of depth and experience along the offensive front, the line will be almost completely re-tooled.

On the defensive front, LSU must replace two all-SEC performers in Claude Writen and Kyle Williams, but Glenn Dorsey is expected to shine in his role as the Tigers big stopper on the defensive line.

Injuries. The Tigers get several key players back from significant injuries including Russell, running backs Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent.”

In your opinion, who will provide the surprise for LSU? This can be a unit, player, position, or all of the above.

“Dorsey has waited for his turn to shine and the junior is now poised to be the Tigers’ next star defensive lineman. With Skyler Green, Bennie Brazell and now Xavier Carter gone, Brandon LaFell is going to raise eyebrows as the Tigers’ fourth wide receiver.

Everyone knows about Ali Highsmith, but watch for linebackers Darry Beckwith and true freshman Jacob Cutrera to make an impact. Green was one of the most prolific return specialists in LSU history, but look for pint-sized Trindon Holliday to step in an provide some fireworks on special teams.”

Projected record: 10-2, 8-0 at home, 2-2 on the road with losses at Auburn and Florida.


Respect for AU linebacker Herring looms large

Auburn linebacker Will Herring was named first team All-Southeastern Conference based on his outstanding play at safety and potential. The Opelika, Alabama native’s reaction was one of surprise. It is especially surprising considering the Tigers have a new defensive coordinator in Will Muschamp, a new linebacker coach in former star James Willis, and only one returning starter on the defensive front.

It’s obvious that Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville looks at Herring as an extension of the coaching staff- who still has eligibility. Tuberville said that the move will be good for Herring’s future and should serve to give the Tigers an experienced and football savvy presence in the middle of the field. Herring should actually make the players around him better.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Herring humbly said. “I’ve yet to play a game at linebacker. I’ve got to focus on getting my game where it needs to be and do whatever it takes to win ball games.”

Herring led the Tigers with 69 tackles and was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week following the Mississippi State game capped by his fumble recovery in the end zone for an Auburn touchdown. Standing 6-3 221 Herring was a formidable force in a solid Tigers defensive unit. Following the season, Herring was named second team All-SEC in both the Coaches and Associated Press polls.

“I made the switch,” Herring said. “Whatever is best for the team. I felt more comfortable throughout the spring. Hopefully, I’ll feel secure during two-a-days, and pick up where I left off.”

Herring said that he believes it is as good a time as any to make the switch. He has had four months to learn the position- all from the perspective of the Muschamp and Willis. He said that he believes it is to his benefit that he is making the move this year with the new staff, as the other linebackers are also having to make changes. It puts him on a more level playing field.

“Coach (James) Willis is an unbelievable coach,” he said. “He’s been through what we’ve been through. We lost a great linebacker coach in Coach Whitt, but we’re fortunate to have him.”

You don’t have to look far for the heart and soul of the Auburn defense- Will Herring is ready to makes plays from sideline to sideline.

Best Quote by an Auburn player…

“You love having all the big games at home. We have the best fans in the country and we are going to be 88,000 strong. It is a huge advantage to have games like LSU and Florida in your backyard and having the fans on your side.” wide receiver Courtney Taylor

I asked columnist Jason Caldwell of to provide us with his perspectives about the Auburn Tigers…

Obviously, you are more keenly aware of the overall depth chart and any moves that the staff might make- based on that understanding what should be the Tigers strengths and weaknesses?

“I think the strength of the team this year should be in the middle of the offense with returning starters Tim Duckworth, Ben Grubbs and Joe Cope at center as well as Brandon Cox and Kenny Irons back in the backfield. Another strength is at the cornerback position where David Irons and Jonathan Wilhite should be among the best in the SEC this season. Weaknesses are at wide receiver where three 1,000 guys are gone from last year’s team. Courtney Taylor is back and they’re counting on several young guys to help. Among them are talented freshman Tim Hawthorne. He should be a player that can help right away.”

In your opinion, who will provide the surprise for Auburn? This can be a unit, player, position, or all of the above.

“A surprise this season could be Auburn’s group of tight ends. Normally a position that gets overlooked, Auburn has talent there with senior Cole Bennett and redshirt freshmen Tommy Trott and Gabe McKenzie both capable. Trott could be the SEC Rookie of the Year because he’s going to be used in a lot of different ways.”