LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa foresees a more diversified and vertical offense with starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
LSU’s inability to throw downfield was painfully evident in the BCS Championship Game, when Jordan Jefferson completed 11-of-17 throws for 53 yards.
Studrawa pointed to two completions Mettenberger hit in practice as proof things are different.
“In the past, we check it down, but Zach zipped both of those balls in there over the linebackers. They both caught the thing on the run and both were 60-yard touchdowns,” Studrawa told reporters, referring to catches by Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. “We would have never thrown those balls before.”
Bulking up: Defensive end Sam Montgomery, who had 13.5 tackles for loss last season, added nearly 30 pounds in the offseason and is a chiseled 6-5, 260. Defensive coordinator John Chavis said the added weight has not cost Montgomery any speed.
“Sam hasn’t lost a step and we’re not going to allow that,” Chavis told reporters. “We don’t want him to put on that weight just to be bigger and stronger -- he’s every bit as fast. The one thing we’ve got to make sure of from an endurance standpoint. And there are no signs it’s slowing him down from a conditioning standpoint.”
Arguably, Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are the nation’s top pair of defensive ends.
Learning curve: Penn State transfer Rob Bolden is “still a little bit lost” as the quarterback tries to pick up the offense, Studrawa said. He’s currently behind Mettenberger and redshirt freshman Stephen Rivers.
A junior, Bolden started 16 games for the Nittany Lions but admits he’s facing a steep learning curve.
“I got a playbook, but it’s like learning a foreign language,” he told reporters. “It’s the same concepts we had at Penn State — play action and some of the same plays. But it’s a lot more in depth, and there are a lot of different names for things.”
"Here's how I want to get this to work," coach Les Miles told reporters. "I'd like to start with two guys and keep a third guy fresh for late in the game. Those two guys will be able to do the lion's share of the work, and we'll keep a really quality back to have fresh legs. So I'd like to start with two, but I could end up with four very comfortably."
The foursome ran for 2,338 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, with Ware getting a team-high 177 carries.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Daniel Lewis and Larry Hartstein, follow @CBSSportsSEC.