Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 8/14/12
The focus should be on who they do have rather than who they dont. Sure, the loss of Tyrann Matheiu will leave a hole in the LSU secondary. For all his bluster and Muhammad Ali-level bravado, Matheiu was the best defensive back in college football, and arguably the best overall player in the country. Replacing him will not be as easy as plugging in redshirt freshman Jalen Collins or true freshman Jalen Mills. Opposing offensive coordinators are already developing game plans to test LSUs corners, and special teams coaches are breathing a sigh of relief knowing the Honey Badger wont be fielding kickoffs and punts. But one player does not make or break a championship team. Remember Jordan Jefferson? Prior to opening kickoff last year, LSU was supposedly a contender with him and an also-ran without him. Then came Shadys bar and the parking lot brawl that resulted in Jefferson being sidelined for more than a month. How did the Tigers manage without him? They went undefeated and were the No.1-ranked team in the country with backup Jarrett Lee. Collins probably wont have 54 solo tackles, or five forced fumbles, or return a punt for a touchdown against Arkansas or return another one for a touchdown against Georgia in the SEC Championship game as Mathieu did. But that doesnt mean LSU wont be a great. Sure-handed receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is expected to return kickoffs and punts in the Honey Badgers absence, and defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are expected to be much better this year than last. LSU has arguably the best defensive line in college football, and with quarterback Zach Mettenberger leading the offense, Les Miles hopes that defense doesnt have to spend as much time on the field. But winning isnt always about talent. Expect the rest of the LSU Tigers to rally around their team and their coach; expect them to be inspired that the rules they have lived under and obeyed were applied evenly and fairly, even when it meant dismissing the most talented player on the team and the most talented player in the nation at his position. And expect them to rally because the goal of a national championship was always about the team and never about one individual. For Ty, its an opportunity for him to redirect, Miles said late last week after announcing Matheius removal. Hes still got a bright future. I think he can really accomplish all the goals he set for himself. Its not going to be easy, but its going to be doable. On Tuesday, he reiterated that support in a post-practice media session. I am certainly rooting for Ty and whatever his future is, but Im not focused on that, Miles said. This is a key time in his life. I hope the decisions he makes are in his best interests for the long term. Well help any way we can. That firm but compassionate attitude from the head coach is one of the key reasons that LSU will continue to contend without Matheiu. Inspiration makes up for a lot of ills. And you can expect the LSU Tigers to play some inspired football. The players that are left know they have a lot to prove.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst: NFL Week 2
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michigan is now all-time winningest program in college football history

Wisconsin Badgers serve notice to Michigan State, rest of Big Ten

Ole Miss Rebels throttle Georgia, remain in New Year's Six bowl race

Broncos brass made right decision on parting ways with QB Osweiler

Wideout Dorial Green-Beckham to become more of a target says Eagles

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is the NFL actively creating more opportunities for women in football?

Report claims Vikings teammates "upset" over Peterson surgery decision

Check out these bold predictions for Week 3 in the NFL

Jets wideout Brandon Marshall says Week 3 "not" in the cards for him

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick joins high school team for anthem protest

Dodgers honored Vin Scully tonight, and he wrote a letter to fans

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five MLB pitchers who need to be rescued from their teams

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank among these notable athletes?

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

YB Box Score: 9/23 - Win totals and the jobbing renaissance

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

NFL Kickoff: Week 3 - Pity the perpetually rebuilding Browns

Questions from reviewing the Vegas 2016-17 NBA win totals

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five MLB pitchers who need to be rescued from their teams

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

A statistical trip thru Vin Scully’s extraordinary career

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker