Edwards Looks For Breakout Season
by Joey Papania
Perhaps one of the biggest knocks against the 2000 LSU football team is the lack of depth. While the Tigers possess a number of young talented players at key positions, the fact remains that head coach Nick Saban and staff have not been graced with a deep football team. That is, with the exception of the tight end position.
The one position that the LSU football team need not concern themselves with is the tight end. Not only are the Tigers deep, but they are very talented. And redshirt freshman Eric Edwards could play a vital role in the upcoming season.
The Monroe, La. native is what many would refer to as a prototypical tight end. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 248 pounds. In high school he was named a Parade Magazine All American and was a two-time Class 2A All-State selection. In 1998, he was named the Gatorade Player of the year in the state of Louisiana.
When it came time to choose a college, there was no doubt in Edwards’ mind that he would one day wear purple and gold. But his arrival at LSU in 1999 was under the recruitment of former Tiger coach Gerry Dinardo and his staff.
“It’s a lot different,” Edwards said. “The new staff is great. The coaches just seem to have a great attitude, and that makes the team’s attitude that much better. We really enjoy playing for them. I miss the old staff, they were good coaches. Then the new staff came in, and now I’m just real excited.”
The tight end position is deep with talent this year. Robert Royal returns for his senior season and Joe Domingeaux is back for his third season this year. Despite being moved to defensive end in the spring, junior Kyle Kipps has continued to work with the tight ends in fall practice. And sophomore Solomon Lee could see playing time this season after recovering from off-season knee surgery.
Edwards had an outstanding spring. In the Tigers’ Spring Game on April 29, Edwards quickly became a favorite target of Tiger quarterback Josh Booty. He led all Tiger receivers with seven receptions and 111 yards receiving.
Offensive Coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, stated that he intends to open up the offense more this year. At LSU Media Day, Fisher eluded to the fact that fans could see some two tight end and perhaps even three tight end sets in short yardage and goal line situations.
“I think we’ll have a very good offense,” said Edwards. “We’ve worked on the run game and the pass game, so it will be a complete offense. The team chemistry is good. We already seem to be working together like a team.”
The Tigers have just a hand full of practices left before the first game of the 2000 season. Perhaps the Tigers can better utilize a core of talented tight ends that accounted for only 32 of the 200 receptions last season.
The LSU football program is no stranger to big, talented tight ends. Former All-American David LaFleur and Harold Bishop have both found a home in the NFL. Perhaps Edwards can follow the recent trend of great tight ends at LSU.