Every college and pro team needs those veterans to not only show the younger, inexperienced players how to learn and grow on the field, but who can be reliable as well.
This offseason, a lot has been harped on the talent LSU must replace and it’s a valid concern. But there are veteran players on this roster that have been to the top of the mountain and know what it takes to have success.
Seniors like safety JaCoby Stevens, defensive end Glen Logan and offensive tackle Austin Deculus are just a few. But what about the veterans with not a ton of playing time that will be asked to step into crucial roles in 2020?
On Saturday we wrote about three incoming freshmen that are stocked full of potential and could push for starting positions in 2020.
We’ll be looking at the opposite end of the spectrum on Sunday, as we take a look at three seniors who have all contributed to LSU’s past success but will be asked to step up even more this season.
Kary Vincent (Safety)
Vincent was LSU's starting nickel back in 2019, appearing in all 15 games for the Tigers and starting in nine of those appearances. As a junior, Vincent received a bit of a bad rap for some inconsistency in the slot.
While some of those concerns were valid, Vincent seemed to shine brightest on the biggest stages, particularly in the blowout win over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.
Known as one of the fastest players on the roster as he also stars on the track and field team for the Tigers, Vincent will have a much bigger role to play in 2020. Stevens and Derek Stingley will continue to anchor the safety and cornerback positions but don't forget the Tigers are also getting junior Todd Harris back from injury to play deep safety.
Having Vincent be a reliable source in the slot will give Bo Pelini and Corey Raymond the freedom to use Stevens close to the line of scrimmage but also utilize Stingley in a more diverse way as well. Coach Ed Orgeron has already said he'd like to see Stingley blitz a little more and roam free in 2020.
"I think this year you're not going to see us just use Derek in man free coverage, I think you're going to see him blitzing, I think you're going to see him use his talents in some places where we need him on defense," Orgeron said. "I think Bo's going to mix it up where he's going to have our corners doing different things."
That can only happen if everybody in the secondary is on the same page, which means Vincent will need to be a solid safety net in those kinds of free range and blitzing situations.
Andre Anthony (Outside Linebacker)
Anthony is one of the more interesting wild cards of 2020 as he has the physical tools to be a force on the outside but just hasn't been as productive on the field as he or the program probably would've liked. Over the last two years he's appeared in 22 games and recorded 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
That all has a chance to change in 2020 as a senior. Orgeron has mentioned Anthony's name multiple times as someone who's not only competing for a starting spot, but thriving as a team leader as well.
He also thinks the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 will really help Anthony contribute more consistently for the Tigers this season.
"I think the 4-3 fits him better than the 3-4. Now he's got his hand on the ground and he's smart and aggressive," Orgeron said. "He gets off the ball. He's one of the guys during this pandemic that's been having some tremendous workouts, sends his tape back. Been a leader for us. He's kind of refueled by the 4-3. "
He'll be competing with TK McLendon and Ali Gaye for the starting left defensive end spot when the Tigers officially start practice.
Neil Farrell (Defensive Tackle)
Farrell kind of sneakily flew under the radar in 2019 for the Tigers as he did his job by setting the edge outside with 46 tackles, seven for a loss and three sacks. He appeared in all 15 games, making four starts and while he never received much of the attention, proved to be one of the more consistent pieces up front for LSU.
While most players went back home once spring practice was shut down and the quarantine was implemented, Farrell found ways to stay busy in Baton Rouge.
The 6-foot-4, 298-pound Mobile native will be vying for the defensive tackle spot along with fellow senior Glen Logan and incoming freshmen Jaquelin Roy and Eric Taylor in 2020. With LSU nearly four deep at every position on the defensive line, Farrell's versatility as either a tackle or defensive end should help him see plenty of time on the field.