This spring when junior defensive tackle Chuck Wiley dubbed the
Tigers' front four the Four Horsemen, he was not paying homage
to Notre Dame's legendary backfield, whom he had never heard of,
but to a tag-team quartet of professional wrestlers--led by
Wiley's favorite grappler, Ric (the Nature Boy) Flair--who also
use that nickname.
"Yeah, I guess you could say we're real big wrestling fans,"
says Wiley, speaking for himself and his linemates. "We watch
the Nature Boy a lot. He's not the biggest guy in the ring, but
he's in control. Everyone is intimidated by him. The Nature Boy
is the man."
The 6'4", 274-pound Wiley is the man for the Tigers this season.
With the loss of ends Gabe Northern and James Gillyard, who
combined for 15 sacks last year, Wiley will be the leader of a
defense that ranked sixth in the country in points allowed (14.5
per game) last fall. "You can't say we'll sack the quarterback
as often with our defensive ends when we've lost guys like
Northern and Gillyard," says coach Gerry DiNardo. "But we'll
find another way."
That other way involves Wiley, a second-team All-SEC pick (seven
sacks last season), and right tackle Anthony McFarland, an SEC
freshman defensive player of the year in '95. The other two
Horsemen are junior Kenny Mixon and sophomore Arnold Miller, who
combined for 25 tackles and three sacks last season. Senior
linebacker Allen Stansberry, the team's leading tackler last
fall, will be cleaning up behind the Horsemen.
August 25, 1996
On offense LSU has eight starters back, including a pair of
stellar sophomores: quarterback Herb Tyler and tailback Kevin
Faulk. Tyler was 4-0 in games he started in '95, including a
45-26 win over Michigan State in the Independence Bowl, which
topped a 7-4-1 season. Faulk, the SEC offensive freshman of the
year, rushed for 852 yards in the regular season, then shredded
the Spartans for 234 yards on 25 carries.
"Our attitude is, we want to go after everyone, even the big
dogs," says Wiley, as if hyping a caged death match. LSU should
contend seriously for a spot in the SEC Championship Game, and
for the first time in a decade the Tigers may be the big dogs.