LSU has high goals, despite loss of Mathieu

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The "Honey Badger" won't be playing for LSU this season and the Tigers do indeed care.

Still, they remain confident they will overcome the recent dismissal of All-America cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, Coach Les Miles says there's a limitation to the loses LSU can sustain, but that the program has a strong foundation and depth, allowing reserves to emerge as top players in their own right when starters are lost.

The most important change for the Tigers this season might be the emergence of new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Coaches say he'll complement a potent running game with an exceptional ability to throw downfield.

The Tigers also have many stars returning on defense, including defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. LSU opens Sept. 1 at home against North Texas.