BATON ROUGE, La. -- Leading up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, we'll take a daily look at a key LSU player and examine how he has done and what his challenges are for the Clemson game.
Vadal Alexander, RT, Freshman
Accomplishments: Few players have had to mature as quickly as Alexander, who took over at right tackle for the season's final eight games as LSU shuffled playes around following a season-ending injury to left tackle Chris Faulk. Alexander, who played in all 12 games, proved a quick study and by season's end had 47.5 knockdown blocks and was on the SEC's All-Freshman team. In the season's last six games, he formed an All-Freshman right side of the offensive line with redshirt freshman Trai Turner and the pair excelled as the Tigers offense improved down the stretch.
Shortcomings: The Tigers had to go through growing pains with Alexander, who will still give you the occasional false start or blown assignment, reminders that while he's a quick study, he's also still a true freshman. He was part of LSU's struggle in the 14-6 loss to Florida. As the season progressed, the issues with youth become less severe.
Against Clemson: The Georgia native will return home and it will be interesting to see what a mini offseason will do for his game. LSU coach Les Miles noted that bowl preparations are almost as long as spring practice, so one might expect Alexander and other young players to enjoy dramatic improvement since the end of the regular season way back in Thanksgiving weekend. Given that it's a homecoming, one might expect an improved, and motivated, Alexander.