HOOVER, Ala. -- LSU football players won national championships last season.
But not in football.
Tailback Trindon Holliday won the 100-meter dash at the NCAA outdoor track and field meet, and safety Chad Jones and wide receiver Jared Mitchell were major contributors on the Tigers' championship baseball team.
Spring went significantly better than last fall for one of the Southeastern Conference's most widely successful athletic departments. An 8-5 season -- including a 1-3 stretch in November -- didn't sit well on the Bayou after Coach Les Miles' first three years, which all finished with at least 11 wins.
The Tigers ended in fine fashion with a 38-3 thumping of Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but the previous two seasons ended with two Bowl Championship Series wins and a national championship.
"I think there's a level of acceptable achievement at our school, and I think our guys understand it," Miles said Friday at SEC media days. "I think championships is how we're measured. I understand how that happens, but it's not any fun. You never expect to finish second, not at LSU.
"I think our team has prepared in earnest. I think it will be seen this fall."
The media slotted LSU second in the preseason SEC West poll, but most don't see a large gap among the Tigers, No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ole Miss.
Linebacker Jacob Cutrera matter-of-factly stated that last season's 3-5 SEC record was "not our style of play at LSU. That's not how we want to be remembered. We went through the spring hungrier than ever. The intensity was there."
John Chavis probably helped that cause. The former Tennessee defensive coordinator arrived at LSU this spring, and early returns were reportedly positive.
"Everybody bought into Coach Chavis's scheme that he brought in, and that carried over into summer workouts," Cutrera said. "He's a fired-up guy every practice. Those two and a half hours we're out there, he's in your face, and you'll know when you mess up.
"He's brought a lot of intensity, and the way he does things has helped out."
Miles said Chavis's "comfort with a dominant defense met very comfortably with those men on our campus, where we have played dominant defense for our time.
"I think John certainly has great experience, understands the want for dominant defense," Miles added. "I think our guys understand that and were really looking for that when John arrived on campus. I think he will expect and our guys will deliver."