The list goes far beyond three, but these are the top things to look out for as a new era of LSU football begins.
It’s been the buzz word since Monday when we spoke to the team. Every single one of them pinpointed “energy” as the number one difference they expected with interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In his first press conference, Coach O emphasized that the game should be played on emotion. There’s certainly plenty of that this week for LSU. Maybe that emotion and energy will last them a full game. They’re yet to play a good 60 minutes all season.
2. RB DERRIUS GUICE
Leonard Fournette’s been banged up since fall camp, and at some point, I hope LSU and Fournette himself seriously think about his future. That means feed Derrius Guice. He’s more than proven and just one of a stable of Tiger running backs hungry to get more carries. Guice has several 100-plus yard games under his belt, and Saturday should be another, even if Fournette is good to go. There’s no use risking any further injury against a team LSU should run over. But that being said, they were “supposed” to run over Auburn as well.
3. MORE OPEN OFFENSE
Everyone’s ears perked up when Orgeron promised a more open offense. It might be at the top of every Tiger fans’ wish list in what they want to be different going forward without Les Miles.
That task, or burden, falls on Steve Ensminger. The former LSU signal caller in his day is now the tight ends coach turned offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. They’re positions he’s held before at Texas A&M, Clemson and Auburn, but the results are average at best.
The highest gaining offense he had with the Aggies during his tenure as coordinator and QB coach from 1996 was his final year when they averaged 404.5 yards per game and ranked 34th in the nation in that category.
But that was primarily running the ball, as they only averaged 175.6 yards per game in the air. Clemson wasn’t any better in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. In 1998, they averaged just 304.7 yards per game (93rd nationally) with about 184 yards per contest coming via the the pass.
As quarterbacks coach at Auburn in 2003, the Tigers averaged 192.2 yards per game passing (76th nationally).
Granted, scheme and personnel play a large role and these are only numbers that are very, very old, let’s not expect LSU to exactly air it out.
In a season that saw the excitement drained out of the Tigers almost as soon as it began, LSU made the right move to make a change. Was it nine months too late? I think so.
But if there’s anyone who can bring the Purple and Gold back to life, or at least get them excited again, it’s Ed Orgeron.
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