NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - 1. Matt Canada's offense
The Tigers have played this one pretty close to the chest since the spring. They never allowed the media too much access and didn't put a lot of the new scheme on tape. All that's done is build anticipation for what's expected to be an improved and more balanced attack. Derrius Guice, as expected, should remain the emphasis, but it would be nice to not cringe when LSU faces a 3rd and medium situation and has to put the ball in the air.
2. The heir to Arden Key
From what we've seen, Key's looked pretty serviceable in practice, but the Tigers aren't rushing him back to the field coming off of his shoulder surgery. That means someone like a K'Lavon Chaisson, Andre Anthony and/or Ray Thornton will have their chance to shine as his replacement at linebacker. Head coach Ed Orgeron says the decision on the starter will come close to game time. Key leaves big shoes to temporarily fill, but all three of those freshmen received high praise in camp.
3. Special teams
Also receiving high praise the last few weeks has been true freshman running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He's an "undersized" back that wears that term as a chip on his shoulder. He's been eager to prove himself and we could see that sooner than later returning kicks. Along with cornerback Donte Jackson, he possesses game-changing speed and vision. Special teams is an area that Coach O's put a lot of emphasis, and against BYU, it's a great chance to show improvement.
4. Who's going to step up at wide receiver?
We know the starting quarterback will be Danny Etling and we've seen what he could do last year, albeit with an injured back. However, the only returning receiver who's seen real production in the past is D.J. Chark. Now's the time for Russell Gage live up to his big-play ability and the rest of the receivers to separate themselves. Derrick Dillon, Stephen Sullivan and others have a golden opportunity to become staples in the Tigers' passing game.
5. Will we see quarterbacks Myles Brennan or Lowell Narcisse?
As much as Etling may have improved post-back surgery, everyone knows that the quarterback of the future will be either Brennan or Narcisse. That means, should LSU be afforded a lead large enough to take Etling out of the game, the Tigers could give one or both of their freshmen some valuable experience. Brennan brings a rocket arm as a true pocket passer, while Narcisse brings versatility and more athleticism. It would certainly be fun to see the latter have a few short yardage packages built in.
As eager as fans are to see what LSU's capable of in 2017, it's safe to say the players are ready to prove themselves even more. Now that the game's in New Orleans, it should be a huge springboard into Coach O's inaugural season.