SEC Team Previews: LSU
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SEC Team Previews: LSU

John Reecerover 3 years


Article written by:John ReecerJohn Reecer
[caption id="attachment_244701" align="alignnone" width="600"] (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)[/caption] Through this week I will be previewing the 5 SEC West teams that Kentucky will NOT be playing in the 2018 season. For some awesome in-depth previews of the other 8 teams that the Wildcats will be playing this year, be sure to read Nick Roush’s SEC Media Day breakdowns of UK’s conference opponents. Next up in my preview are the LSU Tigers. Offensive Outlook Rebuilding. That’s a term that fanbases across the country absolutely dread to hear. However, every team goes through this phase at one time or another. What separates good programs from the great ones is just how much success they experience during these supposed rough patches. In 2018, the LSU offense will certainly be rebuilding. The question is just how much success they will experience. They return a total of 5 starters from last season in the form of three offensive lineman, a receiver, and their tight end. Gone is Danny Etling who enjoyed a decent year at quarterback, but most importantly gone is Derrius Guice at running back. Guice was the most important player on last year’s team and he will surely be missed. Gone as well is wide receiver DJ Chark who was one of the best receivers in the SEC. With so many huge losses, sometimes you got to get creative. And creative is what head Coach Ed Orgeron became. In comes Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow at quarterback, Texas Teach transfer Jonathan Giles at receiver (1,158 yards in 2016), and NC State transfer Thaddeus Moss at Tight End. Not only does LSU welcome in three talented transfers on offense, but the Tigers are moving to a more pass-happy system this fall as well. It’s going to be weird to watch a normally run-dominant team air it out, but that’s what we will see this season. They still have talent at half back with sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire taking over, however the LSU offense will be defined by its new-look passing game. If Burrow can improve upon what Etling did last year (which won’t be tough) and if Giles can once again be a big-play receiver, fans won’t be able to tell it’s a rebuilding year. Defensive Outlook There are three certainties in life: Death. Taxes. And LSU always having a great defense. That doesn’t change in 2018 as the Tigers once again will be fielding a top 5 defense in the SEC. While it is true that LSU only returns 5 starters on this side of the ball they return three of their top four tacklers from last season. Even more important for Orgeron’s team is that they return linebacker Devin White and defensive back Greedy Williams (what a name). They are the two most talented players on this team, and both will be selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Three starters total return at defensive back which will be the most loaded aspect of LSU this season. Normally the Tigers field a tough defense against the pass and this season will not be any different. They don’t return as much experience in the front seven, but with a plethora of highly touted recruits starting along with White this will not be a rebuilding year on defense for LSU. Best Overall Player This is an incredibly tough decision to make between White and Williams, but I’m going with the one and only Greedy Williams. Not only is he likely winning the competition for best overall name in the SEC, but he is my pick for the best cornerback in the country. As a redshirt freshman last year Williams broke up 11 total passes while also grabbing six interceptions. Combine those coverage skills along with the fact that Williams stands at 6’2 and you have an ideal cornerback in the national football league. I would not be surprised at all if a team with a bad pass defense selects him within the first 10 picks in the draft. In fact, if LSU has a surprise year in the SEC Williams could be the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. However, I don’t want to completely leave out White. He is the top inside linebacker in the country after totaling an absurd 133 tackles last season. He will be a first-round pick and in the running for SECDOPY as well. Biggest Weakness LSU’s biggest weakness this season is the fact that they return an incredibly low amount of meaningful experience from last season. Sure, adding some big names in the form of transfers is a smart way to try and make up for this, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is mostly a brand-new football team on offense. Orgeron is very smart to try and move to a pass-happy system. Every other offense in the SEC West will be improving from last season and the Tigers don’t need to get left in the dust. With a very, very tough schedule that includes Miami, Alabama, at Auburn, and Georgia, having to rebuild team chemistry on offense is going to be incredibly hard to do. Orgeron certainly has his work cut out for him this year. If Burrow can be the real deal at quarterback, I think the Tigers can win some games they probably shouldn’t have. Season Outlook This may be a hot take, but I’m a bit low on LSU this season. College football expert Phil Steele has the Tigers rated 129th on his experience chart heading into the season. In case you forgot, there is only 130 teams on this level of college football. Ouch. However, I still think LSU will make a bowl game this season. White and Williams are that talented on defense, and there is enough talent elsewhere on that side of the ball. That defense will win them games on its own this season. While they won’t beat any teams in that murder’s row mentioned earlier, I still think they find a way to win six of their other eight games. They will win all three of their other nonconference games, beat up on Mississippi and Arkansas, and win a surprising game against Texas A&M to finish their regular season. This really feels like a 6-6 team because of their lack of experience and incredibly tough schedule. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m proven wrong. You can never really count out the toughness of that LSU defense.

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