So happy that we’re connecting with our friends over at AndtheValleyShook.com. I wanted to ask you guys a few questions and y’all return the favor.
Without further ado,
FWtCT —> AtVS
1. Returning Starters. I am seriously asking this question and it might make me look stupid, but are there any returning starters from last year? And if so, who and what impact will they have on game 1?
I am so tired of the lamestream media like For Whom the Cowbell Tolls spewing their propaganda that LSU doesn’t have any starters back from last year. I can count on ONE HAND all the returning starters.......and I mean that quite literally. Landon there’s only FIVE starters back if you exclude the punter, place kicker and kickoff specialist. I did a double take when I looked at the depth chart for Saturday and saw a whole lotta new faces.
But of those five returners, LSU is blessed to get corner Derek Stingley Jr. back for his sophomore season. Stingley’s not just the best corner in college football, he’s the best defensive player in America and you could argue he’s the No. 2 player regardless of position behind Trevor Lawrence. LSU prides itself on being DBU and it has produced some of the best defensive backs in the NFL: Patrick Peterson, Jamal Adams, Tyrann Mathieu, Tre’Davious White. Stingley might be the best yet.
2. How is LSU balancing the attrition from last year + COVID sit-outs + COVID positive students?
Nobody’s lost more than LSU. Five first round picks, 14 players drafted overall and you could bump that number up if you want to include guys like Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Shelvin and Kary Vincnet all opting out. I’m not going to lie, the Chase departure stung. You don’t lose the best receiver in America, arguably the best receiver in program history, and not take a hit. But the receiving unit is so deep, LSU can weirdly afford to lose a receiver. Again they’re not better off without Chase, but LSU has always been able to have outstanding talent at wide receiver and now they’re actually running the kind of offense to get the ball to those playmakers. Terrace Marshall was LSU’s No. 3 receiver and caught 13 touchdown passes in 12 games. Racey McMath has gotten a lot of buzz. Five-star true freshman Kayshon Boutte has emerged as a starter, and Coach O calls him a “homerun hitter.”
Where it gets dicey for LSU is along the trenches. The projected starting offensive line all has varying levels of experience, but they’ve started games before. But the second string? I count a combined zero collegiate appearances from that group. And as I alluded to earlier with Tyler Shelvin leaving, the defensive line is where LSU got hit hardest. Shelvin opted out; Ray Parker is suspended indefinitely and isn’t listed on the team’s website; T.K. McClendon and Justin Thomas transferred. LSU should be okay at defensive tackle, but end is the weak link. It’s a mixture of seniors who have made little to no impact in their LSU careers like Andre Anthony and Travez Moore, and true freshmen like Phillip Webb and BJ Ojulari. LSU might have to get creative to get after the quarterback this year.
3. How does the defense under Aranda compare to what Bo Pelini is expected to do this season?
Hey speaking of! Wow it’s like we get these questions emailed ahead of time. Anyway, Pelini and Orgeron seem to be kindred spirits for what they want to do defensively: have four down linemen with their hand in the dirt, and go kill the quarterback. No one is saying Dave Aranda is a bad defensive coordinator, he’s tremendous. But Aranda was a Les Miles hire, not an Orgeron hire though to his credit Coach O kept Aranda on his staff.
Orgeron made headlines last week when he said “we are so much better on defense right now than any part of the season last year.” Now that’s a really bold thing to say, especially with how good the defense played down the stretch: 7 points against Texas A&M, 10 points against Georgia in the SEC Championship, holding both Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence to complete less than half their passes in the CFP. I think that’s O just confirming Pelini is running the kind of defense he’s always wanted.
4. What are the fan’s perspectives on last season being the product of a culture shift at LSU or was it a one-and-done type thing?
No, I think people in Baton Rouge think they’ve got next dibs on running college football. After Alabama beat LSU in Orgeron’s first full year as coach in 2018, O went viral for saying “We comin’.We comin’ and we ain’t backing down.” People would say that ironically but now coming off a 15-0, national title season, it’s turned into a battle cry. It’ll come down to, as it always does for LSU, quarterback play. LSU has always been able to get the blue chippers at every other position but quarterback until Joe Burrow. Now they have a top-10 quarterback commit in the 2021 and 2022 class, and are in position to get one of the top QBs in 2023. If LSU starts getting the kind of quarterbacks that Oklahoma, Clemson and Ohio State have gotten, then yeah you could be looking at the next college football dynasty.
5. Is LSU reloaded and ready to go on Saturday? Because THE PIRATE IS COMING SWORDS A-BLAZIN’!!!
Yeah I’m split. There’s an over confident part of me that says bring on Leach and his smoke and mirror offense, DBU will shut it down so on and so forth. But a smaller part of me sees Coach O say “we’re thin at corner” and internally I say “uh oh.” State doesn’t scare me but I do think for however long Leach is in charge the Bulldogs will forever be the pain in the ass team that can beat a team it has no business beating because of its hokey offense. But yeah I don’t think Miss State has the athletes to keep up with LSU and the Tigers win...ehh, 38-21
Thank you Zach for collaborating with us and previewing the Tigers. Zach also asked myself some questions and if you’d like to see my responses click here.