2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The LSU Offense
The offensive line has to come up with a stronger season. The Tigers have the quarterback in Joe Burrow. They have great young running backs to go along with a share thing in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and they have a loaded receiving corps with the talent to do a whole lot more.
Now the offensive line has to do its part.
There’s no excuse to not be better. The coaching is top-shelf, there’s depth, and four starters are back with NFL prospects across the board.
Damien Lewis is a pounding guard, and Lloyd Cushenberry is a good-looking center who should become a fixture at the gig over the next few years. It’s up to the tackles to be stronger, and juniors Saahdiq Charles and and Austin Deculus should be fine.
The line allowed 36 sacks last year – it gave up a mere 19 two seasons earlier – and 89 tackles for loss. Better all-around protection changes the offense.
Biggest Key To The LSU Defense
The run defense has to be a consistent rock. The offense should score more and be more explosive, but it’s not going to be the type of attack that puts up 40 points per game on a consistent basis. It’s all about maintaining control, making fewer mistakes than everyone else – LSU led the SEC in turnover margin – and controlling the clock.
That means stopping the run.
Granted, the losses came against some of the nation’s best teams, but the Tigers gave up 200 rushing yards or more against Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M – all defeats. The only other time they allowed that many was in the dominant win over Mississippi State.
How big a deal is this? Since beating Wisconsin to open up the 2014 season, LSU is 1-11 – with just that win over the Bulldogs last year – when giving up 200 yards or more.
Key Player To A Successful Season
PK Cade York, Fr.
No pressure, son. Just go out there and try to be solid in place of the guy who who came up with the greatest kicking season in LSU history. All Cole Tracy did was connect on 29-of-33 field goals with four against Miami, a game-winner against Auburn, and with three of his four misses coming from 49 yards or longer.
York has all the talent to be fantastic. He’s a big kicker with a deep leg and the upside to be the main man for the next four years, but again, all he has to do is be as good as Tracy was.
Key Game To The LSU Season
at Texas, Sept. 7
The Alabama game is the Alabama game – that will always be a big deal, obviously. That’s on the road, and Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M are home games. It’s hardly an easy schedule, but there’s a chance to do big things if the Tigers can hold serve in Baton Rouge, and if they can get off to a hot start.
If LSU wants to be a major player in the College Football Playoff hunt, it needs to come away with a win over the Longhorns in Austin in Week 2. Do that, and as long as there’s not a total gag, the team should be 5-0 when Florida comes to town.
The last time LSU played at Texas it lost 20-6 to open the 1954 season. This time around, it’s almost certainly a playoff elimination game.
– LSU Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 LSU Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 102 for 906 yards – LSU 83 for 794 yards
– Field Goals: LSU 29-of-33 – Opponents 13-of-17
– 1st Quarter Scoring: LSU 107 – Opponents 36