It’s game week, LSU fans!
After an entire offseason of waiting, the LSU football team will open its 2017 season on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. against BYU – a decorated program from the Southwest.
The Tigers are a two-touchdown favorite in the game, but the Cougars have a few built-in advantages – namely that they’ve already played a game and will have all their first-game jitters behind them.
BYU beat Portland State 20-6 on Saturday in what wasn’t the proudest showing for the Cougars.
The team looked flat, stale, a half-step slow and … like they weren’t showing anything to LSU in advance of the big matchup.
Look, LSU has a better team than BYU – no one is disputing or doubting that.
But this idea that the game will be easy because BYU struggled on Saturday is crazy.
For starters, the Cougars always play up or down to their competition. Last year, almost every game they played was razor close – regardless of opponent.
BYU is the type of team that you think you have beat, but then you get late into the third quarter, look at the scoreboard and realize ‘Ugh ooo… this is going to be a dogfight.’
I expect much of the same on Saturday night in New Orleans.
But another reason to not pay any attention to the Cougar’s season opening disappointments is because of the mental mind game that was likely going on as the game was taking place.
I do not believe for one second that BYU showed any of its ‘good stuff’ to LSU on Saturday.
I don’t think the Cougars used their best blitzes, nor their top formations or sets.
I think they were vanilla intentionally, using the game to get the rust off, while also keeping LSU in the blind.
And we still don’t know an awful lot about the type of team they have.
We will find out soon enough on Saturday, though.
And look, some of the tape doesn’t lie. The Cougars don’t have amazing speed, but they’re stout up front and are in the right position at all times.
It’s a good matchup for a first-year head coach and a young team, but it’s a game that LSU wins if it plays well.
It can’t get here soon enough.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Coach Ed Orgeron confirmed on Monday that defensive end Arden Key will miss the season opener as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery.
This is not a big surprise. My sources tell me Key is expected to miss about 3-4 weeks of the season before getting clear for contact and games.
With Key out, LSU’s defensive front is thinned out a little, but all is not lost.
True freshman K’Lavon Chaisson will likely draw some of Key’s snaps in obvious passing situations. Reports out of camp say the freshman is almost unblockable, which ought to be exciting for the next several seasons.
Orgeron also said that a pair of freshman linemen will rotate at right guard – marking one of the first times in recent years that the Tigers start such a kitten on the offensive line in the opener.