As we countdown to kickoff in September, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each week over the summer. SU will continue its 2017 non-conference slate when it plays LSU on Sept. 23 in Baton Rouge.
NEW OFFENSE COORDINATOR: When Ed Orgeron was named as Les Miles replacement after the 2016 season, he knew he wanted to modernize the LSU offense. For $1.5 million, Orgeron plucked offensive coordinator Matt Canada away from Pitt. It was top dollar for a coordinator, but one of Orgeron’s priorities was to move away from a ball-control, run-heavy offense into a more pass-heavy offense with pre-snap misdirection. Canada was the mastermind behind a Panthers offense that recorded the highest season point total in school history (508) while also handing eventual national champion Clemson its only loss of the season.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: The Tigers return senior quarterback Danny Etling, who threw for 2,123 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Though Leonard Fournette is now in the NFL, LSU’s will still have plenty of depth in the backfield, with Derrius Guice. Fournette fought through an ankle injury in 2016, which gave Guice an opportunity to rush for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns. On defense, the Tigers announced earlier in June the return of Adren Key, the team’s best defensive linemen. In February, the school had announced that Key was taking a leave of absence for “personal reasons,” but in June, the school said in a release that he was returning in time for summer school and that he had also had offseason shoulder surgery. Key had averaged 1.1 sacks per game in 2016, leading the SEC.
PREDICTION: There’s never any shortage of talent at LSU, but the Tigers will have to contend with Alabama and a rejuvenated Auburn in a stacked SEC West. As for the game against Syracuse, the Tigers should have no problem. LSU 42, SYRACUSE 28.