The long-awaited showdown with LSU is days away, as the Longhorns prepare for their biggest home game in over a decade. The Tigers enter Saturday’s matchup ranked 6th in the country and are coming off a 55-3 blowout win over Georgia Southern. In past years, a preview of the LSU offense would look a lot different than what the current offense looks like. The 2019 Tigers swore all offseason they were opening up the offense and were going to go up-tempo, and if one game is any indication, they were not lying. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from the LSU offense.
One of the biggest reasons for the change in offensive philosophy for LSU centers around their confidence in senior QB Joe Burrow. The former Ohio State QB had a solid 2018 in his first year with the Tigers, throwing for a little under 3,000 yards with 16 touchdowns compared to just 5 interceptions. In Week 1 against Georgia Souther, Burrow was only needed for the first half, completing 23 of his 27 passes for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns.
New offensive assistant Joe Brady is a big reason Burrow is expected to take a big step forward this season. The 30-year-old is in his first season as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator, but he arrived in Baton Rouge highly regarded after spending 2 seasons with the New Orleans Saints and offensive guru Sean Payton.
There is a good chance LSU will play 5 running backs on Saturday. Junior Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the Tigers in carries this past Saturday, but Chris Curry, Lanard Fournette, John Emory Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price are all expected to receive touches as well. Emory and Davis-Price are both highly touted freshman who should begin to see more carries as their comfort level in the offense increases.
Junior Jordan Jefferson figures to be the primary beneficiary of a more wide-open offense. The leading receiver for the Tigers in 2018 picked up right where he left off this past Saturday, hauling in 5 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The 6’3 wideout will be a test for Texas corners, and it will be interesting to see if Texas lets Jalen Green travel with him wherever he goes on the field. 6’3 sophomore Terrance Marshall will also be a receiver to watch, as the former Texas target from the 2018 class hauled in 3 touchdowns against Georgia Southern.
As would be expected with any LSU offensive line, the Tigers have some maulers up front. But they also have a few question marks that Texas could take advantage of. Starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles has been a mainstay along the offensive line, making 19 career starts across 2 seasons entering 2019. Austin Deculus is the starting right tackle and even Ed Orgeron admitted in his weekly press conference he wants to see more consistency from the junior, especially in pass protection. Lloyd Cushenberry anchors the offensive line at center and has a lot of experience. The two guard spots are likely to be occupied by Adrian Magee and Damien Lewis, but Magee may be spelled by sophomore Chasen Hines, who many Texas fans may remember as someone who many thought would end up along the defensive line.
After watching Ed Orgeron’s weekly press conference, the one main takeaway I had is that he believes Texas is going to blitz a lot. The Longhorns brought pressure frequently in Week 1, and it is on tape now. Louisiana Tech had some success running quick patterns and screen passes, so the Longhorns would be wise to pick and choose their spots to bring pressure, especially considering the defense struggled to tackle in space. If Texas is able to get consistent corner play from Kobe Boyce or Anthony Cook opposite of Jalen Green, it will go a long way in helping slow down an LSU passing game that looked revamped in Week 1.
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