2022 LSU Tigers Preview

by Matt Fargo

LSU Tigers

2021-22 Season Record 6-7 (3-5 SEC West) - 5-7-1 ATS - 6-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 5

Overview

It does not take long for the natives to become restless but that is life in the SEC. Ed Orgeron took over for Les Miles midway through the 2006 season and went 6-2 only to improve to 9-4 in 2017 to 10-3 in 2018 and then ultimately, going 15-0 with a National Championship in 2019. With hardly anyone returning in 2020, the Tigers fell to 5-5 and then not even with last season over, Orgeron was given the heave-ho and LSU had its first losing season since 1999 although he was not responsible for it as a bowl loss completed it which he was not even there for. LSU made a big hire in Brian Kelly who left a Notre Dame program that went 54-9 over his last five seasons in what was a great situation to one that is more murky. He inherits a team that has only half of its starters returning and one that still plays in the toughest conference in college football. He won big in his three previous stops but now comes his biggest challenge yet.

Offense

The LSU offense was below average as a whole last season as the Tigers were No. 87 overall and No. 77 in scoring. They had a very strong passing attack but possessed one of the worst rushing offenses in the country as they averaged a mere 109.8 ypg on 3.3 ypc, their second straight year of a dismal run game. Quarterback Max Johnson was great last season as he accounted for 27 touchdown passes and just six interceptions but he transferred to Texas A&M leaving a big hole at the position. There are solid options however with Garrett Nussmeier and Myles Brennan both having experience here and transfer Jayden Daniels who has big potential. Kayshon Boutte led the team in receiving with 509 yards despite playing less than half the season and is a legit NFL prospect. The running game needs more punch and John Emery, Jr. will be that guy to do so but will be working behind a revamped offensive line.

Defense

The bread and butter of the team for years took a massive tumble in 2020 but regrouped last season, improving by 114 ypg and eight ppg. Still, LSU was below average as it finished No. 64 in total defense and No. 59 in scoring defense but pieces are in place for another improvement. The strength of the defense last season was stopping the run as the Tigers allowed 139.2 ypg on 4.0 ypc along with a solid pass rush that finished with 38 sacks, tied for No. 23 in the nation and those will be the strengths again behind a stout defensive line. The front three is loaded as the starting trio has accumulated 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons and this group could be one of the best in the conference. The linebackers are far less experienced but defensive coordinator Matt House is a former NFL linebacker coach in the NFL so he will have them ready. Transfers will dominate the secondary with the lone holdover being safety Jay Ward.

2022 Season Outlook

Kelly won at Central Michigan, he won at Cincinnati and he won at Notre Dame but the question brought up the most was if he is the right hire for this program. He has no southern roots and while his first recruiting class was solid, it was the worst for LSU in four years. There will always be talent in Baton Rouge but he has never competed against strong teams like this on a consistent basis and only time will tell. LSU is ranked No. 82 in returning production so his inaugural season is a question mark, especially with this schedule. They open against Florida St. and then have three straight home games to ease into the difficult SEC slate. The four road games are all difficult against projected winning teams and the home side is no cakewalk also against four teams projected with 6.5 or more wins. The O/U total is set at 7 which is certainly attainable but it will take a lot of overachieving and some big road upsets to get to eight victories. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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