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Coach O and the LSU Tigers

Pic of Will Clapp by Gridiron Now

LSU lists 49 true or redshirt freshmen on its roster. An amazing and potentially troubling number for first year head coach Ed Orgeron. Couple youth with an arduous schedule and year one could be a daunting task for the former interim.

Orgeron has surrounded himself with two all-star coordinators in Dave Aranda and Matt Canada. Aranda will direct a defense that will be young, inexperienced, but highly skilled. The Tigers return just five starters from a defense that finished 3rd in the league’s total defense category a year ago. Aranda also lost All American safety Jamal Adams, LB Duke Riley, CB Tre’Davious White, DT Davon Dodchaux, and LB Kendell Beckwith to the NFL. This would devastate most programs. However, massive defensive NFL departures are an annual occurrence in Baton Rouge.

Matt Canada comes to Baton Rouge from Pitt where he guided an offense that averaged 446 yards and 40 points-per-game in 2016. Orgeron stressed that Canada will operate a balanced offense which should be sweet music for LSU fans.

There will be pressure on Orgeron to win in year one. While the likeable coach is a fan-favorite, as we saw with Les Miles wins are more important than congeniality. A tricky week three road trip to Starkville could paint the early picture of the SEC West’s mid-level pecking order. In addition to A&M, LSU has five conference road games including Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Alabama.

OVERVIEW

-Head Coach: Ed Orgeron, 6-2 as LSU’s interim HC in 2016.

-2016 Record: 8-4. Beat Louisville 29-9 in Citrus Bowl.

-Opener: Vs. BYU in Houston.


OFFENSE

Pic of Derrius Guice

Ed Orgeron brought in new offensive coordinator Matt Canada from Pittsburg to revamp an antiquated offensive system (ranked 101st in total offense) and breath some life into a talented yet typically underutilized group of skill players. Canada inherits starting quarterback Danny Etling (2123-yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs) and perhaps the nation’s most dynamic running back, Derrius Guice (1387-yards, 15 TDs). Etling and Guice will operate behind one of the SEC’s best offensive linemen Will Clapp who was moved from guard to center. Clapp is joined by three fellow OL starters: LT K.J. Malone, RT Toby Weathersby, and guard Maea Teuhema.

Receiver DJ Clark (26 catches, 466-yards, 3 TDs) returned for his senior season instead of an early entry to the NFL and was given the coveted number 7 that is issued to the team’s leader.

Returning Statistical Leaders

-Returning Starters: 6

-Rushing: Derrius Guice 183 carries, 1,387-yards, 15 TD’s

-Passing: Danny Etling 160/269, 2,123-yards, 11 TD’s, 5 INT’s

-Receiving: D.J. Clark 26 receptions, 466-yards, 3 TD’s

2016 Offensive Results

-Scoring 28.3 ppg (SEC-10th)

-Rushing 233 ypg (SEC-4th)

-Passing 190.1 ypg (SEC-12th)

-Total 423.1 ypg (SEC-9th)


DEFENSE 

Pic of Arden Key by The Daily Reveille

Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is a rising star in the coaching business. He was highly successful at Wisconsin prior to moving to Baton Rouge where his defense allowed the fewest touchdowns in the nation in 2016. LSU loses defensive players to the NFL annually. It simply reloads.

Outside linebacker Arden Key led the SEC with 12 quarterback sacks a year ago and is up to 260-pounds. Fellow LB Devin White was frequently mentioned by Orgeron as a player that will be called upon to be a defensive leader. One of couple programs that proclaim the “DBU” status, Aranda’s secondary will have to re-load after losing a significant portion of starters to the professional ranks. Cornerbacks Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson both have lock-down capability. DE Christian LaCouture and NT Greg Gilmore return as starters.

Returning Statistical Leaders

-Returning Starters: 6

-QB Sacks: Arden Key-12

-Tackler: Arden Key-56

-Interceptions: Donte Jackson-2 

2016 Defensive Results

-Scoring 15.8 ppg (SEC-2nd)

-Rushing 117.3 ypg (SEC-2nd)

-Passing 197.2 ypg (SEC-3rd)

-Total 314.4 ypg (SEC-3rd)


IMPACT ON KENTUCKY

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Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President