New-Look Offense Ready to Take Field Against BYU
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications
BATON ROUGE – A new look LSU offense along with a defense featuring many fresh faces will be on display Saturday night in New Orleans when the 12th-ranked Tigers face BYU in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The game was moved earlier this week from NRG Stadium in Houston to New Orleans due to the devastation caused in southeast Texas by Hurricane Harvey.
Kickoff for the first meeting between LSU and BYU in football is scheduled for 8:35 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN with Bob Wischusen (@ESPNbob), Brock Huard (@BrockESPN), and Alison Williams (@AllisonW_Sports) on the call.
The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair (@LSUTigersVoice), Doug Moreau and Gordy Rush (@glrush3) on the call. The game can be heard in the Baton Rouge area on 98.1 FM and for free on the internet at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Saturday’s contest will be the season-opener for LSU, while BYU brings a 1-0 mark into the game following a 20-6 win over Portland State last week. Dating back to last year, BYU has won six straight and nine of its last 10 games. A year ago, BYU went 9-4 and had one point losses to Utah (20-19) and Boise State (28-27) and three point losses to UCLA (17-14) and West Virginia (35-32).
The Tigers enter the game having won six of their last eight a year ago, including a 29-9 victory over Louisville and Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson in the Citrus Bowl. LSU has won 54 of its last 55 games in the regular season against non-conference opponents.
Ed Orgeron enters his first full season as head coach of the Tigers and his staff features several new faces, including offensive coordinator Matt Canada, running backs coach Tommie Robinson and wide receiver coach Mickey Joseph.
Canada has excited the LSU fan base with a creative scheme that no longer features a fullback and thrives in getting the ball in the hands of playmakers in space. A year ago, Canada’s Pittsburgh offense averaged 41 points and a contest and his Panther team was the only squad to beat national champion Clemson.
LSU will rely on a host of newcomers to contribute, including a pair of true freshmen at right guard in Saahdiq Charles and Ed Ingram. The Tigers will also start a freshman at bench linebacker as either Ray Thornton or K'Lavon Chaisson will get the first snap against the Cougars on Saturday.
“We have some new coaches, and we have some young guys who are going to be playing for the first time,” Orgeron said of the season-opener. “There’s a lot energy around the building. We have gone through a very hard camp. It’s time to hit somebody new. We have a lot of respect for BYU. We know it’s going to be a tough, physical football game.”
Orgeron noted that while they may be freshmen by classification, right guards Charles and Ingram look anything but like a rookie and are both ready to take the field against the Cougars.
“The way they practice, the way they prepare, the way they’re coached,” Orgeron said in discussing some of the LSU freshmen. “They are in great shape, led by Tommy Moffitt. They’re physically one of the best classes I’ve ever seen, especially Saahdiq (Charles) and Ed Ingram at offensive guard. They’re going to make freshmen mistakes, but I don’t think that they will be physically overpowered.”
Other true freshmen expected to see time for the Tigers in the season-opener include running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, linebackers Tyler Taylor and Jacob Phillips, defensive backs Kary Vincent Jr., Jontre Kirklin and Grant Delpit along with Chaisson.
Defensively, Aranda’s unit allowed a nation’s best 16 touchdowns all season as the Tigers ranked among the nation’s best in scoring defense (No. 5 at 15.8 points per game) and total defense (No. 10 at 314.4 yards per game).
Orgeron said one of the keys to having success against a team like BYU is taking care of the football. A year ago, BYU was plus-12 in turnover ratio and outscored its opponents 108-37 in points off of turnovers. The Cougars didn’t turn the ball over in their season-opening win against Portland State.
“We need to take care of the ball on offense,” Orgeron said. “We need to get rid of the first game jitters. Danny (Etling) needs to play very well, obviously, and I think he will. Derrius Guice is going to be our lead man with the football. On defense, we have to stop the run and prevent the deep ball. On special teams, we have to take care of the football when they give it to us and do great in our coverage teams.”
LSU opens the home portion of the 2017 schedule next Saturday when the Tigers host Chattanooga in Tiger Stadium.
Game Notes vs. BYU
- LSU has had a 100-yard rusher in 10 straight non-conference games.
- LSU is 13-5 all-time the Superdome, which includes a 9-2 mark in regular-season games. LSU has won nine of its last 10 games in the Superdome.
- LSU is 89-29-5 all-time in season-openers, which includes wins in 19 of its last 21 season-opening games.
- Ed Orgeron will be the first Louisiana native to take the field as head coach of the Tigers in a season-opener since 1983 when West Monroe native Jerry Stovall was LSU’s head coach. The only other Louisiana natives to serve as head coach of the Tigers in the SEC era was Gaynell Tinsley (Homer, La.) from 1948-54.