13 LSU - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
Publish date:

13 LSU

Author:

OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

[Sophomore DERRIUS] GUICE is a beast. He might be a better back than Leonard Fournette. He's smaller [5'11", 212 pounds], but harder to tackle because he runs with so much juice guys can't corral him. I love him.

People talk about how their O-line is supposed to be so good. I don't see it. They're pretty average, and I don't see any early-round NFL talent. Their wideouts look good, but they're inconsistent, and they don't have a No. 1 guy. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada is creative and good at finding ways to run the ball even when the box is loaded, and he is a great play-caller. He'll be 10 plays ahead and put plays together that look alike but are very different. But those receivers better get in shape because of all the motioning and shifts he'll do; their legs will be gone by October.

Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda does a really good job. He's aggressive with his safeties, and he stunts and moves his fronts. He did a lot more of that at Wisconsin than at LSU, but it was only his first season there. They're just so talented. Arden Key [a 6'6", 238-pound junior linebacker] is as good as any player in the SEC. He's long and has a great first step. He's not as big as most of the edge guys in the conference, but he's quicker and slipperier.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (47TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (39TH)

COMPLETION % (45TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (3RD)

SACKS ALLOWED (32ND)

TURNOVERS LOST (50TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (16TH)

YARDS PER PLAY (13TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (8TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (17TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (16TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (8TH)

SACKS (14TH)

TURNOVERS GAINED (77TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (7TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (5TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

51

The Tigers playoff path goes through four teams in SI's Top 25: at Florida (10/7), Auburn (10/14), at Alabama (11/4) and Texas A&M (11/25). Could the SEC get two entries? Potentially. But LSU will have to earn it, starting with a visit from BYU (9/2).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

Sophomore defensive tackle RASHARD LAWRENCE earned a starting job after a standout spring, and the 6'3" 300-pounder will be an imposing force on the right side. LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Lawrence was the defensive player that had "improved the most" during the offseason, showing particular progress with his hands and footwork. Coach O revealed in July that Lawrence is also a 4.0 student. Last year Lawrence played sparingly, putting up stats in just four games—six tackles and one sack. But the top recruit in Louisiana in the class of 2016, according to ESPN, is a big body with impressive mobility, and he has the stuff to be one of the SEC's best defensive linemen this fall.