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Texas A&M Football

LSU Tigers believe they can reestablish themselves as contenders in 2019

June 20, 2019
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The general consensus in Baton Rouge seems to be that this could be the year LSU regains its status as a legitimate football national championship contender.

The Tigers haven’t been a serious threat since 2011 when they finished 13-1 and lost 21-0 to Alabama in the national title game. The following seasons ended in the pre-playoff Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Texas Bowl, the Citrus Bowl (twice) and the Fiesta Bowl.

That’s a good resume, but well below the standards LSU set when the Tigers posted double-digit win totals eight times form 2003 to 2013. The Tigers did manage another 10-win season in 2018, which has significantly raised expectation for 2019.

“It gave us some confidence,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron recently said of last season’s success. “It got LSU back on track where we need to be. It helped us in recruiting. Obviously when you win your bowl, you win 10 games, there’s a lot of positive things going on.”

The Tigers should be optimistic. Eight starters return on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That includes quarterback Joe Burrow but does not include star outside linebacker K’Lavan Chaisson, who missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL.

TexAgs
Head coach Ed Orgeron is confident that his team is ready to make a playoff push.

However, there are reasons to pump the brakes, too. The Tigers’ offense was largely mediocre in 2018, and the receiving corps beyond junior Justin Jefferson is unproven. Also, the defense is without All-American linebacker Devin White and All-American cornerback Greedy Williams, who both opted for early entry into the NFL draft.

Still, the defense projects to be among the best in the Southeastern Conference. Safety Grant Delpit has All-American credentials, while inside linebacker Michael Divinity and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence are productive players looking to raise their level of performance.

Offensively, the Tigers must replace leading rusher Nick Brossette, but they have the personnel to do so with junior Clyde Edwards-Halaire and five-star prospect John Emery. LSU isn’t expected to rely on tailbacks as much as in previous years, though. Orgeron wants to go to more of an RPO (run/pass option) style of offense, which may be more suited for Burrow’s abilities.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons to expect another 10-win season in Baton Rouge. But there may be too many questions needing answers to project LSU as a national championship contender just yet.

  • Coach: Ed Orgeron
  • 2018 record: 10-3, 5-3
  • Postseason result: Defeated Central Florida 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl

Returning starters (at least six starts)

  • Offense (8): T Deculus Austin, QB Joe Burrow, T Saahdiq Charles, WR Ja’Marr Chase, C Lloyd Cushenberry, WR Derrick Dillon, WR Justin Jefferson, G Damien Lewis
  • Defense (8): SS Grant Delpit, OLB Michael Divinity, NT Breiden Fehoko, CB Kristian Fulton, DE Rashard Lawrence, DE Glen Logan, MLB Jacob Phillips, DB Kary Vincent
  • Special Teams (3): KR Clyde Edwards-Helaire, PR Jonathan Giles, P Zach Von Rosenberg

Areas of strength: As usual, the Tigers figure to be strong in the secondary. Strong safety Grant Delpit is an All-American, and free safety JaCoby Stevens started the last four games of 2018. Cornerback Kristian Fulton has recovered from an ankle injury that prevented him from entering the NFL draft. Also, five-star cornerback prospect Derek Stingley will likely grab a starting position.

There may be too many questions needing answers to project LSU as a national championship contender.

Areas of concern: Kicker Cole Tracy won the Groza Award after converting 29 of 33 field goal attempts and all 42 extra points he tried. He set LSU records for field goals in a season and kicked a game-winner against Auburn. He’s completed his eligibility, which leaves LSU looking for a replacement. Connor Culp may get the call. He was the Tigers’ place kicker in 2017 and missed 5 of 16 field goal attempts.

Top players

  • Joe Burrow, QB: He’s not an elite passer, but he’s proved to be a very capable quarterback. In his first year at LSU, Burrow was sixth in the SEC in total offense. He passed for 2,894 yards and rushed for 399. 
  • Grant Delpit, SS: A Thorpe Award finalist and All-American, Delpit is the undisputed leader of the secondary. He might also be the best defensive back in the SEC. Last season, he led the conference with five interceptions, broke up nine passes, recorded 74 tackles and even tied for LSU’s team-lead with five sacks.
  • Michael Divinity, ILB: A senior, Divinity projects as the Tigers’ top linebacker. He’s looking to build on a strong junior campaign in which he recorded 10.5 tackles for loss — five coming on sacks.

Biggest loss: Butkus Award winner Devin White was the fifth player selected in the NFL draft. The two-time All-American posted 156 tackles over the last two seasons. The Tigers still have good linebackers, but none are quite the caliber of White.

Impact newcomer: Not only was Stingley the top-rated cornerback and No. 3 overall prospect in the nation, he can also return punts. He enrolled early, participated in spring drills and figures to open the season in the starting lineup.

2019 schedule

  • Aug. 31 vs. Georgia Southern
  • Sept. 7 at Texas
  • Sept. 14 vs. Northwestern State
  • Sept. 21 at Vanderbilt
  • Sept. 28 OPEN
  • Oct. 5 vs. Utah State
  • Oct. 12 vs. Florida
  • Oct. 19 at Mississippi State
  • Oct. 26 vs. Auburn
  • Nov. 2 OPEN
  • Nov. 9 at Alabama
  • Nov. 16 at Ole Miss
  • Nov. 23 vs. Arkansas
  • Nov. 30 vs. Texas A&M
Tags: Football, LSU, 2019
Discussion from...

LSU Tigers believe they can reestablish themselves as contenders in 2019

3,590 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by AgBQ-00
West Point Aggie
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AG
If they can't beat the castrated ones in game two then they can **** themselves...until we beat them in NOV...

My CFB hate rubric dictates that I root for the drunk swamp people come the second game.

#1 hated: tu
#2 hated: Notre lame
#3 hated: State penn
#4 hated: l$u
NumberEinAg
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AG
Your list is the same as mine - well done!
"They who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
AgBQ-00
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AG
You want to see this rivalry really erupt...just wait until we beat them in Baton Rouge. It will officially be on at that point. Last year was just the edge of the swamp compared to how it will be.
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