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2023 OFFENSIVE LINEUPS & DEPTH CHART PROJECTIONS

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

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In the wake of LSU's Scrimmage Game this past Saturday, we learned a bit more about where the coaches see these players fitting on this team....and where they fall in line on the field.

Much like the coaching staff, we've arrived at a few conclusions about this LSU squad, here in year II under intrepid Head Coach Brian Kelly.

We'll reveal two for each side of the ball, one for the 11 Tigers the coaches will trust to start week 1 in Orlando, and another made up of the 11 Tigers who I feel should start for LSU.

Let's Geaux...and as always, post your lineups too, right down below in the comments section, I want to see that section flooded with the blood of our opinions.

OFFENSE


(COACHES' PICK)

LT Will Campbell

LG Garrett Dellinger

C Charles Turner

RG Miles Frazier

RT Emery Jones Jr

TE Mason Taylor

QB Jayden Daniels

RB Noah Cain

WR Malik Nabers

WR Kyren Lacy

WR Brian Thomas Jr


(LSUODYSSEY PICKS)

LT Will Campbell

LG Garrett Dellinger

C Charles Turner

RG Miles Frazier

RT Emery Jones Jr

TE Mason Taylor

QB Jayden Daniels

RB Noah Cain

WR Malik Nabers

WR Aaron Anderson

WR Kyren Lacy


Many will go....well...you didn't really change much offensively speaking from the coaches....but I think there's a few things to dig into here.

Our offensive line fronts remain the same, yet you have to remember, LSU return 4 of 5 starting trenchmen from last fall; then, adding their continued dominance at their position, all 4 remain with the 5th name being a returning Tiger, too.

There's familiarity between Campbell, Jones, Turner, Dellinger and Frazier, a modus operandi....and they've only continued to get nastier with age.

Backing that core 5 is a bountiful mixture of priceless swing men like Marlon Martinez (could easily be a starter), sophomore Bo Bordelon, freshmen superstars such as Lance Heard and DJ Chester looking to repeat Campbell and Jones' 2022 debut stardom, and another transfer signing in Mason Lunsford.

I'm satisfied with LSU's offensive line, but like most areas on the field, you hope your starters can stay healthy, your backups can contribute, and those swing men like Martinez can stay ready for their moments.

OL Coach Brad Davis (big condolences to him from LSUOdyssey after the loss of his father) is building something special, aiming for the program's first Joe Moore Award since 2019.

To the backfield now:

As much as I wanted to, I didn't pull the trigger on a Kaleb Jackson start, because when you think about it, here's the week 1 scenario you'd be throwing a true freshman into:

Against #8 Florida State, facing defenders like Jared Verse during his debut game, live on national television, #6 vs #8 in the country, Sunday night, not Saturday....so much more time to really think about things and revert to some of his raw & rough habits (fumbling a few times in fall camp, missing blocking assignments, more fundamentals etc).

Noah Cain is the safe pick at running back; am i willing to say he's leading the pack for 20+ carries game to game? Absolutely not, but he's remained healthy and available throughout the entire offseason, returning after scoring 10 rushing touchdowns in 2022.

The prudent thing is to let Cain pave the way, Emery Jr & Holly blaze a trail, Tre Bradford carve 'em up with his dual threat capabilities before introducing Kaleb Jackson to finish 'em off....(I know I didn't include every running back on the team, that's because Josh Williams, Logan Diggs and Armoni Goodwin are all hurt as we edge closer to the season.

In a way, depth chart for running back may not even matter...the majority of our 9 backs will definitely receive touches due to Frank Wilson's rotation heavy setup.....unless you're outside of the top 4 of the 9 total scholarship running backs. But at any time, that list will be swallowed whole by injuries, absences, and poor or fantastic performances.

When you think of LSU seasons, you can always name the featured back of that season: 2007, Jacob Hester; 2021, Ty Davis-Price; 2019 Clyde Edwards-Helaire; 2018 Nick Brossette; 1997, Kevin Faulk; our feeling is Tre Bradford may be that man for 2023 LSU....and I'm not sure why, with great feelings about Jackson, Holly, the solidity of Cain, the explosiveness of Emery Jr, the experience from Williams, that smooth agility of Goodwin, the battering ram violence of Diggs, I'm still believing #32, LSU's third time transfer, will prove his third time is the charm.

It'll be funny to guess & then see which random Tiger back will be remembered as 2023's #1 in the future ahead. May the best young Tiger running back win.......wait, can we still call Josh Williams young?

At wide receiver, we were tempted to put any number of other pass catchers above Kyren Lacy, including two freshmen Jalen Brown and Shelton Sampson Jr who shined brightly throughout fall camp (Brown during Spring, as well); we also considered giving another TE spot in the lineup to Ka'morreun Pimpton, playing that hybrid role, motioning out wide from the 12 personnel set up.

In fact, we did relegate Lacy to 3rd spot, while Aaron Anderson now takes over as the 2nd overall receiver, mostly due to my belief in how dangerous LSU's passing game can be when Anderson Is stationed in that slot position.

But I feel, due to Lacy's hard work throughout this past offseason, his intense desire for revenge, and his occasionally brilliant play (Spring game), you have to give the former Rajun Cajun a big opportunity here in week 1 to play himself in or out of Cortez Hankton's top 3 WR spots.

Still, Mike Denbrock's offense possess a host of weapons nipping at his heels, players of more explosive versatility who could usurp him in the lineup if Lacy doesn't begin his ideal, reliable 2023 journey.

Lacy must become the possession receiver LSU need, making big time plays after the catch when he can....and most of all, never ever dropping the ball (4 official drops in 2022, according to PFF.com).

Brian Thomas Jr's stock faded in fall camp, crashing harder than most analysts predicted ahead of his 3rd "money" year.

The former high school 5 star is dropping passes ahead of his most important season, often times sporting the body language of a dismissed, disengaged player punching a clock.

Due to that, I figure why not allow Aaron Anderson to tear up the field as our dynamic slot asset, and when Brian Thomas Jr shows the kind of bloodthirsty aerial assassinry we're looking for, then we'll bring him back into the fold.

As for where our coaching staff will stand, I get the sense LSU's coaches will lean on experience when it comes to skill positions, especially in the first game of an all important program year; due to that factor, Cain, Lacy, and Thomas Jr all will likely start vs Florida State due to the coaches' trust.


DEPTH CHART


RUNNING BACK

(As of 8/21)):

CAIN

EMERY JR

JACKSON

BRADFORD

HOLLY

WILLIAMS

GOODWIN

DIGGS

DEMAS


WR

NABERS

ANDERSON

LACY

THOMAS JR

HILTON JR

BROWN

SAMPSON JR

IBIETA

CLAYTON JR

PREAN

PARKER

NICHOLAS


TE

TAYLOR

MARKWAY

PIMPTON

MCGOHAN

GILBREATH

PETERSON


OL

JONES

CAMPBELL

TURNER

DELLINGER

FRAZIER

MARTINEZ

HEARD

BORDELON

LUNSFORD

CHESTER

MAKANE’OLE

MUBENGA

ADAMS


(Not every single Tiger on roster noted down, though we get damn close)


GIVE US YOUR OFFENSIVE XI AND TELL US WHAT THE COACHES WILL CHOOSE, TOO!

BY LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2023 UNINTERRUPTED WRITINGS INC, a subsidiary of Uninterrupted Media LLC


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I am elated to have Anderson, but he seems to have had a number of drops too. At the beginning, I see him rotating in as situational opportunities arise. I go with Nabers, Lacy, and Sampson. Young or not, let them try to defend Sampson’s skill set. I honestly believe we have so many weapons, other than Nabers, we may see those with the hot hand play. All of the WRs other than Nabers are a toss up.

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