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LSU = TEU IN 2024??

Updated: Mar 5

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


2023 saw yet another history-making chapter written in the record books of WRU, as Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr both eclipsed 14 TDs and over 1,000 yards, leading the nation in each major category on their way to 1st Round NFL Draft selections, while even returning 2024 senior Kyren Lacy snagged 7 scores himself.

It was a season of high octane offensive firepower out wide, Nabers, Thomas or Lacy beating coverage seemingly at will, and repeatedly connecting with Heisman QB Jayden Daniels for deep shots down field.

Their chemistry and hard work over 2 seasons together was evident in how effortless this offensive combo made it all look, and yet....we flip back the page to QB Jayden Daniels' first season at LSU and what do we see???

Despite Nabers leading the way in targets in 2022 as well as 2023, freshman TE Mason Taylor was second on the list, featuring as a major part of a dysfunctional, sometimes disjointed, at times overly conservative offensive unit that leaned on JD5's legs, Frank Wilson's rushing attack, and a safe passing game.

A big reason for 2022's underwhelming offensive showing?

A lack of familiarity and chemistry, from first year offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock to LSU debutant QB Jayden Daniels and his receiving corps....everyone was new, which created the less aggressive play calling and lack of playmaking firepower in comparison to 2023.

So.....in 2024, with first year starter Garrett Nussmeier at the helm, under newly appointed Co-offensive coordinators Joe Sloan and Cortez Hankton, alongside a mix of returning, unproven and altogether new personnel at receiver, while Mason Taylor, Mac Markway, Ka'morreun Pimpton, and freshman phenom Trey'Dez Green all fill up the tight end room, will this upcoming season elicit a TEU revival?

There are a few factors which point to Slade Nagle's Tight Ends room getting more work this fall:

First, Nussmeier appears to rely on Mason Taylor as an outlet, combining with Taylor for the sophomore's season high (88 yards and 7 catches) during Nussmeier's starting debut win over Wisconsin.

Second, Taylor may be the big name draw, but Slade Nagle's TEs room is loaded with enough passing game threats to challenge Cortez Hankton's WRs for targets:

Mac Markway already played a good amount of snaps as a debutant, blocked well throughout, and scored a touchdown in his freshman campaign, displaying all the traits needed to be a 4 down TE on Kelly's squad.

The real intrigue, as far as the passing game, lies in the hybrid aerial imperialism of red shirt freshman Ka'morreun Pimpton and true freshman Trey'Dez Green.

Pimpton's length and range is extraordinary, however, at 6'5, over 228 pounds and running routes like a robust receiver, Green is a generational homegrown talent, and a rare cheat code athletic profile that gives LSU a second chance at developing such a player (Arik Gilbert anyone???).

The question is: will Pimpton and Green be ready to make an impact in just 5 months?

The third factor as to why 2024 LSU may become more tight end reliant:

Co-OCs Joe Sloan and Cortez Hankton had no problem dialing up effective underneath passing concepts for both tight ends and backs during their play calling (and Nussmeier's starting) debut vs Wisconsin.

Being able to lean on escape valves out of the backfield or within a trusted tight end corps is necessary for Nuss to settle into proceedings....as well as open up the deep shots downfield.

The final factor:

Unlike the 2023 juggernaut offense, where opponents couldn't stop Daniels, Nabers or Thomas (even if they hired Connor Stallions to steal the play calls beforehand), the pressure is on for QB Garrett Nussmeier in Year 1....the more reliable targets he has at his command, the better he'll be.

Shorter routes, quickfire strikes, combined with deep shots using a variety of targets will keep opponents guessing on each play. Alongside a renewed committment to run the ball far more in 2024, this gameplan will look to neutralize and expose opposition coordinators' pressure packages and allow Nuss to manipulate the pocket, keep the chains moving, defenders huffing and puffing, and free up space for chunk plays.

Although there remains questions about which wide receiver will step up and take the mantle left by Nabers & Thomas, LSU's 2024 tight ends room contains such a strong complimentary group of passing game targets, we could see Nagle's Tight Ends involved heavily as aerial threats.


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2024 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

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A maturing Nuss should be able to go through progressions and he has a strong pass protecting line. If he hits the next level, I think the offense will be very balanced.

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