Updated: May 23
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
#5: OUR PASSING GAME WILL GET EVEN BETTER????
Many of the so-called analysts who deprived 30 year old Joe Brady of his due credit (throughout the 2019 juggernaut season) are now dousing LSU's offensive future in lighter fluid and setting it ablaze due to his mere absence.
Most of these fools will never muster the strength to dare research (Brady's replacement) passing game coordinator Scott Linehan's offensive powerhouse in Detroit or Minnesota, let alone the offensive expertise of WRs Impresario Mickey Joseph as well as the hiring of superstar analysts Carter Sheridan (Saints WRs Coach for 11 seasons) and Russ Callaway (longtime NFL and Saban-defecting collegiate veteran with 2 National Championships).
We keep hearing about all the guys LSU lost in the draft, we get it...
Still, this is the same obstacle we've had to survive each season for the last decade plus....but this time, we're finally at a place where the continuity and depth insurance from season to season is in place at long last.
In fact, our receiving corps may be more explosive, expansive and deeper than 2019's G.O.A.T apocalyptic synthesis:
Sure, Justin Jefferson may be gone, but we still have the best WR tandem in the country: Ja'Marr Chase (best overall) and Terrace Marshall, both with 3 years of eligibility left between them and they've already caught 33 combined TDs.
That doesn't even scratch the surface of the possibilities within year 2.5 of Ensminger's offensive symphonic thrust:
There's Trey Palmer, a speedster who Tigers WR legend / current co-Director of Player Development Eddie Kennison said "reminds me of myself at his age", while WRs Coach Mickey Joseph and Head Coach Ed Orgeron both dubbed Trey "an unbelievable talent".
Palmer is an emphatic, dual threat overlord who could push for the #3 or even the #2 starting WR spot (meanwhile, he'll possibly resume his role as PR/KR: outside of Baskerville's blocked punt return scoop and score, Trey Palmer became the only Tiger to score a special teams TD in 2019)
However, we feel 5-Star freshman Kayshon Boutte will be the #3 WR if given the opportunities, such is his bountiful pace, virtuosic hands and shifty turbine of propelling moves in space.
WRs Coach Mickey Joseph already testified on Boutte's behalf, informing us all about the Westgate High devastator's generational speed and agility; but the most interesting piece of info stemming from the former Nebraska QB's OTB interview (which sounded alarm bells across the desks of all defensive coordinators)????
Boutte is in possession of two "natural catcher's hands"...then, Joseph one-upped himself by declaring these natural hands were extreme in their similarity to Ja'Marr Chase's mittens. He finished by saying "Justin Jefferson had to get to that level...but Kayshon is already there."
Considering Boutte is a guy who hasn't featured in a single official snap in purple and gold, appearing in a slight three practices, these were stunning words coming from one of LSU's most hard-nosed coaches on staff.
In 2020, the only trace of Boutte defenders will be able to follow will be his Bootay shaking its way to the end zone, leaving countless defenders scattered as split atoms defunct in primordial servitude, lost amidst the ashes of his wake, 40 yards back in the distance of a trail marked by blood, bone and a haze of smoke coming from under his wheels.
Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger also highlighted #17 Racey McMath as another big time target, an experienced skyscraper who could assume the third starting spot due to his vast knowledge of the offense and treetop-skipping aerial abilities.
Then there's history-in-the-making / history-for-the-taking, once in a lifetime freshman phantom, Marrietta Georgia's Arik Gilbert, a tight end / receiver combo who's tape shows a man consumed with hellbent for leather rage, power, unbridled Eric Dickerson-esque finesse and disorienting speed behind the line of scrimmage, catching screens and juking, jiving, smashing through or climbing over defenders in his way, showing a supernatural gift for yards after catch and a biblical will to gain yardage...oh and by the way, he's 6'5 and weighs 253 pounds.
How could he be possible?
How can anyone look at the threat of Gilbert's mere presence, see the two proven talisman receivers we've got out wide, the plethora of WR options in supply just waiting to erupt, as well as the trio of complimentary RBs and feel LSU's offense will struggle this season?
Gilbert, much like Thaddeus Moss, isn't just a versatile weapon in the passing game, he's a former defensive end who's far from just a willing and capable blocker:
He'll flatten pass rushers into oblivion (defensive end happens to be the position many LSU fans would love to see him play..."hey guys this isn't The Saban Era").
#4: OFFENSIVE EVOLUTION / MYLES BRENNAN
Coupled with our passing game or our trio of experienced, multi-dimensional, National Championship-winning, all-purpose running backs Tyrion Davis-Price, Chris Curry and the heroic John Emery Jr, this offense is poised to evolve and elevate.
Throughout 2019, quarterback Myles Brennan showed off a 92% efficiency rating, gaining much needed chemistry with the present fixtures of Cregg's offensive line (Ed Ingram, Chasen Hines, Dare Rosenthal) all three sophomore running backs, and WRs Racey McMath, Terrace Marshall or the impressive, hard-working and soon to explode senior WR (and former CB) Jontre Kirklin.
Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger believes Myles is ready to run this offense, though he's been forced to wait yet again when Spring practices were shut down after a mere 3 outings.
It's okay...he's used to this.
"In those three practices, Myles showed me more than in the previous 3 years combined," came a rare Ensminger boast from a recent Off The Bench interview.
Myles has the "Burrow edge" now...he's been doubted, vilified, second-guessed, mocked and thrown away more times than we can remember in his LSU career...he played vs Troy, he was there for the changing of the guards in Bayou country....and he's in the same position as Joe:
The spot was his, then it was taken twice...he had to sit back holding a clipboard and headset and watch Joe win a National Championship, becoming the Michael Jordan of college football.
76 TDs in the air and 13 on the ground in only two seasons will be a tough act to follow, however Myles Brennan doesn't need to follow this act for us to defend our 2019 title:
Look for our RBs and the addition of colossus Arik Gilbert (out wide, in the slot or down in his stance) to aid Myles during this transition process as his main safety valves, just as Burrow had Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Thaddeus Moss to look for in the flat / over the middle to keep the chains moving.
Brennan's decision making and his feet will each decide how far LSU goes in 2020: He can't merely stand back there and launch dimes...
Myles won't have the luxury of statuesque JaMarcus-isms during the SEC West bloodbaths vs Alabama and Auburn in November, the trip to the Swamp in October or the rebound date with McConaughey, Sam Ehlinger and Texas...though Burrow had the benefit of being surrounded by Cushenberry, Charles, McGee & Damien Lewis among others, Myles doesn't.
He can't rely on the offensive line to provide him 8 seconds every snap:
To win games against the best defenses, Joe Burrow found himself repeatedly forced to scramble, extend the play and often pull off insidious throws on the run, launching frontal lobe-shattering passes vs Georgia, Oklahoma, Clemson, Texas, Alabama etc (Moss's catch on the first LSU play of the title game was sadly wiped off due to a penalty).
These throws on-the-run were reminiscent of Larry Bird taking an off-balance, beautifully calculated three pointer...frozen in time, lingering in space and then dropping at the precise moment the anvil falls.
Myles doesn't have to be that good, but he needs to show escape-ability & durability for us to return to the CFP.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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