top of page

SPRING GAME 2024 PREVIEW

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO SUPPORT LSUODYSSEY's MISSION IN PROVIDING TRAILBLAZING, CONSISTENT TIGERS COVERAGE

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


On Saturday, LSU's 2024 squad will battle alongside and "against" one another for the first time in front of the public, inside Tiger Stadium, during the upcoming L Club Spring Game....and there are many intriguing characters, storylines, and possibilities within this group ready to play out in front of the eyes of LSU Nation.

LSUOdyssey has some questions, a few thoughts, a room-full of Tigers or coaches to keep an eye out for on Saturday, as well as a very tantalizing possibility ahead.


HOW MUCH WILL THIS SPRING GAME REALLY TELL US ABOUT BLAKE BAKER'S LSU DEFENSE?

How much can a glorified scrimmage & a single spring camp tell us about Blake Baker's 2024 Tigers defense??

You're not going to gleam much from some half tackles and two hand touch pass rushing, however the game beyond the game is where my eyes will be locked.

More than anything, I will pay attention to the usage of personnel, how the linebackers, edge men or safeties rotate, who are Baker, Peoples, or Olsen's main men?

Will Bo Davis' interior defensive line be able to sustain any amount of push against America's #1 offensive line???

Could we really see, once and for all, just how bad the D-line situation is at LSU??? Or has Bo Davis already maximized those D-linemen on roster ahead of May-June transfer portal arrivals???

Will Greg Penn III or Whit Weeks start at linebacker?

Will Corey Raymond stick with Toviano & Stamps as his corner duo on the outside as his first string? Or did PJ Woodland make enough of an impression to garner a Spring Game start?

Baker will set up his defense in the most vanilla way possible, formationally speaking, so as to not show LSU's hand to opponents. So don't base any concerns about the upcoming season on how Baker's formations look on Saturday. Still, watch for the movement of the defense and how things flow, if guys are flying fast to the ball with calculation and aggression or if they're still off, specifically in coverage.


WILL QB GARRETT NUSSMEIER SILENCE HIS CRITICS W/ 0 INTs??

QB Garrett Nussmeier has always been lauded for his elite arm strength and accuracy, while his game expanded over the past season to include fantastic movement or manipulation of the pocket, poise in front of pressure, and even sharper velocity / precision passing.....and yet the one drawback that continues to feed Nuss's critics reared its head a few times during high profile moments in spring: turnovers.

The LSU red shirt junior starter tossed 3 picks in one practice to free safety Sage Ryan, as well as a few other documented INTs over camp; Following a winter & Spring full of fanbase faith & trust in Nussmeier as "the guy", the chorus of naysayers has picked up a tad.

Due to our reactionary fanbase, if he were to throw a few ill advised interceptions at points in the Spring Game, we'll be forced to hear questions about Nuss throughout the next few months and into Fall Camp.

While practice interceptions happen far more frequently than the common fan would believe (JD5 threw plenty of picks across last spring & fall camp, and that wasn't indicative of a poor QB or a great defense), the interception narrative is the one thorn in Nussmeier's side, preventing a swath of analysts, fans etc from taking his game & starter status seriously.

Regardless if he threw 5 INTs next Saturday, the QB job is Garrett Nussmeier's unless injury or something calamitous occurs. But Nuss can't bank on that "guarantee"....he must leave no doubt, showing control and a cutting edge approach to the 2024 campaign.

I want to see Nuss at his most electric, but he can't get too high or too low....just keep it even keel, rock and roll, steal the show, slice and dice, take what the defense gives him, and sustain a constant attacking rhythm on offense.


SPECIAL TEAMS

The #1 most ignored phase of the game still continues to bite LSU in the ass now 2 1/2 seasons into the Brian Kelly era, yet on the cusp of year 3, Kelly's solution to the 2 years of special teams agony was the partnership of former edge rushing coach Bob Diaco and newly minted TEs Coach Slade Nagle, who was in fact a former special teams assistant under Joe Robinson at LSU back in 2009.

We won't hold anything negative from 2009 special teams against him too much, regardless of the circumstances, it is worth noting: he only coached special teams at one other stop along his resume, at McNeese from 2012-2015.

With plenty of hungry young talents on roster who will be too inexperienced for a starting gig, but still desperate for any reps they can find, can LSU turn a profound weakness into a strength?

Identifying their kicking jobs may be of significance, as well, due to the departure of Ray Guy nominee punter Jay Bramblett alongside the inconsistency of kicker Damian Ramos.

Red shirt junior Peyton Todd is set for his first season as starting punter, third year Tiger Nathan Dibert on kickoffs, and Ramos hoping for a big season in 2024.

We have no idea how they'll perform until live reps, inside a stadium, players flying into the action with ears pinned back right into their line of sight....how will the kicking game & the co-coaching hold up???


THE EFFECT OF OUR NEW COACHES

One of the most interesting aspects will be the way LSU's new coaching hires lead their position groups in front of the public for the first time at Death Valley.

Which Tigers are winning over their new coaches?

Which Tigers respond best to their respective coach's style?

Which Tigers resemble the vibe and mentality of their coach on the field?

I expect a lot of energy from this staff, just as we've seen all Spring long, yet this time coupled together with an intense business mindset.


WHICH WR TAKES THE DAY???

In the 2021 Spring Game, former Tiger WR (and sometimes QB) Jontre Kirklin went for 264 yards, 16 catches and 3 TDs....and yet could only muster 49 yards receiving during the entirety of that campaign.

The point?

A dominant Spring Game doesn't guarantee a transcendental fall....although for this group, I expect something a lot different than a 200 yard game followed up by an anonymous campaign.

Thanks to Kyren Lacy and Chris Hilton Jr towering over the rest of the receiver room at this juncture, showcasing exactly what LSU needed after losing two 1st round picks at WR, Cortez Hankton's room looks stout once again.

Both Lacy and Hilton have attacked the offseason with everything they've got, feeling inspired, locked in, working around the clock, and dreaming big.

We should expect some fireworks from the pair, making sure to send a message before the summer break.

Are these two the next great WRU duo??

Or, will transfers CJ Daniels, Zavion Thomas, returning speedster Aaron Anderson, hometown hero Shelton Sampson Jr, the athletic Khai Prean or the lengthy size of RJ Willis be able to cut into the veteran leaders' supremacy?


SPRING GAME PREVIEW PT. II

COMING TO A SCREEN NEAR YOU!

JOIN THE LIVE SHOW

ON FRIDAY @ 5PM CENTRAL


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2024 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

126 views0 comments

Comentarios


bottom of page