Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now that LSU lost to Troy last week by a final score of 24-21. As if that wasn’t demoralizing enough, they paid Troy almost $1,000,000 to visit LSU on homecoming night for that game. With this being their second loss in three weeks – they also lost 37-7 to Mississippi State – I don’t think it’s unfair to assume LSU may have a problem on their hands early in the season.
Their biggest issue is likely the running back situation. Derrius Guice is a top-3 back in the nation, but he’s caught a case of the injuries this year in a similar fashion to his predecessor, Leonard Fournette, last season. While Darrel Williams is not a bad running back, he is by no means at nearly the same level of talent as Guice. For a team that relies heavily on its run-game to get the offense going, not having your best player out there healthy is a significant issue.
Additionally, there’s this persistent problem they have at properly acquiring a really good starting QB. Danny Etling is a solid game manager, but that’s all he is: a game manager. He’s not the type of passer who can carry a team to victory; his role is better-suited for holding the lead and making throws only when he needs to. At least he’s better than the man who formerly held his role: former 5-star QB Brandon Harris, who’s currently the backup on a 1-4 UNC football team. Still, it’s been quite a while since the Tigers had a signal-caller they could put a lot of faith in.
Finally, there’s the fact that they don’t seem to have the same energetic, elite defense that they’ve had in years past. LSU has always been a defense-first football program, and for that reason there really is no excuse for giving up 37 points to Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs. I understand that losing players like Tre’Davious White to the NFL hurts, but in a sport with such consistent turnover, you have to have ready-made replacements. In all honesty, outside of Arden Key, how many defensive players can you name for LSU? I’ll bet it isn’t many, as they really don’t have any other marquee names on that side of the ball anymore.
So, looking at the big picture for LSU: 1) They can’t keep their superstar RBs healthy; 2) They lack the capability to develop a QB who can make plays on his own; and 3) Their defense seems to have taken a significant step backwards. When you put all of that together, it makes sense why LSU has hit a bit of a cold streak at this point in the season. There’s still a good amount of time left in the season, but LSU needs to get their act together quickly if they want to make it a worthwhile one.
Cover photo courtesy USA Today Sports.