Matt Canada's offense has evolved throughout the years at his various stops and on Saturday night, the Tigers' new offensive coordinator will unveil his LSU version of the attack, or at least parts of it.
Ed Orgeron said on Thursday the staff wasn't exactly sure how much they'd show in the spring game, but here's what Tiger Blitz will be watching for on Saturday.
Quarterbacks in live action
In the limited amount of time media is given to view practice, we haven't seen the quarterbacks do anything other than throw routes on air. It'll be our first look in live action at Danny Etling since the Citrus Bowl win and Justin McMillan's, Lindsey Scott's and Caleb Lewis' time to show what they can do. We expect Lowell Narcisse to be held out of live action at this point.
A few things we're watching specifically:
- How will they handle pressure?
- How will the offense flow when they're in the game? Will they get in and out of the huddle quickly?
- Will they play mistake-free? That's critical to Canada.
- Who can hit the big play?
- How does the play-calling change with each quarterback?
Etling proved as the year progressed to be a little more of a playmaker at times rather than just a game-manager and in this offense, he'll be asked to hit more balls down the field. Taking the right shots though will make all the difference in making big plays and being careless though.
LSU has a group of pretty diverse quarterbacks and while the quarterbacks aren't live, don't be surprised to see a few quarterback runs called with Scott or even McMillan.
From talking to a few folks on Thursday, LSU's offense has given the defense complete fits this spring. Multiple people told Tiger Blitz that and we'll see if LSU's defense can rise to the occasion on Saturday night to stop Canada's offense.
Play-calling: All of it
It's like Christmas morning. LSU fans (and the media) get to unwrap Canada's new offense at LSU.
From jet sweeps to deep shots to H-Backs, it'll all be new to us for the most part. While LSU will likely limit some of the things it shows, especially personnel groupings, the basics like sweeps and deep shots figure to be on display. Those are things that teams know LSU will do. It's on tape. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1771986-lsu-spring-game-loaded-wi...
How LSU uses its weapons in groupings and certain plays will be kept a secret until BYU faces the Tigers in Houston. As Canada put it earlier this spring to Tiger Blitz, LSU isn't looking to win today. That will come in the fall.
Canada hasn't been trying to make Dave Aranda's defense look bad, but the offense has done just that — to the tune of over 500 yards in each scrimmage. How will the battle go when the lights come on in Tiger Stadium on Saturday?
For a football junkie like myself, I'll have plenty to work through over the next week or so on LSU's offense and the play-calling Canada shows on Saturday.
Watch LSU work on jet sweeps at practice below.
Plenty of competition at wide receiver
Senior wide receiver and newly minted No. 7 D.J. Chark is the unquestioned leader of the LSU wide receivers group and he'll get a chance to show off his big play potential even more with deep balls and jet sweeps. From there, Mickey Joseph's receivers will get a chance to show in a game-like atmosphere who can really shine.
Drake Davis and Russell Gage have been the two receivers most commonly mentioned by Orgeron during press conferences and have been making plays all spring according to Orgeron. They'll get a chance to show what they can do.
On the other side, seldom-mentioned Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan are two big-bodied receivers that will get a shot at showing what they can do, as will Derrick Dillon, who is a member of the "Jet Sweep Guys." LSU needs big performances out of that trio to solidify solid depth at receiver heading into fall camp.
Freshman early enrollee Mannie Netherly, who has struggled at times adjusting to college football expectations, but has also made some plays, will get to show what he can do before fellow freshman receiver Racey McMath gets to Baton Rouge in the summer.
Young offensive line gets shot at extended playing time
Center Lloyd Cushenberry will get the start at center and expect Jakori Savage to work at right tackle, but LSU will use the game to get plenty of experience for early enrollee Austin Deculus and redshirt freshman Willie Allen. Donavaughn Campbell is not expected to play as he's been in a non-contact jersey for much of the spring.
So the patchwork unit on the first team will get a lot of work and then add in walk-ons to fill out the units for the second team or shuffle other guys around. It could allow for a lot of pressure to get to the backup quarterbacks on Saturday.
- Running back Darrel Williams has had a great spring with being about 15 pounds lighter and with bubble wrap expected for Derrius Guice, he'll get a chance to shine.
- There's a battle behind Williams between Nicholas Brossette and Lanard Fournette. Interested to see how that plays out.
- With Scout 300 quarterback Justin Rogers in attendance, it'll be interested to see how many shots down the field LSU takes.
- The tight ends and fullbacks are now grouped into one H-Back category. How are they used and moved around will be something to watch.
- Snap counts for guys like Guice, Malone and Chark will be something to watch on Saturday night. All three are key guys for the Tigers and the staff knows what they've got from them for the most part.