The Ed Orgeron Era kicks off at LSU Saturday night in a homecoming battle against Missouri.
It’s hard to know what to expect on a number of levels. For one, Mizzou is the only SEC team LSU has never played. In fact, the teams haven’t met since 1978 in the Liberty Bowl.
And then, of course, there’s the fact LSU will be playing its first game since 2004 for a coach other than Les Miles. There’s really no telling what will happen. But we will still attempt to do so.
1. Will Leonard Fournette play?
The early returns aren’t very promising as Fournette has not practiced all week, but unlike the Jacksonville State game I believe that he will at least suit up this week.
“When you walk down that hill and feel all those people, you may feel a little better,” Orgeron said of Fournette’s injured ankle.
2. How opened-up will Steve Ensminger’s offense look?
Let’s be clear: LSU isn’t coming out and running the spread like some fans seem to think, though they will have some four-receiver sets that were getting awfully dusty in the current playbook.
Orgeron and Ensminger aren’t necessarily putting anything new in the mix this week. That’s not something that can be done on the fly. They are just turning to lesser-used pages in the playbook.
However, mark this one down as an Alex Hickey Guarantee: No. 4 receiver Jazz Ferguson will have his first reception Saturday.
3. Will Tiger Stadium eclipse the 100,000 mark for the first time this season?
I don’t think it will be a sellout, but I do believe the excitement of the coaching change and the fact it is homecoming will contribute to the largest crowd of the season to this point. (The Mississippi State game drew 99,910.)
4. Will Arden Key add to his sack total?
Missouri has only allowed one sack all season, which is the best mark in the SEC. Key has a league-high 6.5 sacks. Something’s got to give… and it will be the Mizzou O-line. Missouri fans will be reminded of their own former pass-rushing savant, Aldon Smith (strictly on the field, anyway) when Key wreaks more havoc in the backfield.
5. Who wins?
Put all your money on the Tigers.
I told you last week I was going to use that joke again, and I am a man of my word.
But really, I see LSU topping its season-high of 23 points against an FBS opponent and winning by a couple of touchdowns. But even with the coaching change, it’s hard to picture any game this team is involved in being a blowout, win or lose.