2018 LSU football preview on the HourGlass
By John Luke McCord -
There’s not a lot of confidence breaming from LSU this offseason. The Tigers face the toughest schedule in the SEC, according to HourGlass analytics and third hardest in the country, which includes dates against Miami and Auburn in September. Furthermore, in Ed Orgeron’s second offseason as the Tigers’ head coach many of the same question marks linger over the program.
First, I must tell you that LSU ranks third best in the mighty SEC when it comes to 3-year recruiting average, according to the HourGlass. But, projected starting QB Myles Brennan ranks 13th in the league among returning signal callers with a mere 1.7 HourGlass QB stamp. Orgeron himself ranks only 6th in the conference with an HG coaching stamp of 3.5, and is trailed closely by two first-year head coaches in Joe Moorhead and Jeremy Pruitt, as well as Chad Morris and Matt Luke. The average coaching stamp in 2018 in all of college football per our metrics is a value of 3.75.
Perhaps the two biggest keys to 2018 for the Tigers is who emerges at QB and whether or not a star emerges at the tailback spot to follow NFL back Leonard Fournette and the departed Derrius Guice.
While the offensive line and receiver groups are by no means stacked, they both are far less concerning areas. Tackle could be an area where the Tigers take longer to figure it out, but there is experience on the offensive line even with departed NFL talent. At receiver some combination of Jonathan Giles, Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis and company will figure it out. But who will be throwing them the ball, is still in question. Sure, we mentioned Myles Brennan earlier, but let’s be real, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan are squarely in the race. Narcissee and McMillan are more mobile options, but still capable passers in Steve Ensminger’s offense.
There is no heir apparent at running back, but senior back Nick Brossette is back and should get the first and most cracks in the backfield this season. Clyde Edwards-Helaire will get some carries, as will youngsters Chris Curry and Tae Provens. This position will likely only be as good as its surrounding parts this season, due to the lack of game-breaking ability in the group.
Ready for the good news? The LSU defense is going to be stingy. In fact, the amount of talent oozing from the Tigers’ defensive depth chart would lead me to believe it could be in line for a season similar to what Georgia pulled off on that side of the ball in 2017. Four names to follow up front are: Ed Alexander, Rashard Lawrence, Breiden Fehoko and K’Lavon Chaisson. It’ll be hard to go toe-to-toe for 60 minutes with a group of linebackers like Devin White, Jacob Phillips Patrick Queen and Michael Divinity. And in the defensive backfield it gets even better with Greedy Williams, Eric Monroe, Patrick Surtain, John Battle, Grant Delpit, Krisitian Fulton and others.
The optimistic view for LSU is that they ride their defense, while Nick Brossette takes a major step in Ensminger’s scheme and takes a load off the quarterback position. Even in that scenario, the Tigers would need to use their athleticism to make plays in the kicking game to get enough points to navigate their challenging schedule. The pessimistic view is that QB play dooms the Tigers, the offense can’t stay on the field and it wears down their talented defensive unit.
HG analytics pick: 5-7, 6th in SEC West
My pick: 5-7, 5th in SEC West
Last Year’s Analytics Pick for LSU 10-2; Actual Record 8-4 (83 percent accuracy)
2018 LSU Analytics –
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking: 7th – Inside our Realistic College Football Championship Bust Line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Ed Orgeron on HG Scale: 30th (Orgeron Stamp at 3.5) – Average coaching value for 2018 set at 3.75.
LSU quarterback play rated 101st in the country out of 130 teams. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2018 is 8.3. LSU has a stamp of 1.7.