Joe Burrow could change LSU’s outlook in 2018
By John Luke McCord
If you’ve been paying attention to what Hour Glass analytics are saying about LSU this offseason, then you’re already likely preparing for the debacle that could ensue.
In case you haven’t, here’s what you need to know: the Tigers sit at 17th in the HG Way Too Early Top 25, but the analytics project them to finish 5-7 versus the fourth most difficult schedule in the SEC.
So how does that happen? Well, the HG analytics gives LSU an overall team stamp of 103.65. That is mostly due to the program’s impressive 90.51 three-recruiting stamp, which ranks 7th best in the FBS. Even Ed Orgeron’s coaching stamp of 3.5 sits right at the national average in that category.
The reason for expected failure in Baton Rouge in 2018 again surrounds mystery at the quarterback position. Myles Brennan, an unproven sophomore, appears to be the guy who will win the job at this point. His HG QB stamp of 1.7 ranks him as the 13th best returning signal caller in the SEC, ahead of only Drew Barker - who isn’t returning to Kentucky.
Orgeron’s promises of an innovative, spread offensive attack upon his appointment to full-time head coach have fallen through. The hype surrounding his hire of Matt Canada as offensive coordinator ended poorly. Now the Tigers are left without a player of star quality at the running back position for the first time in many seasons.
Sure, there are talented options to take the reins in the backfield, the offensive line should be strong and the receiver group is full of talent. However, new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger will be tasked with the challenge of finding an offensive identity that marries the passing game and the run game, something that has befuddled the program dating back to the demise of Les Miles.
Just recently a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of Ohio State grad transfer Joe Burrow, who is not only immediately eligible but also has two years left.
For the Buckeyes, Burrow just never seemed to be a fit as he was consistently beaten out by more mobile quarterbacks. But for LSU, he could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Tigers have speed on the edge, and will in some way or another inevitably build their offense around the ground game. That means a quarterback with experience, strong leadership and situational/clutch accuracy is the right fit.
Though Burrow has limited game action (more than all QBs on LSU roster combined, though), his talent is obvious. First off, he was a consensus four-star recruiting when he signed to play for Urban Meyer. Then take into account the fact that he made it a battle in a room full of talented QBs in Columbus. Also recall his big performance in the recent OSU spring game in which he tossed three TDs.
While I’ve been vocal this offseason about a potential down season on the Bayou, the addition of Burrow might have me changing my tune. I think it’s safe to say others would trust the Tigers’ chances a bit more, as well, if they can add Burrow to their QB competition.
He is expected to visit LSU this weekend, on the heels of a visit to Cincinnati. Florida is another team speculated to be in the race for his services.