With the departure of Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase, the Tigers’ offense will need certain players to step up in order to contend with last year’s production.
LSU comes into the season ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll and sixth in the AP Poll, possibly contending for consecutive championships.
The first question on everyone’s minds is the quarterback. Projected starter Myles Brennan is tied for third in the preseason Heisman polls, but are those expectations too high for a quarterback that has never started a game?
The answer is no. Not only was he a highly sought-after recruit who broke multiple Mississippi high school passing records, but he has also learned from Heisman winner Joe Burrow and offensive masterminds Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady.
It isn’t a secret that Joe Burrow’s success at the quarterback position played a large role in the Tigers’ successful 2019-2020 season, so the pressure on Brennan to follow that season up is there. It can also be agreed that Burrow wasn’t the only offensive contributor.
It’s extremely difficult for a star quarterback to have success without talented weapons surrounding him, regardless of Brennan's talent. With Justin Jefferson departure during the draft and Ja’Marr Chase preparing for next year’s draft, the wide receiver department has also become a question.
Those are some big shoes to fill, but LSU has the weapons to make it work. Junior Terrace Marshall Jr. is worthy of taking Chase’s No. 1 spot and senior Racey McMath is right behind him. Freshmen Kayshon Boutte and Koy Moore will also have early chances to prove themselves.
The team needs these players to step up for this team to move the ball, and new passing game coordinator, Scott Linehan, will need to have a scheme prepared that suits them best. But it isn’t all up to the skill positions because the quarterback and receivers can’t prosper without the offensive line.
Like Brennan and the wide receiving core, the offensive line also has big shoes to fill, as the previous line won the Joe Moore award. The kicker is that the team only has one returning starter from that group in Austin Deculus.
Junior Ed Ingram and Harvard transfer Liam Shanahan have each proven themselves, with Ingram starting his freshman year at LSU and Shanahan being a first team All-Ivy offensive lineman. But the other projected starters, Chasen Hines and Dare Rosenthal, have received limited action.
Overall, the offense has a lot of unproven potential, and after losing eight starters who went pro, that is expected. The Tigers welcome the challenge and will look to prove themselves in about a month’s time.