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Opponent Q&A: LSU

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Alright, what are we gonna learn about these losers?

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Daddy’s got your favorite content here, a hot Q&A with our fine friends over at And the Valley Shook ahead of this Saturday’s late night affair between Auburn and LSU. The good Tigers are trying to break a 22-year Baton Rouge streak of despair, and we’re going to dive in to see whether or not that’ll happen. Thanks to Zachary Junda over at ATVS for helping out!

In 2015, one of our writers was really disappointed that he was not flipped off by any children, and it was two hours postgame before anyone even cursed at him. If he were attending the game this year, could he expect any better?

Yes because the 2015 game was an especially hot 2:30 CBS game, with temperatures inside the stadium pushing well past 100. So LSU fans were all flipping off the sun and them sumbitches at CBS. But not Verne, obviously. This year’s game is at 8:00 so LSU children have plenty of time to get drunk and angry

Who at LSU needs to get fired for y’all to be allowed to play Neck?

As it pertains to Neck you need to take it up with Ed Orgeron’s fabled binder. But I believe most of the ink has smeared because of all DACOACHOSPITTLEFROMALLDATYELLINHELIKETODO

What’s going on with the offensive line? We keep hearing about running back issues that are partially driven by eligibility issues, but that group up front hasn’t seemed right since 2019 and since 2000 we can’t say that we’ve ever been more surprised by that at LSU knowing the talent level y’all have.

It’s the position that LSU has either under-recruited or flat out missed the most and until they fix that they won’t consistently compete for the CFP. They’ve only got one guy, left guard Ed Ingram, who has a legitimate shot at getting drafted but even then his ceiling is probably a Day 3 pick. The hope is that new offensive line coach Brad Davis, formerly of Arkansas, picked up some good tricks of the trade from Sam Pittman because the previous regime, James Cregg, left the cupboard bare.

Last time out for Auburn we saw TJ Finley come in cold off the bench and lead his team to an ugly victory. We’ve seen him make some pretty throws, and despite not playing perfectly, the offense in general responded to his energy. Yet, we also saw what happened when he played an SEC defense in Jordan-Hare last year. What can we realistically expect Finley if he makes the start?

A whole heck of a lot of arm talent. Maybe the best arm in the entire conference. He’s a bit of a statue in the pocket however, he’s nowhere near the athlete that sweet tea salesman Bo Nix is. Accuracy and touch was always the big question mark surrounding Finley coming out of high school. His completion percentage coming out of high school was actually under 50 percent. Now Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had similar knocks throughout college and into his first two NFL seasons and he made a massive leap, so I suppose it can be done; but the Bills also got him an All-Pro wide receiver to throw to and I don’t see any future All-Pro receivers on Auburn’s roster. But above all else you’ll see a guy who gives a shit.

Who would LSU fans rather us start at quarterback?

I would absolutely rather see the late night comedy special that is Bo Nix get the start. That dude stinks, I don’t know how you all have put up with him the past three years.

With LSU beating Mississippi State, Coach O’s revenge tour is partially complete. I guess we’re up next. What’s the actual temperature on Ed O? Whether or not he beats Auburn, there’s a stretch of four straight games against (currently) top 12 teams. LSU probably won’t be favored in any of them. If the next several weeks fall on the wrong side of the win-loss column, what’s the percentage he sticks around?

The magic number (tragic number?) for Coach O this year is 5. If LSU goes 7-5 this year it’s a wrap; that’s partly why the UCLA loss is so disappointing. That said, I’m not so sure an 8-4 season is good enough either, especially with the Title IX lawsuits looming over the university. To be perfectly honest I’m not expecting him to be here in 2022. I think he’s blown far too much cache with his off the field antics (challenging fans to fights, getting photographed with women in bed or at the beach or walking the streets of L.A. literally the day before the UCLA game) and the on the field results aren’t good enough.

Tell us about Max Johnson and his streak of three-touchdown games. Seems like he’s taken to the offense and knows where to go with the ball. Aside from Kayshon Boutte, who are we going to be watching out for?

First off he’s left-handed and that’s awesome. Second Johnson’s interesting because I think he’s the least gifted passer on LSU’s roster and is more of a product of the skill players surrounding him, and yet he’s a gamer. I mean come on, he’s 16th in passing yards and has as many touchdowns, 15, as Bryce Young. Imagine how that would be received pre-Joe Burrow. That said he doesn’t have the best arm, the best example came in week three against Central Michigan and last week against Mississippi State. In the Chippewa game, Johnson threw a 50/50 ball on a go route that was a tad bit underthrown but freshman wide out Deion Smith went up and just took from the DB; well a week later LSU runs a similar play but this time it was intercepted. I fear as the season progresses and LSU really gets into the meat of its schedule, Johnson’s limitations will only be further exposed, especially if the offensive line can’t open up the running game.

As for non-Boutte players to watch for, LSU’s going with a youth movement out wide. LSU signed four highly touted receivers last year and the aforementioned Deion Smith was the highest ranked of the bunch. Jack Bech is a flex tight end receiver they were hoping to have with Arik Gilbert before he left the program; and Brian Thomas Jr. is a massive 6’4” kid who had major D1 offers to play basketball and you can see it in the way he controls his body going up for jump balls.

Auburn fans want this one to break the streak, obviously, so it’s really no surprise that we have to try to do it at the latest possible kickoff with a full day of liquordom scheduled for LSU fans. How have Death Valley atmospheres been so far this season? With just McNeese and CMU, I imagine the fans are ready to cut loose a bit.

Pretty dour. Losing to UCLA in week one killed all excitement for the week 2 home opener against McNeese State; and then LSU went out and struggled against an FCS opponent and that only killed the mood even more for week 3 against Central Michigan. But I believe that win over Mississippi State coupled with the 8:00 kick against a ranked rival will mean Tiger Stadium will return to its full glory.

In both of the games against Power Five teams, LSU gave up more than 480 yards. Where are the issues on defense right now? Who’s got to have a good game for LSU to defend well against Auburn?

Well contextually speaking the yards surrendered to Mississippi State were almost by design. After Bo Pelini refused to play zone in last year’s 623 yard debacle against Mississippi State, new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones only rushed three and dropped eight into coverage. Now, that said teams are having success running against LSU because the linebacker unit still leaves something to be desired. But perhaps the group’s taken the right steps, Damone Clark was SEC defensive player of the week last weekend with 15 tackles against Mississippi State and Clemson transfer Mike Jones (WHO?) is starting to settle into playing in the box.

If we’re talking Sunday morning about LSU sitting at 4-1, what’s happened?

The LSU defensive line that runs about eight or nine deep made life miserable for Bo Nix and/or TJ Finley and a secondary, even without Derek Stingley, put the clamps on Auburn’s receivers. Offensively Max Johnson spreads the ball around to a whole host of playmakers out wide (and probably picks himself up off the turf a time or two...or eight) and All-American kicker Cade York swings the game with a few clutch field goals.

Prediction?

I think we’re looking at one of the stupider LSU-Auburn games but I think whatever Tiger Stadium hex you guys have struggled with the past 22 years continues to 2023 and LSU wins a real close one 23-21.

LAME. War Eagle!