1. What is LSU team's and fan's perception of BYU? Cupcake, great program, or somewhere in between?
I think there's respect for BYU the program. Most of us are confident in the Tigers' chances in this particular game, but I do have to think that last week's game with Portland State has more fans feeling better.
2. How will the loss of Arden Key affect LSU's defense? Does he have capable replacements?
On a short-term basis, I think LSU will be relatively okay. Key is a special talent and we want to get him back on the field as soon as he's ready, but in the meantime, there are some intriguing options. Redshirt freshman Ray Thornton and true frosh K'Lavon Chaisson, a five-star prospect, should share the Buck linebacker spot in Key's absence, and there's a lot of enthusiasm to see what they can do. Chaisson, in particular, has been billed as the "next" Key.
3. LSU suffered some OLine losses in the offseason. Is the OLine unit as a whole a concern?
Very much so -- I would say it is the biggest concern for this offense. Losing Maea Teuhema impacted both guard and tackle, and has pressed freshman Ed Ingram into a starting role. And sure, Ingram was a big-time recruit, but he's playing out of necessity, and that's never ideal with a freshman. It may pay off for this unit down the road, but for right now, we're hoping it won't bite us.
4. What is the expectation for this offense under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada against BYU?
Pretty high. LSU put together some serviceable outtings last year after Coach O took over and promoted Steve Ensminger to OC, so there's a lot of enthusiasm to see what Canada can do after his dynamic year at Pitt. He has a heck of a foundation in running back Derrius Guice, and Danny Etling may not be flashy, but he can be a solid quarterback. BYU should be a strong first test on defense.
5. How do you see this game playing out?
I'm hoping for a fast start, but I'm also realistic enough to know that the Cougars should be game on defense. I do think that LSU's defense should be able to contain the BYU offense though, and eventually the offense will break through. If the Tigers can strike first on special teams or defense though, this might get out of hand quickly.