No. 6 LSU debuts new scheme vs. Georgia Southern

Field Level Media

August 27, 2019 at 11:56 pm.

No. 6 LSU and Georgia Southern are in much different places than they were a year ago as they prepare to meet in the 2019 season opener Saturday night.

The Tigers are ranked 19 spots higher than they were in last season’s preseason poll as they prepare to host the Eagles, who last season became just the fourth FBS team to go from a 10-loss season (2-10) to a 10-win season (10-3) in one year.

“None of those rankings matter to me until the season is over,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. “That’s just something that’s out there that’s called noise.

“We’ve got to focus in on the task at hand. We’ve got to be hungry. The team last year, they had character and grit. It was an internal motivation for everybody. We have to have that same internal motivation to take it to the next step this year.”

The Tigers will unveil their new spread option against Georgia Southern. Orgeron hired New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady as passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach to help offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger revamp the offense.

Orgeron said he wants the offense split evenly between the run and the pass.

“We are strictly spread, first time LSU has been strictly spread,” Orgeron said. “We have the talent to be a spread offense. We can go five receivers at any time, four receivers. We’re mainly going to be out of 11 personnel — one tight end, three receivers, one back.

“I want to see speed, we’ll give the receivers the ball in space, let them make plays. But we still want to be physical. We want to control the clock.”

The Eagles like to control the clock as well with their triple-option rushing attack, which Orgeron said the Tigers started preparing for in the spring.

Last season, Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts rushed for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns and passes for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns without throwing an interception.

Werts’ lack of interceptions was a significant factor in the Eagles finishing last season with a plus-22 advantage in turnovers to lead the country last season.

Both teams won bowl games last season as the Tigers reached 10 wins by ending UCF’s 25-game win streak with a 40-28 triumph in the Fiesta Bowl. GSU defeated Eastern Michigan 23-21 in the Camellia Bowl.

“Last year we were figuring out how to win,” Eagles coach Chad Lunsford said. “Now they know how to win and now we’ve got to go do it and execute against a really good football team.

“We’ve got to protect the football. We would have to control the clock. We would have to make sure that we’re flipping the field position when it comes to special teams and make sure we’re not putting our offense or defense in a bad situation. We definitely have got to play disciplined football. We can’t beat ourselves and if we get ourselves in position to finish the football game then we’ve got to finish.”

Georgia Southern’s only victory over a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 came last October at home when it defeated No. 25 Appalachian State 34-14.