Originally appeared on CrescentCitySports.com
Ed Orgeron, Joe Burrow and the rest of the LSU Tigers had been clear all offseason that this year was the one where the offense was going to step into the 21st century.
LSU has never had a shortage of playmakers. The names are familiar to those who watch football on Saturdays and Sundays – Fournette, Landry, Beckham Jr., Guice – just to name a few. As impressive as they were in Baton Rouge, it always felt like there could have been…more.
By hiring former Saints assistant Joe Brady and employing a spread attack, Orgeron was signaling that a page had been turned. Plenty of evidence of that came in their 55-3 season-opening romp over Georgia Southern.
“We’re more advanced on offense than we’ve ever been,” said Orgeron during one of his stops along the Coaches Caravan this summer. “One of the things that we have to do at LSU in the spread offense is give our players space, put the ball in their hands and let them make plays.”
Scoring 55 points with ease against a team that won 10 games last season showed the Tigers senior quarterback was not exaggerating this summer.
“I think we’re going to score a lot of points, and I don’t think a lot of people are used to LSU scoring 40, 50, 60 points a game,” Burrow said during the offseason.
Burrow, wearing his number nine, looked a lot like Brady’s former colleague in New Orleans who also sports that jersey number, Drew Brees, at times. Burrow had the accuracy, completing 23 of his 27 attempts. He had the yards, throwing for 278 in just about two and a half quarters of action. He had the touchdowns; tossing a school-record tying five to three different receivers.
More than a few plays looked like they were called in from the Superdome.
The Tigers racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense, even after taking the foot off the gas early in the second half. There were 14 different receivers who caught a pass. LSU’s deep and talented backfield saw five different runners get carries. The much-maligned offensive line kept quarterbacks Burrow and Myles Brennan clean by not allowing a sack.
The offense moved quickly, employing the no-huddle throughout. LSU’s longest scoring drive lasted 3:50. On their nine scoring possessions, the Tigers took about two minutes and thirty-five seconds to put points on the board.
LSU was prepared. The confidence, bordering on cockiness, that Burrow showed had been backed up. The quarterback knew who to thank for putting him and his team in position to dominate the way they did.
“Whenever they call a play and you have an answer to every coverage, every blitz they can give you, you feel good as a quarterback, as long as you can handle it mentally,” said Burrow after the game. “I know I can handle it mentally. Whatever I see against the defense, I have answers for it.”
The exciting thing for the Tigers, and the scary thing for their opponents, is that LSU didn’t dig too deeply into its bag against the Eagles. The offense may have only scratched the surface of their considerable capabilities.
“I don’t think that we showed a lot on offense,” said sophomore wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. “I felt like we only ran a few plays, but we did spread the ball around.”
The “Everybody Eats” mantra that the offense has adopted will be hard to live up to with the abundance of talent at the skill positions that LSU has; but that’s what makes the Tigers such a potential nightmare for defenses the rest of the season.
“You’ve got Justin (Jefferson), you’ve got Ja’Marr…you’ve got all these other guys, so you can’t double-team,” said sophomore Terrace Marshall Jr., who caught three touchdown passes from Burrow. “If one person doesn’t eat, at least the other person will.”
The Tigers didn’t seem like a team that had its fill. They have reservations scheduled for 11 of the next 13 weeks. Still hungry. Still ready to eat.
Next up on the menu, the Texas Longhorns. Someone should call Austin and let them know that the Tigers are coming; and they’re bringing their appetites.