LSU enters the 2022 season with a chip on its shoulder. After back-to-back subpar seasons, the Tigers have significant room to improve this year, but it starts with Game 1 against Florida State.
The first game of the Brian Kelly era will have quite the atmosphere in the Caesars SuperDome as LSU fans will have their work cut out for them. The electric Florida State faithful will surely make the trek to New Orleans, making it an incredible debut venue.
With game day roughly 24 hours away, the storylines are abundant, with both programs looking to get things started on the right foot.
Here are a few things to monitor with kickoff vastly approaching:
Brian Kelly Provides Structure, Detailed Preparation
Kelly has been on campus for about nine months, and it’s safe to say the culture has shifted significantly. Whether it be structure, alignment between players and coaches, or the entire program being held accountable, LSU is headed in the right direction.
It all gets started Sunday night against Florida State. Kelly harped on preparing this team ahead of the matchup against the Seminoles. Just how have things gone?
It’s no secret this team is much more disciplined under Kelly. We’ve heard about the study sessions, the checklists, and more, but now it’s time to see the results. By no means will one game tell the story of the entire season, but a victory here would undoubtedly set the tone.
Let’s Talk About the Quarterbacks
Head coach Brian Kelly will not name a starting quarterback before LSU’s season opener against Florida State. Despite knowing who their guy will be, Kelly and his coaching staff feel it gives them a “tactical advantage” to keep it within the program.
“I think it’s a tactical advantage not to announce it,” Kelly said on Monday. “We’re going to hold onto that card until gameday.”
The battle between both Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels and redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier has been incredibly close throughout fall camp with this coaching staff making the decision earlier this week.
Kelly detailed his thought process on the quarterback situation and how this program is preparing ahead of Sunday’s kickoff.
Defensive Line Hype
Can this position group live up to the hype? Headlined by BJ Ojulari, the rising star for the Tigers asserted himself as one of the SEC’s top underclassmen in the 2021 season. Collecting 11.5 tackles for loss and looking like a man amongst boys at times, Ojulari has the chance to have a breakout 2022 season and put NFL scouts on notice.
What about Maason Smith? It’s no secret LSU has a budding star in Smith. The sophomore’s freakish strength shows flashes of his bright future during his freshman season. A true freshman rarely becomes a force in the SEC, but Smith did just that in 2021.
Accumulating 19 total tackles in year one with four sacks in nine games showed the Tigers youngster is ready for the big stage if given more snaps.
Next will be senior defensive end Ali Gaye and junior defensive tackle Jacquelin Roy. The front four of this squad has the makings to be one of the best in the country, but will they live up to the lofty expectations?