For all of the yards, touchdowns, and accolades LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte has racked up over the last three years, he’s never played in a moment this big since joining the program three years ago.
For the first time since 2019, LSU plays a meaningful game in November when No. 6 Alabama comes to Death Valley to take on No. 10 LSU. Currently tied for first in the SEC West, the magnitude of this game isn’t going unnoticed by these players.
LSU is in control of its destiny with four weeks of the regular season to go, and it’s an opportunity Boutte doesn’t want to let slip away.
“We’re in a great position. What a better week to do it, No. 10 playing No. 6 Alabama. It’s a great game for us, a great opportunity to show what we could do,” Boutte said.
“We know each week matters. It doesn’t matter if we go out and win this game and then go lose next week so we take it one game at a time,” defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo said. “Make sure our preparation is there for this team.”
Wingo and this defense face a difficult challenge in slowing down Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young and this Alabama offense. Young is so good at extending plays with his legs but more so than any other quarterback LSU has faced this year, has the arm to deliver truly special throws that can swing the momentum of a game if the Tigers aren’t aggressive in their pursuit.
Starting with Wingo, BJ Ojulari, Harold Perkins, and the front seven, there will be great attention to making sure they have Young in their sights to finish the play. But the other half of the equation is the secondary doing its job by sticking with the receivers when those plays break down.
“Very explosive, they’ve got speed everywhere and then you’ve got Bryce Young who can put it on the money,” cornerback Mekhi Garner said. “We must be disciplined with our technique, line up and play fast. It’s tempting to come out of coverage when the quarterback is scrambling but we rely on the defensive linemen and linebackers to get him and the defensive backs to stay in coverage. That’s been the motivation, our why this week.”
Getting Major Burns back at safety will help with that communication in the secondary for an Alabama team with many weapons that can be explosive but no true No. 1 threat that’s emerged at this point in the year.
There’s also an understanding with this group that it simply must start fast against an opponent like Alabama. As part of the training this week in preparation for Alabama, LSU is structuring its practice to bring the energy earlier.
This is mainly done by getting to 11v11 work towards the beginning of practice, hoping to start games faster on Saturday.
“Lately we’ve been coming in, doing a few drills and then getting straight to it,” Wingo said. “It brings the energy early and it carries on throughout practice.”
The balance has returned to this offense the last two weeks, which has led to some stellar performances against Florida and Ole Miss. LSU is playing faster and building confidence through rhythm because the run and passing attacks have fed off one another.
Boutte has seen the trust and execution improve in those games, particularly the connection with quarterback Jayden Daniels, who’s stringing together an impressive resume this season. The players all understand the gravity of this game and the implications a win and a loss mean to this season.
It’ll carry extra weight for guys like Boutte, who have yet to experience Death Valley with a meaningful game on the line.
“I feel like as an offense we’re in a really great position. A lot of confidence going into this game and what’s a better game to show what we can do? It’s a big opportunity for us to showcase our talents and who we really are,” Boutte said.