Behind Enemy Bylines with The Reveille

Kaitlin Sells

The Georgia Southern football team will be traveling to Baton Rouge for their first game of the season on Saturday as they take on No. 6 LSU. Ahead of the match, Kennedi Landry, the sports editor of The Reveille, gave her thoughts on the upcoming showdown.

Last season LSU saw a very successful season going 10-3, what do you think was a factor in that success? 

One of the biggest factors in LSU’s success last year was consistency at quarterback and coach Ed Orgeron running the team exactly the way he wanted to run it. In his first full season as head coach in 2017, there was internal struggles between Orgeron and coordinators. Now, Orgeron is running the team from top to bottom with a quarterback he trusts in Joe Burrow. 

Coming into the new season, which players left or graduated that will be missed? Which new players should people be keeping their eye on?

Linebacker Devin White — a first round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — is the biggest loss for the Tigers. White was the 2018 Butkus Award winner for the best linebacker in the nation and was a leader both on and off the field for the Tigers. The defensive front seven are really going to miss him this season. Cornerback Greedy Williams — a second round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns — is also a big loss for the LSU defense, but his loss is less noticeable by my answer to your next question. The newcomer I think everybody will have their eye on will be freshman cornerback Derek Stingley. Stingley was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 corner in the nation and a more than fitting replacement for Williams in the secondary. On the opposite side of the ball, LSU has options everywhere. While junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is locked in the starting role, freshmen John Emery Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price will both be important parts of this LSU offense. 

What are your overall expectations for the Tigers with it being the first game of the season?

I think the Tigers are more than ready to get out on the field in Tiger Stadium and make an impression. More than anything, this first game of the season is going to be a way for the Tigers to continue to become acclimated with the new offense, run by passing game coordinator Joe Brady. Quarterback Joe Burrow has a good chemistry with his receivers since the majority are returning this season and Burrow is even more confident in his second season as the starter. 

Where do you think there will be a weakness on the field for the team? 

Similar to last season, LSU’s biggest weakness will be the offensive line. The only constant piece of the offensive line is center Lloyd Cushenberry, while the rest of it has struggled with injuries and depth. No matter how strong the quarterback play or the run game has been, the offensive line has struggled to provide them with time to make things happen. The o-line will end up being the key to whether the offense turns out to be as successful as predicted. 

It’s also not really a weakness per se, but the kicking game has a question mark right now. Former kicker Cole Tracy was the savior of LSU’s special teams last season and freshman Cade York is stepping into pretty big shoes. Coach Ed Orgeron has spoken highly of York, who has hit field goals as long as 52 yards in scrimmages. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to kicking those in a stadium of 102,321 people. 

What is your final game prediction?

I’m predicting an LSU victory, 35-10.  Burrow said at SEC Media Days that he believes they can put up 40 to 50 to 60 points in the new offensive scheme, but I think the offense still needs time before its runs smoothly, but the defense does its job, as per usual, and the Tigers come away with  a victory. 

Kick off for the Eagles is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Louisiana. The game will be streamed on ESPNU and the Georgia Southern Sports Network.

Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, [email protected]