SEC Championship: Behind Enemy Lines with SI's LSU Maven

Brooks Austin

Prior to Saturday's SEC Championship game, we sat down with SI's LSU Maven, Glen West to ask him a few questions about Ed Orgeron's squad.

Take a look behind enemy lines to find out everything there is to know about the LSU Tigers. 

1.) What was the initial reaction from the fanbase when the news broke that LSU would be moving away from the ground and pound offense of the last several decades to a spread air raid attack, and are they ready to build Joe Brady a statue yet?

LSU fans have been waiting for years for this offense to break into the modern football world. After years of having the defense have to constantly bail out an underperforming LSU offense, it’s been a breath of fresh air to see the offense be able to pull its weight and then some.

Senior defensive Rashard Lawrence said Monday “I’ve been here four years and that sounds kind of strange to say we have to help the offense but we know if we do our job, Joe’s going to score the ball when they get the ball back.”

That kind of gives a sense of the state of euphoria the LSU players and fans alike are taking towards this year’s offense.

Ed Orgeron and Joe Burrow

2.) Apart from the fact that he's had more opportunities to throw this season, what's been the biggest reason for Burrow's transformation?

Honestly, the spread system is so tailor-made for his game that I think it’s the biggest reason for his breakout year. Burrow put in a ton of extra work with his receivers in the offseason and that’s helped them with timing. He’s added a little weight so his arm/body are stronger and his accuracy is quite literally all-time great.

All of that comes hand in hand with what Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady have concocted in this offense and Burrow is simply making the plays.

3.) How much of a concern is LSUs defense and their ability to hold up against the rushing attack from Georgia?

If there’s one concern for LSU this weekend it is going to be on the line. Outside of Alabama and Ole Miss the LSU run defense has been solid and with getting some guys back healthy, mainly Grant Delpit, it’s allowed Dave Aranda to be more creative with the defensive schemes.

It may not seem like a big name, but keep an eye out for freshman safety Maurice Hampton. Hampton has drawn the start at deep safety the last few weeks which has allowed JaCoby Stevens and Grant Delpit to play closer to the line of scrimmage, where they’re both comfortable. If LSU can get solid play in the back end of the secondary, it should help with containing D’Andre Swift Saturday.

4.) Is there a fear that LSU might come into this game a little overconfident, or is that something that Ed Oregeron won't allow?

I don’t see that being an issue. This team expects to win every game regardless with JaCoby Stevens saying as much on Monday. One of the great strengths Orgeron has shown over the last two years has been his ability to get his guys to “block out the noise.” The players don’t get caught up with expectations or who’s favored to win.

The maturity level is very high on this team and the leaders, starting with Burrow won’t be taking this Bulldog team lightly at all.

5.) Score Prediction?

I have LSU winning this one in a close battle, 30-27. If the Tigers can establish the run with Clyde Edwards-Helaire early, the Bulldogs are in trouble. I think the Tigers' ability to capitalize in the red zone will be the ultimate factor because moving the ball hasn’t been an issue with this team at all.

If LSU has to settle for field goals over touchdowns then Georgia will make this a tough, hard-nosed matchup. Defensively, how hampered Swift is will go a long way I think in Georgia’s ability to move the ball. If LSU can contain Swift, I like its chances to pull off a slight victory.