From a roster perspective, there's no doubt that LSU football enters a much more tenable offseason. As opposed to the 2020 offseason, the Tigers are really only losing five players who were major contributors, six if you include the transfer of tight end Arik Gilbert.
That bodes well for familiarity and chemistry, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines, where all of the starters in each group are returning. The real question heading into this ever important year, at least according to ESPN, is whether the Tigers' new additions on the coaching staff will pan out.
For the second straight season, LSU went through a massive coaching overhaul, though this past one was due to underperformance and retires as opposed to the departures after the national championship.
LSU has replaced offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger with Jake Peetz, passing game coordinator Scott Linehan with DJ Mangas, defensive coordinator Bo Pelini with Daronte Jones, added linebacker coach Blake Baker and defensive line coach Andre Carter as well.
"On paper, they make much more sense than the decision last offseason to bring in Bo Pelini and Scott Linehan, but only time will tell if Orgeron pulled the right levers this go-around," ESPN's Alex Scarborough wrote.
From the start, Ed Orgeron said he wanted to go younger and that's exactly what he did with these hires. And through each of their introductory press conferences, all have said the right things and the early reports are that the players are responding well in the early team meetings.
Now that introductions have been made official and football school is well underway, devising the schemes around the talent is the next step, something both Peetz and Jones expressed as the goals for this offseason.
"It starts with attitude in your approach and at the end of the day this is a violent sport. You have to approach it that way," Jones said on Off the Bench last week. "You have to be mentally tough, physically tough and emotionally tough. Everything that comes with this sport is about toughness. We want to put that into our guys so that they know they have to win a one on one battle.
"What I want to see is our players in the best position to make plays. What are they great at? That's something we've been spending a lot of time with our staff with. What schemes fit our players?" Peetz said. "What's the best way to run the ball? What's the best way to attack? Because that's what we want to do, we want to aggressively attack the defense at all fronts."
A spring ball announcement date hasn't been made official yet but it's expected that the Tigers will officially return to the field sometime next month.