1 O … Canada?
It’s hard to say whether the Ed Orgeron-Matt Canada situation has been a backdrop for the Citrus Bowl or vice versa, but clearly the uncertain future of LSU’s offensive coordinator has overshadowed pre-bowl week in Orlando. The question is whether the distraction has clouded the Tigers’ preparation for Notre Dame. Perhaps not, but we all remember how John Chavis’ impending departure affected LSU’s defense in the 2014 Music City Bowl against these same Fighting Irish.
2 Fill in the blanks
Both teams spent the weeks leading up to the Citrus Bowl scrambling to replace key personnel. The Tigers are missing three defenders off their starting front seven in edge rusher Arden Key and linebackers Corey Thompson and Donnie Alexander. The Irish are without key pieces of their already anemic passing game: suspended wide receiver Kevin Stepherson and tight end Alize Mack, and injured receiver Chase Claypool. Whoever does more with less is likely to win.
3 Run up the score
LSU has the 1-2 punch of Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams, who need to just 71 total yards to combine for 2,000 rushing yards this season. Notre Dame has the backfield duo of tailback Josh Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush with 2,151 total yards. With their lack of key receivers, the Irish are likely to rely even more heavily on the run behind their mammoth offensive line. LSU is more capable of being more balanced.
4 ‘No turnover Monday’
LSU’s practice day themes during the regular season make “No turnover Wednesday” the midweek point of emphasis. The Tigers have lived up to that mantra, with an FBS-low eight turnovers this season. The game is on Monday, but no or few turnovers mean as much or more than ever. Notre Dame has committed 15 turnovers, nearly twice as many but hardly an alarming total. It’s hard to envision LSU losing the turnover battle and beating the Irish.