1. Cleared for takeoff
This week’s Four Downs isn’t about what LSU must do to win. The Tigers are a virtual lock. It’s about what the Tigers need to get out of this game. It starts with the pass. With an eye toward Texas A&M’s vulnerable secondary, LSU must continue the modest progress it made against Arkansas. That means Joe Burrow needs to up his accuracy, blocking has to improve and receivers have to do a better job getting open.
2. The ‘O’ Identity
Coach Ed Orgeron said this week that LSU has lost its offensive identity over the past three games since Oct. 13, the date of the Tigers’ signature 36-16 victory over then No. 2-ranked Georgia. Orgeron said LSU’s offense needs to get back to basics. That means being able to pass effectively (see above) but also being able to run between the tackles when required. Against the Aggies, the Tigers are sure to need that ability.
3. A game called ‘Concentration’
Saturday’s game will mark Senior Night for 18 LSU players. In the past many a senior has been driven to distraction – and tears – by the sight of his family waiting for him at midfield with flowers and a hug. The seniors bidding Tiger Stadium adieu must quickly get their emotions settled and regain their focus on the game so that they don’t let Rice linger, with an eye to the next objective which is …
4. Emptying the bench
More important than the mere feel good notion of getting seldom-used players some live action against an outmatched foe, the idea of this game being an extension of Texas A&M next week can’t be overstated. Key LSU players need to be rested and avoid injury. And though it’s unlikely, LSU doesn’t need any Devin White-like targeting ejections of critical defensive personnel in the second half. That chance goes way down if they’re second-half spectators.