The Daily Texan spoke with Kennedi Landry, sports editor of LSU’s The Daily Reveille.
Daily Texan : Can you tell me what the biggest differences are between the LSU offense of this year and the LSU of the past?
Kennedi Landry : I almost look at the biggest difference as everything. I’m from New Orleans, I’ve followed LSU my whole life. The first three drives against Georgia Southern, I just kind of stared at the field in amazement, because I really couldn’t believe that was actually what was happening. You’ve been hearing this narrative of LSU changing the offense every year for the last eight years now. … So I was not pessimistic, but I wasn’t expecting it to actually be this spread offense. (Senior quarterback) Joe Burrow was getting the ball out of his hands quickly, the receivers are running near-perfect routes, and it’s almost a 50-50 in terms of passing and running plays. LSU’s traditionally been just (a team that likes to) run the ball down the field with a feature back. … it’s exactly what we were told it’s going to be, and we were very shocked by that.
DT : Last year in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia, Texas was going into the game and the narrative was “Texas has not faced an SEC defense,” and then they went out there and put up 21 points pretty quick. What is different about this LSU defense that the Georgia defense didn’t have?
KL : LSU does have a stronger secondary. LSU holds that DBU moniker close to heart, and they go out and perform with it. They have two of the best defensive backs in the nation in (junior) safety Grant Delpit and (senior) cornerback Kristian Fulton, and the No. 1 defensive back recruit in the nation in five-star (true freshman) Derek Stingley Jr. That’s just the top three, then you have a plethora of options behind them. Even the pass rush is much improved this year. LSU returned (sophomore) outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, who missed most of last season with an ACL injury. I think LSU is a lot more dominant and physical, especially in the trenches, than Georgia was last year.
DT : How tough do you think it is having a game like this for LSU in Week Two where, especially with a new offense, maybe everything isn’t quite figured out yet?
KL : To play a team of this caliber so early in the season is going to be tough when it comes to getting the offense off and rolling. It seemed that they had no problems against Georgia Southern, but you’re up three touchdowns five minutes into the game and it’s pretty smooth rolling from there. It’ll be interesting to see how that carries over to Game Two against Texas and beyond that.
DT : What are your thoughts on the recent Sports Illustrated story about Tom Herman’s involvement in the 2016 LSU coaching search, and where do you think LSU would be if that Herman hire had actually gone through?
KL : Oh god. I can’t even imagine. That Thanksgiving week, that was my freshman year of college. Like I said, I’m from New Orleans, so I’ve followed LSU my entire life, and Les Miles was like a god. To see him be fired (four) games into the season was crazy to begin with. … I kind of can’t believe it hadn’t happened, that Herman kind of spurned them like that. I can’t imagine where LSU would be without Coach (Ed Orgeron). Coach O is kind of synonymous with the program at this point. … Three years into this, I have no doubt that this is Coach O’s program.