LSU’s roller coaster of a football season came to a disappointing conclusion as the New Orleans Saints make their first appearance in the playoffs since 2013.
In this first installment of a two part interview, WWL 870 AM football analyst and NFL Draft expert Mike Detillier fielded questions about the recent LSU football season and the future prospects of the Fighting Tiger program, including the latest episode of the coach staff soap opera.
Before looking at the Black & Gold postseason, let’s talk about the Purple & Gold end of season. Is this what you expected out of the Tigers in 2017?
Well Mike, I picked the Tigers to be 9-3 and have a shot at 10 during a bowl game and so I was right on that one.
It’s just the 3 losses during the season weren’t to whom I thought they would lose to other than Alabama. It was a rollercoaster ride for LSU in 2017.
It seems that the soap opera under the Stately Oaks continues for another season with chatter about Coach Ed Orgeron firing his offensive coordinator which would trigger yet another pricey buy out. What’s your feel on this matter?
No winner here and this was Coach O’s first hire and it didn’t work out.
We have grown up in the business world and this happens daily there and to be honest it happens in sports more than folks would know.
It started out as a philosophical difference and then it turned personal. They couldn’t mend then fence. Changes happen in business and sports all the time. It’s not about the leaving or parting of ways, but who you hire to make the spot work. Coach O has got to bring in a fresh face to the offense. I think Coach Ensminger will have a bigger say in the offense, but Orgeron has to hire another playcaller.
The key here is to find someone who can groom the young quarterbacks. Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse are very talented, but Myles doesn’t have a lot on the college football play resume and Lowell has zero. Developing the quarterback spot is the key to Orgeron having success at LSU.
Assuming the drama in the football program ends, has the team reloaded enough to contend for something better than the Citrus Bowl next year?
I like what O has done to rebuild both sides of the line of scrimmage. Talented offensive and defensive linemen-who are the real “skill” people of the college football world. Developing those units are also a key. He has upgraded the wide receiver position and landed a couple of good young backs. He has to finish this off in February gaining top recruits in the secondary. And probably another wide receiver.
Finally, what are the keys to success for LSU in 2018?
First, developing the quarterback spot is the top spot. It has been a sinkhole for the Tigers and that could give you the biggest jump if you can find the right guy or guys.
Second, developing an ace pass rusher. Nothing disrupts an offense like a top pass rusher. If it is K’Lavon Chaisson or Ray Thornton or someone else, the Tigers need a “scare” guy coming off the edge.
Third, Special teams need a huge upgrade. The field goal kicking spot has turned into a weak link from midseason on. The young recruit Cole Tracy being brought in will be given every chance to win that spot. The other part is in the return game. D.J. Chark was even hit big or miss. Chark changed the game around versus Auburn, but that spot is so vital for field position and also to jumpstart a football team with a big return.
Fourth, is the Secondary. That is the problem area for me entering 2018. You could lose Donte Jackson and or Kevin Toliver. So Greedy Williams has turned into a big time performer, but the freshmen kids from this year Kary Vincent and Jontre Kirklin have to come around quickly. The same at safety with Grant Delpit and Jacoby Stevens and Todd Harris.
There are a lot of question marks there again for a second straight year. And freshmen will play again in the secondary.