7 way-too-early predictions for LSU’s offense in 2022
LSU has to replace its leading passer (Max Johnson) from last season.
And its leading rusher (Ty Davis-Price) and its second-leading rusher (Corey Kiner).
The Tigers don’t have any full-time starters returning on the offensive line.
They do return their top 3 pass catchers (Jack Bech, Kayshon Boutte and Jaray Jenkins), but the offense features a lot of new stuff – including new coordinator Mike Denbrock.
So a lot of stuff is changing, but now that the roster is nearly set and spring practice is over, the offense is starting to take shape.
That means we have enough info to make 7 way-too-early predictions for LSU’s offense in 2022:
1. Myles Brennan will be the starting quarterback
The 4-man competition is just picking up steam after Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels and freshman Walker Howard joined veterans Brennan and Garrett Nussmeier for spring practice.
Each has a shot to win the job and the group features various skills and varying degrees of experience.
But when it comes time for head coach Brian Kelly and Denbrock to pick, it will be Brennan’s experience, maturity and leadership that will make the difference.
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2. LSU will complete 63% of its passes
The Tigers ranked 10th in the SEC in completion percentage last season, connecting on barely 59% of their passes.
LSU has finished above 60% just once in the past 8 seasons. You know the season. Brennan isn’t Joe Burrow, but he is a good decision-maker and plenty accurate enough to connect more frequently than that with a very talented group of receivers.
3. Kayshon Boutte will lead the SEC in receiving touchdowns
The most talented of those receivers is Boutte, who finished tied for 5th in the SEC with 9 touchdowns despite suffering a season-ending injury in the 6th game of last season.
He was on pace to finish with 18 touchdown catches, which would have been 3 more than Jameson Williams’ league-leading total.
He has some more rehab ahead of him, but he should be back in form when the season arrives.
4. The running game will be in the SEC’s top 10
LSU had the 2nd-worst running game in the SEC last season, averaging 114.0 yards per game and 3.3 yards per rush.
The only SEC team with a worse running game than LSU was Mississippi State, which hardly even tries to run.
The Tigers will not only out-rush State, but a few other SEC teams with a significantly better running game – bolstered by the return of John Emery Jr., who was inactive last season, and Penn State transfer Noah Cain.
5. LSU will more than double its rushing touchdowns
The Tigers’ improved rushing game won’t manifest itself simply with more yards and a better average per carry, but also with more trips across the goal line.
LSU had just 9 rushing touchdowns last season, which was tied for 12th in the SEC and matched its total from the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Tiger rushers will find the end zone at least 20 times in 2022.
6. 400-plus yards per game
LSU will have a more effective and consistent offensive line. It will run the ball more effectively. It will have steadier quarterback play and a deep and explosive receiving corps.
All of that will combine to produce an average of at least 400 yards of offense per game.
That number is better but still would have fallen in the bottom half of the SEC standings last season.
7. The Tigers will score more than they did in 2021
LSU had the 3rd-lowest scoring average in the SEC last season (26.5 points per game). That was their worst output since averaging 24.8 in 2009. They even averaged 32.0 in 2020.
Kelly has made building up the offensive line a priority and that will be a key to the Tigers running the ball more consistently and protecting Brennan well enough to push the ball up the field in the passing game.
Denbrock’s Cincinnati offense averaged 36.4 points last season.
His first LSU offense won’t score that much, but it will score more than the last LSU offense did.