LSU football fell to Florida State last weekend in its return to action. The Tigers opened up the 2022 season in heartbreaking fashion with a 24-23 defeat in Brian Kelly’s first game as head coach. Despite a late surge from the Bayou Bengals, their best efforts were not enough in the end. They departed New Orleans and headed back to their home in the Louisiana capital winless.
Nevertheless, fans learned a lot about this team from its first performance. Quarterback Jayden Daniels showed resilience, the defensive backs held their own and the offensive line was worrying. Everything that possibly could’ve gone wrong on the night did, yet LSU was beaten by just one point. Suffice it to say, if all of the pieces begin to click at one point or another, the Tigers could spoil a few playoff parties in the weeks ahead. In order to succeed as a team though, one of LSU’s offensive position groups needs to improve drastically.
LSU football: The Tigers’ running backs need to improve in Week 2
If the Tigers want to be viewed as something other than a punching bag in the SEC West, they’ll need to establish a running game. LSU’s rushing attack against the Seminoles consisted solely of Daniels scurrying away from pressure and turning something into nothing. In fact, I’d even take it a step further and claim that, until the final two drives, Daniels’ legs were the entire offense.
QB1 ran the ball 16 times and tallied 114 yards on the ground (both more than every running back combined). Meanwhile, Noah Cain (seven carries, 23 yards), Armoni Goodwin (five carries, 14 yards) and Josh Williams (one carry, two yards) struggled to get anything going on offense against Florida State. The LSU rushing attack was almost unrecognizable last weekend, and it has been for quite some time now.
I’m not advocating for a bland run-only offense that takes fans back to the Cam Cameron era. However, Mike Denbrock’s offense had far too many missed opportunities to extend drives against the Seminoles. The running backs simply need more touches, they cannot settle for a mere 13 carries in a game that was within reach for at least 75% of regulation.
The upcoming game against Southern presents the Tigers with an opportunity to get stronger. Denbrock can experiment with a wider variety of plays, the running backs can work on their fundamentals and the offensive line can get down field to create gaps for the aforementioned players to run into. The Jaguars are a very good football team, but they’re not an ACC powerhouse. LSU will have the size, speed and strength advantage in the trenches on most plays.
It’s imperative that any good offense is multi-faceted with a schedule as tough as the Tigers’. Kelly’s team will need to work on developing both if it wants to succeed this season. A key to unlocking any good passing attack is a reliable running game, which LSU does not have right now. Hopefully it takes strides toward improving on Saturday against Southern.