Les Miles lost his job earlier this year mostly because of the fact that he squandered away some great offensive talent that the Tigers have. Leonard Fournette had a great season last year, but that was it on offense. Brandon Harris was a letdown at quarterback and that meant that the Tiger receivers were a letdown as well. Quality quarterback play has been lacking in Baton Rouge for a good while, but the last two years have been really rough. Danny Etling has been effective this year, but that hasn’t been enough to truly utilize their talented receivers.
Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry were two guys that really brought great attention to LSU’s history of great receivers. Reuben Randle, Josh Reed, Brandon LaFell and others have really put their stamp on the record books down south. When Beckham and Landry left a year early, it left a big void that had to be filled with very young players. To compound that, Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris were equally as young. Over the last few years, all of those players have grown together but they’ve grown in an anemic offense that failed to develop them.
Malachi Dupree, D.J. Chark, and Travin Dural are the three receivers UofL will see most this weekend and all have the ability to beat them in their own ways. Dural is the veteran of the group after being the number 3 receiver with Beckham and Landry. Dural is a bigger receiver that is more of a possession guy that knows how to get himself space on curls and comebacks. Dupree is long and he can run pretty well. He’s savvy enough to know how to sell his breaks well on deep posts. At 6-4, he is also a threat against Louisville in the red zone. These two guys are veterans that know how to get open and Dupree is a guy that can take the top off of a defense.
D.J. Chark is the guy that worries me the most. Chark is the fastest of the three receivers and I would say he’s the that can really put pressure on a defense without having to do special things. Last year, I worried about Christian Kirk and his big play abilities and I feel the same way about Chark. But, it’s for a different reason. LSU will pound you with the running game until you give in and stack the box. That’s when a guy like Chark can beat you because, you have to hope that whoever you have covering him can keep up. Louisville may trust Jaire Alexander to do that, but can it trust Trumaine Washington or Shaq Wiggins?
LSU has a small handful of tight ends at their disposal. The group is led by Colin Jeter, who is a solid all-around tight end. Jeter can block well in the running game and he can also be a good safety valve for Etling. DeSean Smith is the best receiver out of the group and he is a prime example of how this offense makes you choose. Smith is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch and that’s due, in part, to the fact that he gets overlooked. When LSU is running the ball well, their play action game is really strong. So, that leads to safeties and linebackers getting sucked up into the run action and guys like Smith being wide open.