Five Huge Questions for LSU Football on the Eve of Spring Football Practice 2024

Greg Nussmeier, LSU quarterback
Garrett Nussmeier, LSU QB1 for 2024. PHOTO By Royce Stewart

Let’s jump right into it:

1.) Can Garrett Nussmeier limit the turnovers and become more consistent?

Garret Nussmeier has patiently waited for his chance to be LSU’s starting quarterback and now he finally has the opportunity. Despite having only one career start, Nussmeier has been on the team for three seasons and has plenty of experience in the Tigers’ offense.

He appeared in four games his freshman year, seven games his sophomore year and six games his junior year. All those appearances except for one came off the bench, but he’s had playing time on the road at Alabama, in the SEC championship and in multiple bowl games. Now, it’s time for Nussmeier to step up and be a full-time QB1.

He’s flashed his potential plenty in his time at LSU. He has a big arm and can make throws that most quarterbacks wouldn’t even try, but LSU will need him to be more consistent with his play next season.

He has thrown seven interceptions in just 219 career pass attempts, and he has completed just 58.9% of his passes. He’s attempted 12 or more passes in seven games. He’s thrown seven interceptions in those seven games.

If Nussmeier can limit those mistakes the LSU offense should continue to put up big numbers next season.

2.) Will the defensive tackle depth be enough?

It’s no secret that LSU struggles with depth along the defensive line. Brian Kelly has spoken about it multiple times this offseason and said that he still plans to address the position.

“We still have some needs,” Kelly said. “The defensive tackle position is one that we’re still vetting. We have some needs that we’ll continue to look at moving forward going into the spring. We could have some other movement here.”

Kelly already has plans to move two players to the defensive tackle position during the spring. Offensive lineman Kimo Makane’ole is making the move to the defensive side of the ball and defensive end Ahmad Breaux is moving to the interior of the defensive line to play tackle.

LSU is adding highly ranked recruit Dominick McKinley to the defensive tackle depth as well. McKinley was the highest ranked player in Louisiana and adding him was a major win for the Tigers’ recruiting class. LSU also added three-star defensive tackle De’Myrion Johnson.

Outside of two incoming freshmen and the two players making position switches, LSU only has three defensive tackles on the roster.

3.) Can the defense take a step forward?

LSU’s defense must take a step forward because there isn’t any room to go backwards.

The Tigers’ defense was one of the worse in school history last season. The unit gave up 34 points per game against Power Five teams last season and was routinely gashed for big plays. LSU gave up over 416 yards per game last season. That puts the LSU defense in 105th place in terms of yards per game.

New defensive coordinator Blake Baker will almost certainly improve the defense because of how bad it was last season, but how much better will it be? Can the defense be a strength of the team, or will LSU fans have to be happy with a middling unit after watching one of the worst in school history last season?

Kelly said that star linebacker Harold Perkins will play inside linebacker this season. Perkins made the move inside last season for just one game before moving back to outside linebacker.

“[Perkins] needs to be in the action,” Kelly said in an interview with The Advocate. “He needs to be the (weakside) linebacker. He needs to be in the box. He needs to be active in there. That’s where he’s going to start, and we’ve got to get him ready at that position.”

Perkins adjustment to his new position and involvement on defense might be the biggest storyline of the season for the LSU defense.

4.) How will the new offensive coordinators change the offense?

Joe Sloan and Cortez Hankton are taking the reins of last season’s No. 1 offense and there will be big expectations in Baton Rouge.

LSU is losing Jayden Daniels, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. to the NFL draft this year and will need to overcome those losses. How the new co-offensive coordinators run the offense next season without all that talent remains to be seen.

The duo called LSU’s bowl win over Wisconsin and the LSU offense looked like it never missed a step despite a coordinator and quarterback change. LSU put up 492 yards of total offense and scored 35 points in the ReliaQuest Bowl win. The passing offense was as potent as ever in the bowl game as Nussmeier threw for 395 yards.

Thomas and Nabers both played in that game and Thomas led the team in receiving yards with 98.

5.) Can LSU replace Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas and keep the ball rolling?

Kyren Lacy will return after recording 558 receiving yards last year. LSU is returning Chris Holton, Aaron Anderson, Landon Ibieta and Shelton Sampson as well. LSU also landed transfer receivers Zavion Thomas and CJ Daniels to the offense.

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Will Nickel

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