LSU Tight End Mason Taylor says Tigers know 10 wins ‘is not enough’; provides insight on how 2024 offense will replace Jayden Daniels’ rushing yards

LSU freshman tight end Mason Taylor hauls in the winning two-point conversion pass from Jayden Daniels as LSU stunned Alabama and the world with a 32-31 victory that puts LSU in sole possession of first-place in the SEC West.
LSU tight end Mason Taylor when he was a freshman and scored the game-winning two-point conversion to stun Alabama, 32-31. FILE PHOTO: Tiger Rag

Mason Taylor had high expectations going into his sophomore season.

He was the hero in LSU’s win over Alabama and had an entire season of experience under his belt, but almost all of Taylor’s numbers dropped off last season compared to his freshman year. He had fewer yards, touchdowns and receptions in his sophomore season.

“I’m not really a stats guy,” Taylor said. “I don’t really look at that much, but I try to just work on everything. Everything is going to come into fruition so as long as I keep working on the little things or things coach tells me to work on.”

This season, Taylor and the entire LSU tight end room look to have bigger roles in the Tigers’ offense.

LSU’s offense is losing its offensive coordinator, starting quarterback and its top two receivers form last season, but Taylor said the offense will be able to adjust to the losses. He mentioned the offense running more 12 personnel this year to give the tight ends bigger roles in the offense to make up for the lost players.

“We don’t have the running ability that Jayden has,” Taylor said. “I mean [Nussmeier] can run, he’s fast and all but he’s not like Jayden running wise. We have a lot on our plates as tight ends, and I think that’s a good thing. We’ve been mixing in 12 personnel things trying to see where we stand with that and just trying to learn new things.”

LSU will lean on its blocking to help make up for the over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns former quarterback Jayden Daniels provided over the last two season.

Taylor said teams will be loading the box more this season without Daniels’ running ability threatening them and getting another blocker involved can help the running game. New offensive coordinators Cortez Hankton and Joe Sloan have also shown they will try to replace Daniels’ running threat with short and intermediate passes. Head coach Brian Kelly said earlier this spring that the passing game can help make up for the lost yards on the ground.

“You’re looking to make up for those yards that you’ve lost with a Jayden Daniels,” Kelly said. “You can do it in a number of different ways. You can do it with perimeter throws that Jayden gave us with perimeter runs and you can do it not simply with the running backs, but how you use your offensive line.”

Taylor tied his career high in yards in LSU’s bowl game with Wisconsin, the first game with Garrett Nussmeier at quarterback and Hankton and Sloan at offensive coordinator. LSU put up nearly 500 yards in that game and 395 of those yards came in the air. Taylor said Nussmeier has brought the skill position players together to get extra work in the passing game this offseason and make sure the offense continues to put up numbers.

“Coach Hank and Coach Sloan have done a great job stepping in as offensive coordinators,” Taylor said. “I think everything has run pretty smoothly. We’re changed up a few things but other than that I think everything is running efficient.”

Nussmeier and Taylor both said that the Tigers don’t just want to do as well as they have the last two seasons, they want to improve.

“We always like to say, ’10-2 is not good enough,’” Taylor said. “You can say we’ve been doing alright, but we’re winning 10 games, and we know we need to do this to win 10 games and we need to do more to win more.”

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