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Bulldogs in Death Valley: A Q&A with And The Valley Shook

We got with SB Nation’s LSU site to discuss La Tech vs LSU

Troy v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Billy Gomila from our friends at And The Valley Shook, the LSU site for SB Nation, was kind enough to answer some questions about LSU heading into the Bayou State showdown between the Tigers and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs this Saturday.

1. Joe Burrow has received a lot of hype three weeks into the season, but his completion percentage is below 50 percent. How good is he?

LSU v Auburn
Joe Burrow
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ATVS: It sounds homerish, but he really has played better than his stats indicate. He has a smoothness to his game and he doesn’t make many mistakes -- and that includes a couple throw-aways when the play hasn’t been there. We’re just three games in, but I’d be surprised if his completion rate doesn’t go up as we go. Really, this offense is still finding its way over all.

2. How does the LSU running game in 2018 compare to the last few years with Guice and Fournette?

ATVS: It’s nowhere near as reliable as the 2015-2017 groups, where you could count on big numbers so long as those guys got their touches. This offensive line is still finding its way a bit with some newcomers, and while the backs are still talented, Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are still a cut below Guice and Fournette. But so are most backs.

3. Has LSU’s 3-0 start surprised you?

ATVS: Absolutely. I thought the Tigers would have a good shot against Miami, because I liked the matchup against Malik Rosier and their offensive/defensive lines. But LSU’s only won at Auburn a handful of times in the last few decades, so we all knew that game would be the sticky part of this month. And with both wins, LSU’s in a much better position well before it really hits the hardest part of the schedule in late October/early November.

4. Coming off an emotional road victory and with Ole Miss up next, will there be any hangover from the Tigers in this game, or will Coach O have them ready to go?

Louisiana Tech v LSU
La Tech last played LSU in 2009
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

ATVS: That’s going to be the big question mark. It was no secret that the Tigers came out flat against Southeastern two weeks ago sandwiched between the Miami and Auburn games. So the next step for this team is to maintain the same emotion for another week in a row and beat Louisiana Tech the way they are capable of. I expect this team to improve over the course of the year, so some more hiccups wouldn’t surprise me, but the big goal for the week is to just be ready to play because I expect Tech to come in here with its hair on fire, and they are certainly more talented than Southeastern.

5. Unlike some other top programs, LSU has shown no aversion to playing in-state teams. Why do you think LSU is so willing to do this when other programs, like Arkansas, refuse?

ATVS: Honestly, the credit there goes to Skip Bertman and LSU Baseball. When he was leading that program, he saw playing the other Louisiana schools as a tool to help his own program by A) getting more exposure in other Louisiana markets and B) getting more exposure and money for those programs, which raised the overall profile of the sport in general, which then helped trickle down in recruiting.

So when he moved to the AD chair, Skip had the same approach in terms of the in-state programs. If LSU is going to cut somebody a check for a guarantee game, why not keep that money in-state?

6. The current line for this game is LSU -20.5. How would you pick against this spread?

ATVS: I think that’s a number LSU can get to in four quarters. This may not be a whistle-to-whistle boat-race, but LSU’s defense will hold the Tech offense down and eventually LSU’s talent can break through and pull away in the fourth quarter. And if the offensive progress we saw last week against Auburn holds, it probably happens a little faster than that.

The Bulldogs and Tigers face off in Tiger Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. central time on ESPNU.