HawgBeat - 2020 First Look: LSU Tigers
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2020 First Look: LSU Tigers

Returning All-SEC cornerback Derek Stingley.
Returning All-SEC cornerback Derek Stingley. (Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports)

We don't yet know the dates or the order, but we do know all 10 of Arkansas's 2020 opponents. Over the course of ten days, we'll give Hog fans an early look at each team on Arkansas's schedule, which is perhaps the toughest slate in all of college football.

Following Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Georgia alphabetically, Louisiana State is up next in our first look preview series. The Tigers are coming off a national championship but have a lot of talent, including coaches, to replace. LSU is ranked No. 5 in the nation and No. 3 in the SEC in the USA Today coaches' preseason poll.

LSU Tigers (#5)

2019 record: 15-0 (9-0 SEC)

All time series vs Arkansas: LSU leads 41-22 (4-game streak)

Last meeting: The Razorbacks traveled into the belly of the beast in November of 2019, led by interim head coach Barry Lunney Jr. In the first game since the firing of Chad Morris, the Hogs kept it close for a quarter and a half but the No.1-ranked Tigers wouldn't be stopped, winning 56-20. True freshman KJ Jefferson got his first start for the Hogs but completed just seven of 14 passes and was sacked three times.

Head Coach: Ed Orgeron (5th season, 40-9)

LSU head Coach Ed Orgeron.
LSU head Coach Ed Orgeron. (USA Today Images)

Offense

Coordinator: Steve Ensminger (third season) Ensminger is going into his 11th season at LSU but loses his co-OC Joe Brady. Former NFL coach Scott Linehan joins as the passing game coordinator.

2019 rushing rank: 60th, 166.8 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 2nd, 401.6 yards/game

2019 total rank: 1st, 568.4 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 1st, 48.4 points/game

Returning starters: 3

Key losses: Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Justin Jefferson, Thaddeus Moss, Lloyd Cushenberry, Damien Lewis, Saahdiq Charles, Adrian Mcgee

Defense

Coordinator: Bo Pelini (first season) Pelini was hired to join the LSU staff for a second time after former DC Dave Aranda was made head coach at Baylor. Pelini was a head coach at Youngstown State and Nebraska.

2019 rushing rank: 21st, 120.8 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 59th, 222.7 yards/game

2019 total rank: 31st, 343.5 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 31st, 21.9 points/game

Returning starters: 5

Key losses: Patrick Queen, Grant Delpit, K'Lavon Chaisson, Kristian Fulton

Recruiting

Four-year recruiting rankings (2017-20): 8, 14, 3, 4 (Avg. 7.25)

5-stars signed (2017-20): 10

4-stars signed (2017-20): 46

Outlook

Despite being ranked several spots ahead of Auburn in the USA Today coaches' preseason poll, the Tigers have so much production to replace from their national championship squad that I predict they'll take a minor step back this year. The Tigers have to replace Heisman winner Joe Burrow, leading rusher Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a few leading receivers and four starting offensive linemen but the defense will still be stout with one of the toughest secondary units to beat in the nation. We've got LSU behind Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Auburn in the difficulty rankings.

Difficulty Ranking: 6