TCU’s Offense vs. LSU’s Defense
The return of senior quarterback Casey Pachall will do wonders for the Horned Frogs as they prepare for their upcoming showdown with LSU.
TCU struggled last season, their first in the Big 12, after Pachall left the program to seek treatment following an arrest for DUI. At the time of his departure, TCU was 4-0, ranked as high as 15th, and he was the nation’s top-rated passer. According to head coach Gary Patterson, Pachall is not even the same person, more mature and ready for the spotlight this season.
It’s been well documented that LSU lost loads of talent and experience from last year’s defense. How the new faces fill the voids will go a long way in determining LSU’s success for the 2013 season. This is a tricky game for head coach Les Miles and defensive coordinator John Chavis. The Tigers would have liked to play a weaker opponent at home to open this particular season.
The Case For TCU’s Offense
In addition to Pachall, TCU also gets back senior running back Waymon James. He suffered a season-ending knee injury early last year after leading the team in rushing during 2011. Last season’s leading rusher, B.J. Catalon, is back for his sophomore campaign. To add even more depth to the Horned Frogs backfield, former Nebraska transfer Aaron Green is eligible this year after sitting out 2012.
Brandon Carter, who caught 36 passes for 590 yards and six touchdowns, leads the receivers. TCU has a deep, if not spectacular, collection of wideouts. LaDarius Brown, Cam White, and David Porter all saw significant playing time last year. In addition, former Florida transfer Ja’Juan Story and Wyoming transfer Josh Doctson are eligible this season. ESPN rated Story as the sixth-best wide receiver in the nation when he came out of high school.
TCU returns three starters along its offensive line led by senior Eric Tausch at center. Both tackles are back: sophomore Aviante Collins on the right and junior Tayo Fabuluje on the left. The new guards, Joey Hunt and Michael Thompson, have game experience.
The Case For LSU’s Defense
No one is sure what to expect from the Tigers defense. They lost all four starters from last year’s defensive line. Junior defensive tackle Anthony Johnson should be the next great LSU lineman and probably will enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Although the Tigers have talent up front, they face a more experienced TCU offensive line.
Senior Lamin Barrow returns to lead the linebackers. He is one of just three returning starters on the defense. The other two starters are in the secondary in cornerback Jalen Mills and strong safety Craig Loston. Those three will be responsible for making sure their fellow defenders are in the right place at the right time to stop TCU’s backfield.
Miles and Chavis can recruit, so talent isn’t a concern. But there’s no substitute for experience.
The Winner: TCU’s Offense
LSU lost too much on defense to match up effectively against a squad as talented as TCU's. If this game took place mid-way through the season, maybe TCU’s offensive advantage would diminish. Of course, all this hinges on how Pachall plays after nearly a year away from the game. Still, the Horned Frogs' talented and deep backfield should expose a young LSU defense.