1) I know Cam Cameron probably shoulders most of the blame for LSU's offensive struggles but what's your take on the Les Miles firing? What do you make of DACOACHO and who would you like to see become LSU's full-time head coach?
I think it was time. Most of us at the blog supported Les through the last few years, but this year, with this team and so much talent back -- and veteran talent too, more starters than he's ever had returning -- there just had to be some progression, and there wasn't. The common #narrative is that LSU's offense was stuck in the 80s, but I never saw it that way. What LSU has wanted to do is just what any other pro-style offense in college football has wanted to do. But the bottom line is that Cam Cameron and Les Miles never found a way to teach it. It's one thing when you transition from a bunch of seniors to freshmen, but those freshmen should know what they're doing by the time they're juniors.
I'm on the record as a fan of Coach O, and I think it would be a wonderful story if he could rally this team and ride that to getting the job full-time, but that's contingent on what happens over the next eight games and what his plan is after the fact. Otherwise, I'd be any of the other top-level candidates mentioned, which basically means Jimbo Fisher or Tom Herman. My dream hire would be Jim Harbaugh, but I don't think that's a realistic possibility.
2) I've seen you comment that the offense can't really change four games into the season but what changes might we see under new play-caller Steve Ensminger? Who or what do you hope to see more of?
I think just a more consistent approach, and one that focuses more on what LSU's personnel does well. Cameron was kind of a lone wolf on these things, whereas I think now the entire offensive staff will be a little more involved in game-planning, even if Ensminger is ultimately pulling the trigger. There's a lot of talk of "opening things up" and all that, but I'd just settle for more streamlined, consistent execution. That alone would go a long way, and represent real improvement.
A focus on keeping things on schedule would be a really good start. Cameron tended to want to push the ball down the field so much that it came at the detriment of the quarterbacks because they wound up in third-and-long too often.
3) Everyone knows about Leonard Fournette but LSU has loads of talent on the roster, even on the offensive side of the ball. What is your QB situation? Who else should Missouri fans be looking out for?
Danny Etling will be the starting quarterback. He's clearly outplayed Brandon Harris to this point, and even with last week's struggles, he still led a pretty damn gutsy drive late to get LSU into position to try and win it. He's a steady hand, and if he's kept in good situations, I think he can be successful.
4) LSU is famous for the elite defensive talent, claiming DBU and D Line U among their degree programs. Can you give us a "Key player" at each level and tell Missouri fans why they should be worried about them?
Literally, in fact. Defensive end/outside linebacker Arden Key has been a pass-rushing demon. Additionally, inside linebackers Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley have been playing some really good football. Also, nickelback Tre'davious White is both a very good cover corner and a general playmaker that can blitz and help versus the run and short passing game as well. He and safety Jamal Adams will be the centerpieces of stopping Mizzou's passing attack.
5) Unfortunately, I won't be able to make the trip to Baton Rouge but for those fans who are, tell us what are the keys to a great LSU tailgate?
First off, relax and have a drink. Literally. Yes, folks will shout some stuff at you on occasion, but take it in stride and they'll probably offer you a drink and something to eat. It's all in good fun! Good food, cold beer, friends and family make a good tailgate for me, and that's what mine usually has.
If you're looking for places to eat, the Chimes or Mahoneys near the North Gates of campus have a ton of beers on tap. The Chimes' menu is strong as well. I also recommend it on Friday night, especially if you like seafood. Other great dining options include Parrain's, City Pork, Mike Andersons, The Rum House for tacos, Tio Javi's for Mexican or Fat Cow for burgers.
6) Given all that's happened, how do you see Saturday's game going?
There's some real juice to this game with the coaching change, and how LSU comes out in this is very interesting to me. Ed Orgeron has made some changes to game-prep, and its with the hope that the players show up jazzed and ready to give a better effort. If that happens, LSU should do well. I found the spread for this game to be a bit high, and I'd be pleasantly surprised if LSU can cover it.