Behind enemy lines: What’s wrong with LSU? with LSU Tigers Wire editor Patrick Conn

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The perception of LSU is the reality of LSU. At least among the Tigers faithful. In 2021, the perception is LSU is bad, therefore, LSU is bad.

Ahead of Saturday’s Battle of the Golden Boot between Arkansas and LSU, the Tigers enter at 4-5 and are in danger of their first losing season since 1999. Ed Orgeron, the team’s coach, is finishing the season, but will no longer be the head coach at season’s end.

Are things that miserable at only one game under .500? Arkansas fans were feeling solid after a 3-7 year in 2020. But LSU isn’t Arkansas. The expectations in Baton Rouge are simply higher.

LSU Tigers Wire editor Patrick Conn gave us the inside scoop on just what’s going with the the team on the Bayou this year and whether Arkansas can put the Tigers out of their misery.

Garrett Nussmeier will, apparently, play after some complaints were made. Is the way it went down a big deal.

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Garrett Nussmeier (5) during the second half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Conn, LSU Tigers Wire editor: “You never like to see a dad get involved in playing time at any level of football. But in the grand schemes of things not really. Doug Nussmeier knows a thing or two about playing and coaching quarterbacks at the college level. I think it boiled down to whether or not they wanted to burn a redshirt and honestly Garrett is very competitive and just wants to help the team win.”

Has Max Johnson been that bad? His numbers overall seem solid, if unspectacular.

Sep 25, 2021; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Max Johnson (14) makes a pass against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Conn: “I wouldn’t say Max Johnson has been bad, but he is wildly inconsistent. Against Alabama, he had several opportunities to win the game but his passes sailed on receivers. Since the loss of Kayshon Boutte, his numbers have left a lot to be desired. It is a combination of a young quarterback and young receivers not quite hitting their strides yet.”

Why, exactly, has LSU been as bad as they have been this year?

Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Conn: “That is a loaded question Eric. I break it down like this, you have a combination of injuries and rookie play-callers on both sides. This was clearly the year you couldn’t afford to have first-time coordinators and you are seeing why. Too m any growing pains all the way around. Not to mention they lost one of their top players before the season even started.”

Ed Orgeron clearly hasn't totally lost the team, as evidenced by the Alabama game. What'd they do right against the Tide?

Nov 6, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) is tackled by LSU Tigers defensive back Raydarious Jones (29) and linebacker Damone Clark (18) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Conn: “It was a combination of a team wanted retribution against Alabama for the loss a season ago and frankly Alabama has struggled this year against Tennessee, Texas A&M, and now LSU. This isn’t the great Crimson Tide team we are used to seeing they just have better athletes than you do.”

Regardless of the winner Saturday, which team is "better," LSU or Arkansas?

Sep 18, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman looks on after the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Conn: “Right now? I would probably lean towards Arkansas. They seem to have more healthy players. LSU is still talented, but they are missing almost all of their starting defense. They don’t have John Emery Jr or Kayshon Boutte on offense.”

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