D.J. Chark looks to have a bigger role this season. (Travis Spradling)
This is the fourth part of a seven-part blog series leading up to Aug. 31, the start of the first official game week.
Topic: How many LSU receivers – not running backs or tight ends or fullbacks – will catch a pass this season
Why You Should Pick Over: The Tigers feel like they’re deep and talented here. Six to seven receivers appear to be in the mix to play regularly: Malachi Dupre, Travin Dural, Trey Quinn, John Diarse, Tyron Johnson, D.J. Chark and, possibly, Jazz Ferguson.
If each catch just one pass, there’s your Over. If, even, six of the seven catch a pass, there’s your Over.
The Tigers had just four receivers catch passes last season – the lowest total in the SEC and one of the lowest in the nation. But the passing game and offense appears to be trending in a different direction this season.
First off, there could be a new starting quarterback. Brandon Harris is leading the competition against Anthony Jennings, Les Miles finally admitted Tuesday night. Harris is the more talented of the two and has shown better accuracy. That’ll help spread the ball around to more receivers, spacing the passing game out with short, intermediate and long throws.
Tyron Johnson appears to be in the mix at receiver. (HILARY SCHEINUK)
Jennings’ best pass was a 40-plus yard throw to Dural running a go route. Dural’s 37 catches were 20 more than the next receiver. Jennings honed in on his deep ball target because of his struggles with accuracy on many other throws.
Another thing: LSU’s receivers group is deeper than the 2014 crew. The Tigers returned all four wideouts who caught a pass last season and add a couple of highly rated freshmen. Just two of those new guys need one catch to hit the Over.
Because of Harris’ progression and maturity and because of LSU’s deep WR group, signs point to LSU running more spread. Miles has indicated this and so has OC Cam Cameron. That certainly helps the Over. More receivers on the field won’t hurt it, that’s for sure.
Why You Should Pick Under: LSU quarterbacks completed just 10 passes a game last season and threw for a cumulative completion rate of exactly 50 percent.
Those aren’t pretty numbers when you’re trying to get at least six different receivers to catch a pass over the season. What else isn’t pretty: the inexperience with a handful of the guys in that top seven group.
Johnson and Ferguson are true freshmen, and Chark is a sophomore who doesn’t have a college reception. The Tigers, excluding any other veterans, would need two of those three to snag a catch over the year to hit the Over.
The pass-catching weapons LSU has at the non-receiver position are plentiful. And that could certainly hurt the Over. Leonard Fournette is poised for 20-plus carries a game, and freshmen like Derrius Guice and Donte Jackson might see several passes thrown their way.
Are you gonna go Over or Under? Give feedback to Ross Dellenger on Twitter by tweeting at him: @DellengerAdv.