LSU freshman QB Finley set to start at Auburn; LSU defense gets ready for challenge of Auburn offense

LSU freshman QB Finley set to start at Auburn; LSU defense gets ready for challenge of Auburn offense
LSU quarterback TJ Finley (No. 11) (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As of now, LSU plans to start true freshman quarterback TJ Finley, head coach Ed Orgeron said during the weekly teleconference with SEC coaches, as Myles Brennan continues to be hampered by an injury.

LSU getting Finley ready for first road start

“Myles Brennan has not practiced this week," said Orgeron. "I don’t believe he’s going to play. Things could change at the end of the week. Right now, we’re going with TJ as our starter and Max [Johnson] will be our second.”

Well, it won’t be the Jordan Hare Stadium visitors normally see when LSU travels to Auburn, with capacity limited to 17,500 fans instead of 87,000. Still, Orgeron and the coaching staff are getting Finley ready for the first road start of his collegiate career.

“Prepare for crowd noise. We had crowd noise yesterday. Obviously, we do a couple of different things on the road that we don’t do at home. Those things are in place. Go best against best, give him as much repetition as we can, especially blitzing and protection and having protection for him. Making the right decision, which we saw he can do Saturday night,” Orgeron added.

TJ Finley during the first half of a game between LSU and South Carolina at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.(Photo by: Chris Parent / LSU Athletics)
TJ Finley during the first half of a game between LSU and South Carolina at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.(Photo by: Chris Parent / LSU Athletics) (Source: Chris Parent/Chris Parent / LSU Athletics)

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Auburn sophomore quarterback Bo Nix bounced back from a three-interception performance in a loss at South Carolina to hit 23-of-30 passes for 238 yards and the game-winning touchdown in a 35-28 triumph at Ole Miss. He also had no interceptions.

Oct 3, 2020; Oxford, MS, USA; Bo Nix (10) throws the ball to Seth Williams (18) for a gain of 13 yards during the game between Auburn and Ole Miss at Vaught Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Oct 3, 2020; Oxford, MS, USA; Bo Nix (10) throws the ball to Seth Williams (18) for a gain of 13 yards during the game between Auburn and Ole Miss at Vaught Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics (Source: Todd Van Emst/Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Junior wide receiver Seth Williams, who caught the 58-yard touchdown pass from Nix in the final moments, has been the QB’s top target, averaging more than 18 yards per reception.

True freshman running back Tank Bigsby has three-straight 100-yard rushing games after a slow start in his first two contests of the season.

These are the challenges for an LSU defense that is improving but is still surrendering too many explosive plays.

Jabril Cox and Damone Clark during the first half of a game between LSU and South Carolina at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.(Photo by: Gus Stark / LSU Athletics)
Jabril Cox and Damone Clark during the first half of a game between LSU and South Carolina at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.(Photo by: Gus Stark / LSU Athletics) (Source: Gus Stark/Gus Stark / LSU Athletics)

“The sky’s the limit for this defense," said linebacker Jabril Cox. "I think it’s mostly about small assignments, eyes where we’re looking. A lot of times, we’re looking in the backfield and not our man. So, that’s the thing we have to keep preaching each week. But other than that, we’ve been dialing in on the communication part of it and we did a pretty good job of that last week.”

Cox had seven tackles against South Carolina, tying him with Stevens for the team leaders in that category for the game. Stevens had a half-sack and a tackle for loss. Cox had a half-tackle for loss. South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill was 12-of-22 for 234 yards and one touchdown. The Gamecocks picked up 188 yards on the ground.

LSU LB Jabril Cox - 10/27/20 (Full Interview)

The LSU defense was able to get to Hill, dropping him for five sacks, with three of those by true freshman defensive end BJ Ojulari, a performance that earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Ojulari currently leads the LSU defense in sacks (4) and tackles for loss (5). He’s tied with South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare for the most sacks in the entire conference.

LSU also had a pick-six by freshman cornerback Elias Ricks. It was his third interception this season. It was the second pick-six for the Tigers this season. Cox had one in the season-opener against Mississippi State.

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