LSU’s young talent ready to face true SEC road environment

For much of this team, the adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” can apply for this weekend’s trip to Auburn.

It’s been well covered how new this LSU team is as a whole and as the team gets ready for its first true road SEC environment, there is plenty that will have to be learned on the fly. Facing that hostile adversity on the road is something these players can’t be replicated no matter how much fake noise simulation is run throughout the course of practice.

Coach Brian Kelly said that fake noise was run during practice this week but that’s just step one. The other, more significant step is simplifying the gameplan on both sides of the ball to best avoid communication errors, presnap penalties and mental errors as well.

“You have to duplicate that in practice and maybe overemphasize it, make it a little more difficult,” Kelly said. “I think we made it difficult with crowd noise this week so you start there. Then you have a way to keep things simple and limit some of the things that bring the crowd into the game. The best way to keep a crowd quiet is play really well on offense so that’s what we’re planning to do.”

This can certainly be applied to the true freshmen on the roster who find themselves contributing at an early stage in their careers. Offensive linemen Will Campbell and Emery Jones, tight end Mason Taylor and linebacker Harold Perkins have already established themselves as future pillars of this program.

Certainly the athletic ability has really flashed with each of those players and their contributions to the team. Emery and Campbell have graded out as two of the best tackles in the SEC in their two weeks of sharing the field. Perkins has led the team in tackles and shown an early knack for always being around the ball. Taylor has been a great safety net for quarterback Jayden Daniels at the tight end spot for checkdowns and short area throws that help move the chains.

But beyond the athletic ability, these are freshmen who are made of the right stuff mentally, which is why Kelly has no issue throwing them out on the field Saturday night and letting them play.

“You need more than athletic ability to play as a true freshman. You’ve gotta have traits that are past your ability and all of those guys are extremely coachable,” Kelly said. “They trust what they’re being taught and then they translate that to the field. I think that’s probably, in my career, the way you get on the field quicker.”

This will be a true test for the purple and gold to figure out how they handle noise and potential adversity on the road.

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