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Notebook: Three storylines going into LSU’s matchup against Arkansas this weekend

Here are three storylines to pay attention to going into this weekend.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
LSU Tigers safety Greg Brooks Jr. (3) during the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl between the LSU Tigers and the Purdue Boilermakers on January 2, 2023 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl.
Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 12 LSU is improves its record to a 2-1 record after they defeated Mississippi State on the road in a 41-14 blowout.

Not only did the offense put over 500 yards of total offense once again but the defense held the Bulldogs to just over 200 yards of total offense.

On Saturday, LSU will host Arkansas in the first SEC home game of the year. Although the Razorbacks blew a 10-point lead to BYU to lose 38-31, this is a rivalry game so it shouldn’t surpise anyone that this may be a close game.

Let’s dive into the three biggest storylines involving LSU this weekend.


LSU safety Greg Brooks’ family released a statement late Tuesday night that he had a large brain tumor and he had a successful emergency surgery to remove the mass. However, the family announced that they were still waiting on the biopsy results. It was announced last week that Brooks would miss the Mississippi State game due to the previously disclosed medical issue.

“Greg continues to fight, and we await further clarity on the extent of that battle,” the family said in its statement concerning Brooks. “His incredible strength of character gives us confidence but we also know that he needs our support now more than ever. Please keep Greg and our family in your prayers.”

After he continued to experience dizziness in the last few weeks, LSU head coach Brian Kelly became concerned.

“Finally, we said enough’s enough and we got an MRI,” Kelly said on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference on Wednesday just hours after Brooks’ family announced his diagnosis. “That’s when the tumor was located. The vertigo was just a symptom of what was obviously a larger issue.”

After LSU’s 41-14 win against Mississippi State, Brooks received the game ball and the players raised three fingers in honor of Brooks’ jersey number.

Kelly did not feel comfortable discussing the details of the reasons for Brooks’ absence until after the family’s announcement to protect their privacy. He ruled out Brooks for LSU’s home game against Arkansas this Saturday nor does he have a timeline for a potential return. Brooks’ family also did not say if or when he might return to the field.

“There are so many unanswered questions,” Kelly said. “I don’t even know that I could even begin to give you the medical pieces, relative to the surgery, to even give you an educated answer to that.”

Brooks, who prepped at West Jefferson High School in the New Orleans area, played at Arkansas who happens to be the Tigers’ opponent for this week. He started 31 games as a nickel safety for the Razorbacks and made 112 tackles over three seasons. Brooks transferred to LSU before the 2022 season.

“He’s a wonderful, wonderful kid,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “That didn’t change when he decided to go back to his home state of Louisiana. We have prayed and will continue to pray every day for his health.”

Pittman coached Brooks at Arkansas for two seasons in 2020 and 2021.

Daniels and Nabers earned SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors

Daniels and Nabers were both named SEC Co-Offensive Players of the Week for their excellent performances after an amazing performance by both players.

It became fully evident that this connection was one of the best in the country against Mississippi last Saturday when Daniels and Nabers accounted for 239 of LSU’s passing yards and both of its passing touchdowns as the Bulldogs had no answer for those two.

Daniels completed 88.2% of his passes (an SEC record) with 361 yards and two touchdowns along with 64 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Nabers had 13 receptions for 239 yards (both career highs) and two touchdowns.

Had The Defense Has Finally Found its “Inner Dog”?

One of the biggest issues for LSU this season was its defense, especially with its secondary. LSU allowed 14 big plays against Florida State, including nine pass plays of 15+ yards, and nine big plays in the first half of LSU’s 72-10 win over Grambling State.

LSU’s defense did not play with the physicality needed to win primetime games in the SEC. It also doesn’t help that the defensive backfield, which is traditionally the backbone of LSU’s defense, has been the main issue with woes on defense.

However, LSU’s defense may have turned a corner.

The Tigers held Mississippi State to just 201 yards of total offense and held one of the top rushing offenses in the country to just 119 yards on the ground. LSU’s defense harassed Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers all game as he completed just 39.2% of his passes (11-for-28) and sacked him four times.

Although Mississippi State is not what a lot of people thought they were going to be, it was great to see LSU play at such a high level of intensity from the first whistle until the last.

However, LSU must do the same thing against Arkansas which has another experienced quarterback in KJ Jefferson and if he is healthy by gameday, one of the best running backs in the SEC if not the country in Rocket Sanders.

If LSU has another shutdown performance, the rest of the conference will be put on notice.