LSU football preview: Tigers 2017 schedule, roster and three things to watch

LSU enters Ed Orgeron's first full season with a new offensive coordinator, a Heisman candidate and questions at QB. A look at the Tigers heading into the spring.

LSU enters its first full season under Ed Orgeron with the same high expectations in the SEC West.

Les Miles and Leonard Fournette might be gone, but Orgeron has embraced those expectations with a roster that always has enough talent to compete. The Tigers showed that in an impressive 29-9 victory against Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl to end the 2016 season.

MORE: LSU QB Brandon Harris transferring from program

The Tigers have a Heisman Trophy candidate in Derrius Guice and a new offensive coordinator in Matt Canada. Per usual, those SEC hopes might come down to quarterback play.

The Tigers are ranked No. 11 in Sporting News' Way-Too-Early Top 25, and here's a preview of LSU's 2017 schedule, roster and biggest questions entering the season.

When is LSU's spring game?

LSU's spring game is 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Where will LSU's spring game be televised?

LSU's spring game will be televised on the SEC Network.

2017 LSU football schedule

Sept. 2: vs. BYU (at Houston)

Sept. 9: vs. Chattanooga

Sept. 16: at Mississippi State

Sept. 23: vs. Syracuse

Sept. 30: vs. Troy

Oct. 7: at Florida

Oct. 14: vs. Auburn

Oct. 21: at Ole Miss

Oct. 28: BYE

Nov. 4: at Alabama

Nov. 11: vs. Arkansas

Nov. 18: at Tennessee

Nov. 25: vs. Texas A&M

Dec. 2: SEC championship game

2017 LSU recruiting class

LSU's recruiting class had a composite ranking of No. 8 across four major recruiting sites. The jewel of the class is five-star safety JaCoby Stevens, and four-star defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin is the top recruit in state of Louisiana.

2017 LSU roster

LSU's spring and fall roster will be updated here.

Three things to watch

1. How will Canada help the QB?

Brandon Harris announced his intentions to transfer, meaning Danny Etling, who took over the starting job in 2016, will try to improve under Canada. Etling closed strong in the victories against Texas A&M and Louisville, but he averaged just 138 passing yards with a 52.6 completion percentage in losses to Auburn, Alabama and Florida. Better quarterback play is the key to LSU's SEC title hopes. It will be intriguing to see how Canada influences Etling's game.

2. Who's behind Guice?

Guice averaged 9.0 yards per carry behind Fournette the last two seasons. Guice is a powerful runner and a Heisman Trophy candidate running behind an experienced line. The power running game will be there, but it always clicks better with two big-time backs. Darrel Williams, who rushed for 233 yards and three TDs last season, will be in line for more carries. He's a player to watch in the spring.

3. Who fills the front seven?

LSU retained defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, but he'll have to juggle the front seven in the spring after losing defensive linemen Tashawn Bower and Davon Godchaux and linebackers Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley to the NFL. Complicating matters is Arden Key – who led the Tigers with 11.0 sacks last season —took a leave of absence. The good news is the secondary should be top notch again, and it will be interesting to see how Stevens fits in.

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