The LSU Tigers, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Grambling State Tigers and ULM Warhawks kick off their 2019 seasons Saturday.
LSU, ranked No. 6 in both the preseason coaches’ poll and AP Top 25, hosts Georgia Southern at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network).
The Tigers, 10-3 last season, enter their third full season under head coach Ed Orgeron. Georgia Southern, a Sun Belt Conference member, is also coming off a 10-3 season that included a 23-21 victory over Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl.
Junior quarterback Shai Werts returns to run the Seahawks’ triple-option offense. He rushed for 958 yards and 15 touchdowns and passed for 987 and 10 TDs last season.
Senior Joe Burrow returns at quarterback for LSU. He passed for 2,894 yards and 16 TDS with five interceptions last year.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the team’s second-leading rusher last season with 658 yards, also returns.
Former Parkway star Terrace Marshall Jr., a sophomore, will start at one wide receiver position.
Last year, Marshall was still recovering from a broken leg suffered his senior year in high school. He started one game and played in all 13, catching 12 passes for 192 yards. Marshall said he’s 100 percent healthy heading into this season.
LSU has installed a new spread offense. But how much of that the Tigers unveil with a game at No. 10 Texas looming in Week 2 remains to be seen.
“Our guys are excited about it,” Orgeron said. “I know offensively they’ve been working very hard. We’re looking forward to putting this spread offense on the field against a good Georgia Southern defense.
“I want to see speed. We’ll give the receivers the ball in space, let them make plays. But we want to be 50/50 with the run game. We still want to be physical. We want to control the clock. Be interested to see how we do. I think we’ll do very well.”
Louisiana Tech, 8-5 last season, opens at Texas at 7 (Longhorn Network). The Longhorns went 10-4 last season.
Tech returns quarterback J’Mar Smith, who passed for 3,160 yards and 15 TDs with 10 interceptions.
Receiver Javonte Woodard, a former Haughton star, is back for his senior season.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger returns. He passed for 3,292 yards and 25 TDS with five interceptions last year.
Saturday’s game will be the first between the Longhorns and Bulldogs in football.
“I’ve seen a lot written about Texas being back and a consensus top 10 team, so we know what type of opponent we’re playing right from the get go,” Tech coach Skip Holtz said. “I think coach (Tom) Herman has done a great job with this football team. I think it’s good for college football when Texas is winning.
“They’ve got an incredible tradition and history, and I’ve got nothing but respect for that program. I know what type of challenge we have in front of us. It’s a great challenge, great opportunity, and something our players and coaches are really looking forward to.”
Grambling State and ULM are facing off against each other in Monroe at 7.
GSU went 6-5 last season and ULM 6-6.
Both teams return their starting quarterbacks, Geremy Hickbottom at Grambling and Caleb Evans at ULM.
Hickbottom passed for 1,945 yards and 16 TDS with nine interceptions last year. Evans passed for 2,869 yards and 16 TDS with 12 interceptions.
The Warhawks won the last meeting between the teams 48-10 in 2013.
As usual, there are plenty of former Bossier Parish high school stars listed on season opening rosters at colleges.
Here is a list. (This list was compiled from rosters found on the teams’ websites. If you know of a player left off this list, please send his name and school to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Terrace Marshall Jr., So., WR, Parkway
Lloyd Cole, RS Jr., CB, Parkway
Javonte Woodard, RS Sr., WR, Haughton
Ezekiel Barnett, RS Jr. S, Benton
Doyle Adams Jr., RS Fr., WR, Benton
Tanner Ash, RS So., WR, Benton (Evangel)
Coby McGee, So., WR, Airline
Jackson Mathews, So., LB, Benton
Phillip Lee, RS So., DB, Airline
Caleb Laboy, Jr., WR, Bossier City (Evangel)
Bobby Bell, RS Fr., S, Bossier City (Evangel)
East Texas Baptist
Drew Brewster, Jr., DL, Airline
Colton Prater, Sr., OL, Airline
Keldrick Carper, Jr., DB, Plain Dealing
Israel Mukuamu, So., S, Parkway
CJ Morgan, Jr., S, Parkway
Jared Lancaster, RS Jr., WR, Parkway
Bijan Mitchell, RS So., LB, Plain Dealing
Gavin Roe, Fr., LB, Haughton
Justin Rogers, RS Fr., QB, Parkway
Artavious Lynn, Jr., TE, Parkway
Dante Williams, RS Jr., LB, Parkway
Anthony Echols, DL, Fr., Benton
Shuncee Thomas, Jr, RB, Airline
Northeastern Oklahoma (spring roster)
Boo McKnight, Sr., RB, Parkway
D’Kameron White, Jr., S, Airline
Southwestern (Kansas) College
Darren Hicks, Jr., DL, Haughton
Mount Union University
Malik Britt, So., WR, Airline
Miles Landingham, Sr., OL, Parkway
Saxon Cavanaugh, Jr., DL, Plain Dealing
Micah Dunn, So., WR, Airline
Antavius Freeman, Fr., TE, Airline
Keondre Wudtee, Jr., QB, Parkway