LSU’s offensive line gets inexperienced Wisconsin front

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins fields questions during LSU media day on Aug. 10.
Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins fields questions during LSU media day on Aug. 10.

LSU’s strength will face Wisconsin’s weakness.

The two teams meet in a top-15 showdown at 8 p.m. Saturday in Houston. The match within the match is an experienced LSU offensive line against an inexperienced Wisconsin front seven.

“For us, it’s kind of weird not being able to have any film to watch on guys new to a program,” LSU left tackle La’el Collins said, “but the thing we have to do is make sure we prepare ourselves for the scheme those guys run.”

Wisconsin’s defensive line and linebackers aren’t necessarily new to the program, but they’re new starters who haven’t played as much as an LSU offensive line that returns four starters.

The Tigers offensive line combines for 73 starts, though center Elliott Porter is expected to be replaced with sophomore Ethan Pocic.

The Wisconsin front seven? Twelve starts. And no player has started more than four games. Projected starting defensive end Chikwe Obasih is a redshirt freshman who hasn’t played a down of college football.

The Badgers listed defense is a 3-4, but they can quickly switch into a 4-3. They shuffle about before the snap.

“They do some different things, like to line up in different fronts, move to another front before the snap,” Collins said.

Said senior Evan Washington: “You’ve got to be ready to adjust on the run. They’ll switch defenses just like that.”

Washington said Wisconsin’s front seven doesn’t immediately attack, as LSU’s is known to do. The group is a “read-type defense,” he said.

“They see what you’re doing, and they try to shed you with their hands,” Washington said. “It’s going to be a hand battle.”

Fanaikas OK after quake

Projected starting right guard Hoko Fanaika said his family in San Francisco was all right Sunday after the 6.0 earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay area.

“I called them,” Fanaika said. “They slept through it.”

The earthquake was the biggest to rattle the San Francisco area since the 1989 quake that struck during the Giants-Athletics World Series.

“I’ve been through a couple” of quakes, Fanaika said. “No big deal.”

Ready for prime time?

Saturday’s contest will be just the 65th night game in the history of Wisconsin’s program. By comparison, LSU has played 296 night games since 1960 in Tiger Stadium alone.

The Badgers are 37-27 in night games, including a 6-1 record in neutral site games. Wisconsin was 1-2 in night games last year with losses at Arizona State (32-20) and Ohio State (31-24) and a win at Illinois (56-32).

Lagniappe

Saturday begins the 121st season of LSU football. The Tigers go into 2014 with an all-time record of 753-396-47. LSU ranks 11th all-time in victories, 12th all-time in winning percentage (.649). Wisconsin is 652-480-53, a winning percentage of .573. … FOXSports.com’s national college football writer, Bruce Feldman, picked Leonard Fournette to win the Heisman Trohpy this season in a list of 10 bold predictions ahead of the college football season. … According to the Houston Chronicle, Texans President Jamey Rootes joked that finding enough beer for LSU fans was first priority when LSU-Wisconsin was announced.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv. For more coverage of LSU football, follow our Tiger Tracks blog.