Of course everyone knows about the qb derby down on the Ponderosa. This is obviously important since any game can turn on what happens with the qb as Jeffrey discussed. Point being, there's plenty about the 2008 LSU Fightin' Tigers to be concerned with, and there's plenty to be excited about. Sometimes these issues coincide. What I want to point out are some keys to LSU losing or winning.
When people discuss the strengths of LSU last year and this year, the defense is always at the top and rightfully so. But everything has an achilles heel (don't I know it). And for the Tigers, it's the matchup between a slot receiver and a linebacker. This was glaringly obvious in the Florida game. LSU had a solid defensive gameplan and executed well, containing Tebow to some degree. Where the Gators moved the ball when it counted and/or with big gains was plays to the slot on a bad matchup with our linebacker.
I watched this game a couple times (some parts several thanks to the dvr back button) after the fact and paid special attention to that matchup. In retrospect, the Gators did well when they spread the field and got a linebacker on a player (Harvin) no linebacker has business covering. It was no contest. A lot of those times, Beckwith was that linebacker. He's fast and capable, but it didn't matter. Now, a great deal of our opponents don't have the talent or the system to exploit this weakness, but you and I aren't worried about those games. The teams that can do this are the big games, UF, UGA, AU. They have the talent and systems to exploit this. Why wouldn't they? It will be very hard to run against LSU and the pass defense in a tradional 4-3 or nickel against a traditional offense is more than capable. But in the spread scheme, this is a match up to watch for and where LSU is very vulnerable.
So is this all doom and gloom? WIll the Tiger defense have a weakness that can't be fixed? No. Here's the other side of that coin. Harry Coleman, Danny McCray, and my man Chad Jones are why. LSU has a wealth of talent at corner and safety. But for the guys that don't win a starting spot, it almost doesn't matter. Defense against the spread usually involves running more of a nickel/dime than a base 4-3. Guess who comes in at nickel and dime? It will be very fun to see guys like Jones, McCray and Coleman on the field at the same time. Now this isn't written in stone. I don't have some secret info. I do know that an atheletes like Jones, McCray and Coleman are perfect for attacking the spread in that nickelback role. Being physically somewhere a bit past safety and sorta like linebacker, they are ideal for coming up and attacking a run but their great quickness will allow them to cover that slot receiver. Freshman phenom Patrick Peterson will contribute as well, but more at corner something we'll get into tomorrow. We've got some new guys at spots. Some terrify me, others will eventually terrify the enemy.