Monday, November 2, 2009

LSU's Recipe to Beat Bama: Ingredient One

I said early in the season that I thought LSU would lose at least 2 games, maybe 3 or even 4, this year.  The two almost certain losses were Florida and Bama. 

While I still think the odds are against LSU beating Bama on Saturday, I think they are far more likely to pull off a victory than I originally thought.  Mostly because Bama's offense is not as good as I thought it would be.  But also because LSU's defense is better than I thought it would be.

For the next five days, I'm going to offer a simple (well, maybe not simple) 5 ingredient recipe to an LSU victory on Saturday.

Ingredient #1:  2nd and 6 or Less. 

This is the toughest part of the recipe by far.  Bama is not going to make it easy for LSU to pound 4 yards up the middle (or even around the end) on 1st down.  Bama's defensive line is stout.  Bama's linebackers are excellent.  And LSU's offensive line has not dominated any defensive line, except maybe Tulane's, all season long.  I seriously doubt Charles Scott is going to be able to average 4-5 yards per carry.

So the coaching staff is going to have to have a creative first down gameplan, and Jordan Jefferson is going to have to execute it.  What might that look like?  Well, I hope it's creative enough to elude our imagination.  But I'll take a stab at it.  I think LSU's first down gameplan will involve a mixture of play action from the power I formation, quick slants to Richard Dickson, bubble screens to Toliver and Lafell, and a few novelty plays, like shuffle passes and reverses and maybe a halfback pass (Shepard to Holliday?).  And, of course, there will be a dose of Charles Scott (or Stevan Ridley?) up the middle.  But hopefully it will be infrequent and therefore more successful.

Why is this ingredient important?  Because LSU has not been good on 3rd and long.  And Alabama has a damned good defense.  And 2nd and 10, with a "meh" offensive line and a still-young QB is not a great recipe against the Tide.  However, shorter second down situations with any kind of frequency will allow Crowton and Miles to have fun with the offensive weapons at their disposal.  And there are a lot of weapons, especially in the receiving corps. 

Achievable?  Yes.  Likely?  Great question.  The rest of the ingredients will help make this more likely.

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