Friday, November 6, 2009

Recipe to Beat Bama: Ingredient's Four and Five

The first ingredient was: 2nd and 6 or Less.

The second ingredient was: 200+ and 2:1.

The third ingredient is: Win the Turnover War.

The fourth ingredient is:  Take Advantage of Big Plays.

Long drives are going to be very tough to sustain.  The Tigers will not likely be able to get to the endzone without great field position.  And it will be difficult to get great field position without some big plays.  And by big plays, I mean offense, defense and special teams.  When they happen, the Tigers need to convert.  LSU needs to have a plan to capitalize on momentum-shifting big plays and get points on the board.

On offense, I would expect the big plays to come via the passing game.  As I have discussed earlier, LSU has enough offensive weaponry, in the persons of Lafell, Toliver, Shepard, Holliday, Scott and Randle, to gain some big yardage a few times in Saturday's game. 

On defense, LSU will obviously be looking for turnovers.  But as we've hinted, Bama is almost as stingy as LSU in this realm.  So the defense will also need to come up with some big stops.  The Tigers need to force some 3 and outs in Bama territory, and also stop the Tide from scoring 7 in the Red Zone.
Special teams may be the best place for LSU to make big plays.  LSU's punt return stats are great.  But the most interesting stat is kickoff returns.  Bama is last in the SEC on kickoff coverage.  And, while LSU is last in kickoff returns, most of that is because the Tigers seldom get a chance to return one - teams have either sky kicked or otherwise avoided letting LSU's deep men get the football.  If Alabama makes the mistake of kicking to Holliday and Brooks, perhaps we can have some excitement on Saturday.
The fifth ingredient is:  Penalties and Luck.
Regardless of whether you believe Bama gets referee preference, the stats for penalties between LSU and Bama lately are hard to dispute.  Basically, LSU gives up somewhere between 40 and 60 yards a game to Bama in penalties.  The Tigers need to reverse this stat.  While the Tigers can't force the refs to call penalties on Bama, they can make it difficult to call them on LSU. 
And Luck.  I'm talking about fumbles that bounce the right way - back into Tiger hands.  I'm talking about dropped interceptions.  I'm talking about Jefferson seeing a blown coverage in time to take advantage of it before being sacked.  I'm talking about McElroy getting sacked just before he's able to find a wide open receiver in blown coverage.  LSU needs Lady Luck to be wearing purple on Saturday.
In summary, LSU needs solid first down gains, a productive passing game, an advantage in turnovers, some big plays that result in scores, and some luck with the refs and the football.
LSU needs all of these things to one degree or another.  Otherwise, Bama's defense will beat LSU's offense and the Tigers lose.
I don't like it.  But that's how I see it.
Not an easy recipe.


  1. I enjoyed your insight until the end about "luck with the officials." That conspiracy crap is a bunch of garbage and is horrible for college football. I think LSU hasn't lost in Tuscaloosa since 1999, so the officials didn't help Bama out too much then. Should be a great game

  2. Well, all I did was state facts. LSU gets penalized a lot more than Bama when they play in Tuscaloosa. Not losing in Tucaloosa has nothing to do with that.

    I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. The data is there and you can look it up on the SEC website.


Don't be rude. Or I will delete your comment. Questions?