10/25/14 LSU vs Ole Miss

LSU sophomore quarterback, Anthony Jennings (10), throws the ball in Tiger Stadium Saturday, October 25, 2014 where LSU won 10-7 against Ole Miss.

It’s no secret the LSU football team’s offense has begun to click.

The No. 14 Tigers (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) have won its last three SEC contests and have gained more than 1,000 yards during the three game win streak. They have rushed for 762 yards in the process and dominated time of possession, averaging over 33 minutes.

LSU’s ability to move the ball has played a significant role in its resurgence into the tight SEC West battle, but what may hinder the Tigers is their inability to convert in the red zone.

The Tigers are statistically one of the worst red zone converting teams in the SEC. LSU is second to last in the SEC in converting in the red area against conference opponents. Out of a possible 17 attempts, the Tigers have converted on only 13 chances giving them a conversion percentage of 76.47 percent.

The numbers get worse for the Tigers against top 25 opponents. The Tigers only convert on 60 percent of their opportunities in the red zone against ranked opponents, which is tied for last in the SEC.

Junior offensive lineman Vadal Alexander said the biggest issue so far this year has been the struggles in technique and assignment keys when shortening the field.

“We need to really focus on knowing exactly what’s going on and exactly what to do so we can really identify what [the opponent is] going to do,” Alexander said. “It’s not a talent or physicality thing it’s just knowing what you need to do and executing it.”

The Tigers’ biggest struggle in the red zone came in their upset victory against then No. 3 Ole Miss. LSU moved the ball with ease in its first two drives, but it didn’t convert on both opportunities early to take a potential 14-0 lead because of a missed Colby Delahoussaye field goal and a goal line fumble by Leonard Fournette.

Senior fullback Connor Neighbors said the Tigers’ inability to convert is the lack of plays that are made once they get to the opponents end of the field.

“You just have to make those plays,” Neighbors said. “A couple of times we’ve had just simple mistakes which kind of hurt us in the beginning. All we got to do is correct those things, and it’s hard sometimes. As long as the offense can score while we’re deep in the red zone that’s all that matters.”

Sophomore offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins said the offense gets too excited when in the red zone, and once they begin to settle down and concentrate the Tigers will have no trouble scoring on opponents.

“I think it’s just our anxiety,” Hawkins said. “It’s our nerves knowing that we’re that close and we’re just trying to get it in. All we got to do is just calm down a little bit, execute and get into the end zone and we’re working on that a lot.”

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