LSU vs. Florida

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron glances back at the football field Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, during LSU's 49-42 win against Florida at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

This weekend could be a thriller in Bryant Denny Stadium as the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide will combat the Tigers of LSU. LSU has a chance to make this game captivating from the opening kick, but there are three ideals that LSU must take into Bryant Denny to get the upset win over their rival. 

LSU can learn from their mistakes in the past games they have lost this season and understand that in order to get the desired results, the offense must start off hot. This means LSU must protect the ball, limit their penalties and manage the clock well. Alabama is allowing 20.6 points per game, which ranks 33rd in the country. The defense is allowing all of 2.8 yards per carry in the run game and 7.17 yards per game passing. 

Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Goulding will be showing 3-3-5 and 4-2-5 schemes to start the game—this is where the Tigers have a chance to test their might against this defense physically. Both defensive sets by Goulding are used to get his extra nickel backers and linebackers flying around in the pass game, while simultaneously showing unfamiliar blitz packages at the line of scrimmage. This is where LSU can find a loophole in Alabama’s system to put up a lot of points, but the scenario for the LSU offense is to establish a run game early and often. If the LSU offense prioritizes run-pass-option, this could make Bama have to adjust their alignment. An example of that is when they played Texas A&M, Bama was not able to keep a safety in the box near the front seven.

The reason Texas A&M did this was to divert the defenders' eyes away from the action so that they could run the ball right in front of them all night long. If you watch the very first play of that game, you will notice that A&M is in a bunches formation with two receivers on each side of the field and one running back beside their quarterback. During this play, A&M motions receivers to the other side, which is a ploy to see if the Bama defense was in man or zone coverage to start the game. Since the first play was a run and not a pass, A&M was able to sneakily attack the inside zone of their defense for a large part of the game. 

LSU could benefit from watching that game because earlier in the year the Tigers were a zone-run team very often. Even though it was not that brilliant earlier in the year, LSU should not be timid to mix in some pin and pull runs and counter runs, which will open up cutback lanes for those LSU running backs. 

Secondly, the LSU defense will have to play one of the best games of the year to contain this high-powered offense of Bama. LSU will have to get away from their usual base defensive concepts and possibly show an entirely different look to combat their spread offense. First, LSU will need to show a different look from the 3-4 or 4-3 look and instead disguise the actual defense they need to run, which would ideally be a 4-2-5. A 4-2-5 is a scheme that allows for the defensive coordinator to have a dime package, also known as having five or six defensive backs on the field instead of the usual four. When LSU defensive linemen have played at their best, they can be excellent pass rushers and sturdy run protectors, so they will be the key to unlocking the potential of this LSU defense for Saturday's game.  

Finally, the controversy that is surrounding this LSU Tigers team is not easily overlooked whether you are a coach, player, trainer, medical personnel or operations worker. The drama that is surrounded this season must be set aside from the moment the team wakes up to board that plane. It is a business trip to say the least, and Alabama will not forget what happened in 2019 anytime soon, so they will look forward to making their presence noticed from the sound of the first whistle. 

LSU has a better chance to walk in with their heads high if they are not flustered at the first bit of turmoil that strikes during the game. Remaining focused and calm will keep LSU mentally sharp and engaged through 60 minutes.

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