LSU never trailed in its 37-27 victory against TCU, thanks in large part to execution of a balanced offensive game plan behind the strong play of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
At his weekly press luncheon Tuesday, LSU coach Les Miles credited Mettenberger with throwing “80 percent” of his passes accurately, taking dropped passes and throwaways into account.
“The one thing Zach appears to me to have is a greater tempo,” Miles said. “[He] understands what he’s responsible to do in terms of coordinating the style of play and the motion and the adjustment there after.”
Miles noted the Tigers’ struggle to convert in the red zone as his primary concern with the offense.
“We spent a lot of time in that tight red zone,” Miles said. “We did not execute that into the game plan. Certainly, we’ll spend more time on it and see if we can get it fixed.”
The physical play of the Tigers’ defensive front four’s physical play on Saturday leads Miles to believe it will perform at the same level as its recent predecessors.
Going into the opening game, questions surrounded the Tigers’ defensive line, as it seemed to be riddled with inexperience, but Miles said junior defensive ends Jordan Allen and Jermauria Rasco worked hard in the offseason to silence the critics.
“Even though guys like Jordan Allen have not played very significantly to this point, he was constantly improving,” Miles said. “He was getting bigger, faster and stronger. When you had the opportunity to call his name, he would be ready.”
Looking forward, Miles discussed LSU’s preparation for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a program that defeated the Tigers in its last trip to Death Valley in 2000.
He pointed to UAB junior wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson, who broke out with nine receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday against Troy, and sophomore quarterback Austin Brown as the Blazers’ key threats.
LSU will also focus on how to attack UAB’s experienced defense.
“They have a veteran defense,” Miles said. “Eight junior starters return, and [they have] a very good scheme. They will mix it up on you.”
Miles confirmed junior tight end Travis Dickson and senior linebacker Tahj Jones, who sat out against TCU due to injury, would be ready to play on Saturday.
LSU sophomore running back Jeremy Hill made the trip to Dallas, but failed to see the field on Saturday.
Miles refused to give details on Hill’s status, but indicated he will see playing time in the near future.
“We will put him on the field when we are ready,” Miles said. “I think he is coming. I think his time is in front of us.”