The week is entering its close, and the big game is quickly coming upon us. I feel like everything that needs to be said may already have been said. Last night, I did a long interview with the guys from Roll Bama Roll. The link to the podcast can be found here. They seemed to be a little taken aback that I was less than effusive in my praise of all aspects of the LSU football team and their matchup with Bama. I was just doing what I do here all the time: give the team credit where it's due without denying whatever problems might exist.
Here are some recaps of the things we talked about and some other observations:
- LSU's big advantage in the game is with our receivers versus their secondary. We have the best receiver corps in the conference and Bama's secondary is the weakest part of its defense.
- That will mean nothing if our offensive line does not give Jordan Jefferson time to pass. Bama has made some good quarterbacks (Ryan Mallett, Jevan Snead) look very bad by pressuring them relentlessly and not letting them throw. The offensive line will have to play its best game in pass protection to allow our receivers to finish their routes.
- Jordan Jefferson has played very well the last few weeks and that will have to continue.
- Our defense is a lot better than its numbers. Our defensive numbers are deceptive because of the Washington game, which is more and more ancient history. Also, we've had some games where yardage numbers were inflated because the defense had to stay on the field the whole game due to a poorly working offense. Our defense, especially our back 7, is really good.
- The front 4, however, is a little disappointing. We aren't getting enough playmaking from any position or any player, except Drake Nevis. Rahim Alem is not getting the pass rush we expected out of him, probably because no one else on the line is effective at rushing the passer and opposing blocking schemes can give Alem a lot of attention.
- I expect us to use a lot of play-action pass, some roll-outs, and other means of slowing down the pass rush. We have been very effective in using play action all year, and I expect us to lean heavily on it this week. We'll also need to employ our power running game, to keep the defense honest on the play action, but I do not expect to have a lot of success running with Charles Scott in this game. We've been simply too ineffective with it all year to expect it to suddenly start working against the best defensive front we'll see the entire season.
- If I was Nick Saban or Jim McElwain, I would run the ball right at us with Mark Ingram until we show we can stop it. If I was John Chavis, I would plan for Mark Ingram to run the ball a lot and I would sell out to stop it. I think I would plan that 2/3 of every 1st or 2nd down would be a run. Florida was able to kill us with a thousand tiny cuts by running the ball up the middle. Why shouldn't Bama try to do the same, at least until we show we can stop it?
- It looks like Bama TE Colin Peek is going to either be out for the game or will be playing at limited effectiveness. This is very important, as Peek has arguably been Bama's 2nd most effective offensive player behind Mark Ingram. Had he played in the game against Tennessee, he would probably lead the team in receptions and be 2nd in yards receiving. As it is, he's tied for 2nd in receptions and 3rd in yards receiving. He has been their go-to possession receiver, as opposing defenses are effectively shutting down Julio Jones, at least down the field.
- "A House Divided" license plates are tacky, and their ubiquity has gotten out of hand.
- Toddlers say really funny things sometimes.