Kendell Beckwith and Deion "Debo" Jones played almost all of LSU's defensive snaps this past Saturday night, and finished with a combined 23 tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass break-up.
That's no big surprise, as LSU used its nickel package as a base set against Mississippi State's spread offense, but it also means that the duo could be in for another long night on Saturday against Auburn. Gus Malzahn loves to spread the field, but would prefer to be a little more run-centric, and is more likely to stick with the run even if LSU stones it early and gets a lead, compared to Dan Mullen.
What will be interesting is whether LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will stick with the nickel as a base package with some dime/mustang mixed in, or try to use more of a base 4-3 look to deal with Auburn's pulling guards and H-back blockers.
One adjustment that Malzahn is almost certain to pull from Mullen is the use of the "drive" concept to try and isolate his backs in the passing game.
Drive is a classic West Coast Offense staple that usually features that shallow crossing route, but Mississippi State used it instead to run a clear-out for the running back on that swing or flat route of the backfield, to the tune of 6 catches for 54 yards. It was also the play call on State's missed two-point conversion at the end of the game, although the back was certainly open on the play.
Jones in particular will have those flat responsibilities, and he'll have to be mindful, especially against Auburn's Roc Thomas, who had 73 yards receiving and a touchdown last week.