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We Punched Auburn in the Mouth and It Felt Good

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I like it when we beat Auburn.

LSU v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At the school I coach, we run a bastardized Canadian version of Dave Aranda’s defense. When I rewatch the film after an LSU game, not only do I watch for who played well on LSU but I look at some of the concepts Aranda ran and what adjustments he made throughout the game.

I may be an ignoramus but I watched Saturday’s walk off win against Auburn again and really saw the same thing for four quarters. Auburn punched LSU in the mouth. And then LSU punched Auburn in the mouth. And then they hit us. And then we hit them. This is how Dave Aranda has played Gus Malzahn for three seasons. There is no subterfuge. LSU ran their Tite-4 and Under-1 defense and Auburn ran their Zone Split, Zone Slice and Power schemes. No rabbits pulled out of hats, no tricks up anyone’s sleeves.

This was Auburn against LSU as it should be.

Auburn won the middle of the part of the game, LSU won the bookends.

Auburn stayed the course and just hoped that a couple more of their run plays would pop, which they did on a the three touchdown drives. Aranda didn’t panic because he knew it wasn’t necessarily the scheme that got beat. Auburn just executed a little better on individual plays and we executed a little better on others. There’s nothing fancy about Auburn, they beat you with tempo and their o-line is pretty physical. You gotta answer back by fighting them the whole game.

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you do it: beating Auburn is always fun.

Getting to the Quarterback

Because of the way LSU plays their front on run downs, there is often only one edge rusher. Usually, it’s to the boundary but based on formation could be to the field. The opposite side has a lineman in a 4i technique inside the tackle. This makes pass rushing harder when teams throw on early downs. It’s easier for a guard and tackle to double team the 4i as that player (think Rashard Lawrence) makes the transition from a run stopper to a pass rusher. If I was running an opposing offense, I would think about throwing more on 1st & 10 because there’s a good chance I’ll get a cleaner pocket on those downs.

When LSU is able to get teams into passing downs, Aranda can bring on another edge rusher. Having 2 edge guys is how you get to the quarterback. Aranda threw in his Peso personnel (two ends and two interior guys) on third down, rushed four and was able to make life slightly uncomfortable for Stidham. A couple times he used a quick T-T stunt inside but overall these were all straight four-down rushes.

The pocket collapsing helped cause the Greedy interception.

Another pocket collapsing against Stidham from a four-man rush (though he’s able to escape)

Linebackers and Play Action

I’d also probably call more play action on those early downs. Teams know that LSU’s linebacking corps will be aggressive in stopping the run. Off play action, if the Field Backer (strong side outside linebacker) commits to the run, the slot back gets a one-on-one matchup with a running start on the safety. Miami ran similar stuff and Auburn does the same here:

The linebacker aggressiveness is going to give you some tackle-for-loss videos but also make you susceptible to play action and things of that nature.

On the fourth-and-one stop, Devin White’s instinctive nature and aggressiveness pays off.

Technically, against a power scheme, as the backside linebacker, he’s supposed to play over top and the ball will be boxed back inside to him but he just feels it and knifes through to make the stop along with Michael Divinity (who the fullback forgot to block)

On this next play, he stays patient, mirrors the running backs path, uses his athleticism to beat the blocker and makes the play

Everyone does their job frontside and White is able to clean it up from the backside.

Auburn had success running their zone play and finding a crease to the frontside of the play. I think, generally, Inside Zone is designed to bounce out the backside but Auburn was able to almost kick out our ends and find a little space in the frontside B gap a couple times.

The overzealousness of the linebackers to flow and then fit their gaps immediately allows this type of run to work.

Inside Guys

I wanted to show this play because it shows why LSU runs this Tite front and how it works against Zone offenses.

The dilemma that the offense has is that they don’t know which interior guys to double team. If the guards help on the 4i-techs, than the nose tackle is one-on-one and has a chance to shed the block and make the play which is what happens here. This was a good play by Ed Alexander.

If the backside guard helps on the nose, the backside 4i can slice in and make a play from the rear.

In very obvious news, Rashard Lawrence continues to be awesome. In the backfield the whole game. This poor tackle tried to cut him off on this play and he was in the backfield in an instant:

Here he gets such a jump on the snap that it’s almost like the Auburn guys are pass blocking and then he reads where the run is going, spins to the next gap, falls over and still makes the play. Pretty good.

Grant Delpit

The guy is everywhere.

This is Jamal Adams against Ole Miss a couple years ago:

This is Grant Delpit against Auburn on the weekend:

And

Here’s Jamal Adams against Alabama:

Here’s Delpit against Auburn:

Great. Fucking. Player.