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The Saturday Night Film Review: LSU vs. Northwestern State

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The LSU offense goes to the lab.

NCAA Football: Northwestern State at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ho hum. Just another classic LSU Air Raid performance versus an inferior opponent. Only 488 yards passing in 1 football game. What is this? 2007. If they don’t go over 500 yards against Vanderbilt I’m rioting.

It will take a while to get used to this.

Through three games, LSU has sliced opposing pass defenses to the tune of 436 yards per game on an incredible 81 percent pass completion rate. It would have taken Nick Fitzgerald 195 pass attempts in last years game in Baton Rouge to get to that many yards. Joe Burrow’s 13.9 Adjusted Passing Yards per Attempt places him fourth in the country. He’s hovering near Ian Book and Dillon Gabriel’s 14.3 and 14.5 AYA numbers but is far from the ludicrous 17.4 (!) AYA that Jalen Hurts has put up so far.

LSU had relied on a limited number of offensive concepts against Georgia Southern and Texas but the game plan this week against a vastly inferior Northwestern State squad was to get into the lab and test out some new things.

The running game, which was not good, showed some new counter plays that LSU will probably need in the future. The offense had relied on a heavy dose of Duo runs to start the year so they definitely needed to diversify. They tried those aforementioned counters and an outside zone run that I don’t remember seeing previously.

Again, none of this really worked. In fact, in what has become somewhat of a meme, the only really nice run was on Duo where Clyde did his favored spin move against the unblocked defender. The run game probably needs to get a bit better but I’m not worried if the passing game continues to shred teams.

The pass game showed off a some nice stuff that did actually work. The Tigers have been killing teams on their play action deep over play and they came out with progression off of it this week.

The whole point of the play is to suck the backers up and throw right behind them like in the following clip to Jefferson:

You can see on the outside both receivers run deep hooks. LSU is trying to show that they are running deep like on a normal play action concept but then just settle underneath for an easy completion. Burrow hit Dillon for a completion on this route later.

LSU still ran their post-over-dig concept for two big plays including one of the Marshall touchdowns. The Marshall one wasn’t off play action, instead they leak the back out and have him mesh with one of the slot backs to hold the underneath coverage.

Another new concept that LSU rolled out was this mesh play out of empty. It seems like they are adding a lot to their empty package, which I like. This play is a variation of the Chip Kelly “mesh-sit-wheel” that everyone is running these days. You can see in the clip, Clyde and Dillon run the mesh part with Sullivan running the sit route (which runs vs. man) and the two outside receivers ruining vertical routes.

The interception came off a sail/flood concept that, again, LSU hadn’t shown that much. It’s a good play by the cornerback but Burrow’s timing is off. He takes an extra hitch step which allows the corner to slam on the breaks to get in front of Jefferson. At that point in the concept timeline, Burrow should just throw the flat route OR come back to find Marshall on the backside dig that you’ll see is kinda coming open on the bottom of the screen. Burrow’s timing has been pretty good this season but it’s one of the things he can work on.

This was another excellent outing for the offense. We can all recall these games against lower league teams where LSU would still look sluggish before pulling away. This was, as it’s been all year, refreshing.