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Post Game Review: Kentucky

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The End

Everyone is so fired. Seriously, it’s just not worth considering the implications of results anymore, like, they’re fired. We know there is no future for the Orgeron regime, we know there’s no going forward, so what’s the point? LSU playing meaningless football games is absolutely depressing.

RECAP

They got tire ironed from start to finish, the game was never remotely in doubt. The game started, Kentucky scored a lot, LSU sorta didn’t despite running the ball MUCH better than they had. It was ugly, it was a schooling, I’m not super sure you need a recap of the sequencing because it had no bearing on the game, it didn’t matter. If you want it though, ESPN has a drive by drive summary that they paid somebody to make which seems like an OSHA violation.

Also Kayshon Boutte got hurt, lol, of course he did. Satan has come to collect his end of the deal Ed Orgeron made. Give me another explanation

Film Review

YY

The most notable thing that gave LSU difficulty on Saturday besides literally everything was Kentucky’s use of YY sets. A YY set is simply two in-line tight ends to one side of the formation. This is done to create extra gaps the run defense has to account for.

Here is a good example, the first of several, of how they attacked LSU’s 4 down, over and under front structure. Because LSU’s force defender is (like, almost always) their 5-technique DE, Kentucky gets into YY to outgap them to the outside. Simply put, your force defender is now inside the outside of the formation.

Here, Liam Coen dials up a Sean McVay favorite, ‘‘zone windback.” The idea here I think in YY is to pin the end inside, have the second tight end cut off any potential scrape exchange from the strong linebacker, and have the motioning receiver clean up any remaining safety or corner that enters the fit. Because the YY set has them out-gapped to the outside, they just have no way of forcing this back into the rest of the defense, all 84 has to do is get in Ricks’ way.

Here on this fly sweep, it’s easy to just leave the defensive end unblocked with Wandale Robinson’s speed. On the snap, Bugg Strong initially has to cheat down toward the formation because of the inside zone action from the line. This frees up the two tight ends in YY to arc to the second level and clean up the shadowing corner and down safety, good job by Ward getting off his block and saving a bigger play.

In the red zone, LSU tried to walk the coverage defenders responsible for the two tight ends to account for those extra gaps so it became three on two in those gaps for LSU. Coen’s solution? Zone read double arc. Just read the DE and now it’s 2-on-2 with a couple good blocking tight ends on a coverage linebacker and a small DB who predictably get blown to space. Easy money for Will Levis here.

It wasn’t just YY sets that killed LSU defensively, Kentucky was able to run for miles on their outside zone. Because of LSU’s 4-2-5 structure, you really need the interior defensive linemen to win their rep convincingly and not get reached on outside zone because there won’t be a second level defender in the cutback lane. You have the backside end unblocked, the backside tackle and guard reaching and pinning the 1 and 3-techs behind the play, and the guards climb to the second level to account for the two second level defenders. There’s also a stick concept to the backside that holds the down safety out of the fit and pulls Clark away as well, which means one of the climbing guards literally just has nobody to block. Just a surplus here for Kentucky.

LSU also had their structure attacked by perimeter play action for a couple big plays. Here it’s just a power read toss action pop pass to the Y. LSU executes a solid scrape exchange to take away the power read, but Jay Ward also jumps up in run support and nobody takes the tight end. Because LSU’s in single high, there is nobody there to cap the route and defend it, only a single safety far away in the middle of the field. It’s hard to tell if Baskerville or Ward is at fault here depending on if there is a combo in their assignment that switches responsibilities if the running back heads out, conceptually similar to a “Connie” call in Saban vernacular.

(The Athletic)

I have no idea if they have a combination there, so I can’t tell you whose fault it is, but their assignments were tested and they failed it.

Power read play action again. This time out of split backs, both Baskerville and Ward fit the outside hard, wheel behind them, single high so there’s no safety to cap it. Easy money. LSU should have seen this stuff on Kentucky’s tape and worked in a gameplan specific assignment for one of Baskerville or Ward to carry anything downfield by the tight end or running back in the otherwise vacated window.

As for the LSU offense, Max Johnson was sketchy again. This is a fantastic call by Jake Peetz. This is what I’d wanted the offense to sorta look like. Spear concept, 7-man protection, play action. The boundary safety caps the first post and the field corner/field safety bracket the second. This means that Boutte’s over route is WIDE open. Johnson just doesn’t make the read.

Two plays later, Johnson has an opportunity to make a hard but makeable throw up the seam and he misses it. In this offense, you need to be making these throws, if you’re going to call 4 verts as much as LSU does (way too much given their QB), you have to be able to layer throws into the seam.

As for the run game, fucking FINALLY. Kentucky played a lot of tite front and LSU did a good job using GT (guard tackle) and GY (guard TE [y]) counter to attack it. I wrote about how that all works here.

They had shown some attempts to remediate the issue with more gap schemes earlier in the year, but they simply failed to hold blocks. That changed Saturday, they did a great job calling and executing the run game. Finally, way too little, way too late.