This isn’t going to be long, because it’s basically the same as the Ole Miss piece, but this is not a unit that knows how to play defense. The more I watch them, the clearer it becomes that the installation and teaching of their defense have been ad-hoc and incomplete. Similar to what I wrote in 2020 about that unit (before I really knew anything about football), they don’t have the basics down. You build around and make adjustments on your base stuff, but you have to have it down to a reflex. They never got there, it’s a team with a loose grasp of technique and assignments that, despite their call sheet being ripped down to the foundation, still can’t get these things down. When you don’t have your foundation set, you can’t, say, get to a game like this and decide “we’re gonna add X and Y elements to our gameplan” or “we’re gonna disguise and break X and Y tendencies.” This makes it impossible to stop good offenses, but their inability to be cohesive in their most basic assignments makes it impossible to stop anybody with a pulse.
This is kind of a good example LSU is rushing 5 and keeping the J (2) back as spy, but Penn and Smith crash into the same gap, gumming up the pressure and allowing the QB to extend the play. Because the Jack is tracing the QB there are only 5 in coverage with nobody accounting for the back. Normally that’d be fine, he stayed in the protection so it’s fine if somebody otherwise responsible for him rushes, but you have to get home and you can’t have two people in gaps. Guys have to understand their assignments so that you can rep the details and spacing of these things so that people are in the right places. The assignments are very simple, but a good pressure requires a lot of detail in the paths guys take.
The lack of a spy on 4 was much discussed and obviously was an issue, it probably cost LSU the game. Milroe’s not an advanced passer, if things aren’t there early, he’ll take off and try to create. It’s pretty strange considering how much and how effectively they leaned on Perkins to spy the QB. An aside, 30’s not supposed to do this here, he has help over the top, this is a technique you use when the box is loaded and nobody is there to match number 3 vertically. Again, it’s not cohesive
With these sifts from the TEs, the LBs are supposed to bump over with the sift because their gaps move, I don’t know their exact rules but they aren’t on the same page for their adjustment and nobody ends up in the backside A gap. My guess is that 35 is supposed to be outside here to take the outside of the sift, but they LBs clearly aren’t sure.
I think this is what it’s supposed look like, with the Mike bumping out and the DE taking the outside of the sift, with the WILL adjusting into the A gap, but Smith gets moved out of the B gap because of his terrible pad level, allowing the RB a lane.