Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alabama/LSU: Running for Success

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 16: Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers watches his team warm up before playing the McNeese State Cowboys at Tiger Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Everyone knows how important it will be for the LSU defense to contain the Alabama ground game, however, the most critical factor in my opinion will be the LSU running attack.

If the Tigers can establish the run against the Alabama defense, the entire complexion of the LSU offense (and the game) could change.

Many teams will tell you, when you become one-dimensional against the Alabama
defense…your goose will be cooked.

The LSU Tigers have been horrid on offense and the two quarterback system of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee can be described as “satisfactory” at best.

Lee is more of a classic quarterback in respect to his passing ability and Jefferson is more of a runner/thrower and has the ability to be productive when the pocket collapses.

However, even with multiple quarterbacks, the inability of the LSU offense to sustain drives and have offensive balance has been the weakness of the Tigers all season.

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 16: Jarrett Lee  waits for the ball to be snapped by P.J. Lonergan  of the Louisiana State University Tigers during the game against the McNeese State Cowboys at Tiger Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers defeated the Cowboys 32-10. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The lack of production from the LSU offense is similar to the Auburn Tigers and their lack of defensive production.

Both programs are good in respect to overall record, yet both teams have glaring flaws on one side of the ball.

How can LSU eliminate major offensive flaws against the Crimson Tide? Establish the run! LSU will need running back Steven Ridley to be efficient and provide offensive balance.

You don’t need “Joe Montana” at the quarterback position to be successful if you have a solid ground game to keep the defense honest.

Another important player for LSU is Patrick Peterson. Not only is Peterson a great defensive back but he also provides LSU an advantage in the special teams department in respect to kickoff and punt returns.

The combination of Peterson on special teams and Ridley on the ground will be critical to the success of the LSU Tigers.

If LSU can be balanced on the offensive side of the ball and be productive on defense, the contest in Baton Rouge could be a replay of 2008 which saw Alabama win in overtime.

However, if LSU remains dire on offense and the defense is on the field longer than the center logo, Alabama will simply pound the Tigers until nothing is left but a pile of tired bodies and the echoes of “Rammer Jammer” in Tiger Stadium.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11: Trent Richardson  of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes against Drew Astorino  and Stephon Morris  of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I’m a firm believer that you can’t teach an absent-minded coach new tricks and I also believe that sentence structure is still very paramount in our society.

"I think the pieces that we have done here really that have benefited us is we have looked at those things that we have been successful and we are going to work to maximize those yet again." ~Les Miles

The key to the LSU "offensive closet" is in the first dresser drawer...but the Tigers will never find it against Alabama.

LSU 13

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