The LSU Tigers limp into the Alabama game knowing that their current head coach won’t coach the team much longer.
By Matt Zemek
Ed Orgeron is a lame-duck coach who, at the present moment, is expected to step down at the end of the regular season. We use the phrase “at the present moment” because a blowout loss to Alabama might make LSU administrators reconsider and attempt to terminate his employment immediately. LSU has lost some recruits in recent weeks. Quarterback Myles Brennan (injured this year) has entered the transfer portal. Some aspects of the LSU program are being weakened while the school searches for a new head coach. In the middle of this, Orgeron is not inspiring confidence, for reasons we will soon get into. It is not the time to play Alabama, that’s for sure.
1 – Follow the coach’s advice
Orgeron was part of an extraordinary press conference earlier in the week in which he admitted how horribly he and his coaching staff were performing. Orgeron bluntly and directly said that LSU’s pre-snap formations and alignments were very predictable and easy for opposing teams to read, especially on first downs. LSU’s self-scouting revealed just how much the Tigers telegraphed to opponents what they were likely to do. Orgeron obviously needs to mix things up and make his team much more of a mystery – not just to Alabama, but to all of the Tigers’ remaining opponents. We will see how much Coach O was able to follow his own advice and change the way opposing coaches attack the Tigers.
2 – Run to win
The Tigers rushed for over 300 yards in the upset win over Florida. Given that Florida very nearly upset Alabama earlier this year, that’s a fact worth noting. LSU has to find a way to continuously run the ball against Alabama, keeping the ball away from the Crimson Tide’s offense. It is highly doubtful that LSU can win, or merely keep this game close, if it doesn’t win time of possession by at least 10 minutes. Not reaching 35 minutes of possession would put LSU at a significant disadvantage in this game. Reaching the 35-minute target would hardly guarantee a win – LSU would need to score touchdowns in the time it has the ball – but more time of possession at least gives the Tigers a greater chance of pulling an upset.
3 – Red-zone defense
This is how Texas A&M beat Alabama. It’s how LSU has to beat the Tide as well. Alabama will move the ball and collect a lot of yards. LSU just has to stand tall inside its own 20 and make the Tide kick a bunch of field goals. If the LSU offense does its part, this game could be closer than the experts think.