LSU Football 3 Keys: Texas A&M

LSU football Three keys

The LSU Tigers have arrived at the final game of Ed Orgeron’s tenure in Baton Rouge.

By Matt Zemek

It’s a strange journey, but one which was not without precedent in the SEC this century. Orgeron’s rise to the top, followed by a relatively quick fall from grace two seasons later, mirrors what happened at Auburn under Gene Chizik. Much as Chizik won the national championship in 2010 and was gone by the end of the 2012 season, Orgeron won a national title in 2019 and will be gone after Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.

Gene Chizik had Cam Newton to do everything on the field for Auburn’s offense, winning the Heisman Trophy in a runaway vote and producing one of the best single seasons for any college football player in history.

Orgeron had Joe Burrow, who was able to do the very same thing for 2019 LSU that Cam Newton did for 2010 Auburn.

Two coaches were lifted to the top by remarkably great college quarterbacks. Two years later, they were out of ideas and unable to adjust. They cratered, and they were gone in a heartbeat.

LSU will try to win the last game of Coach O’s Tiger career. It comes against former Nick Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher, who helped LSU win it all in 2003. Fisher will very likely stay at A&M, but there have been plenty of whispers over the past few weeks that LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward – who hired Fisher to A&M when he was athletic director in College Station – will continue to court his friend in the coaching search. It creates a fascinating backdrop for a spicy new-age SEC rivalry since the Aggies came to the conference from the Big 12.

Here’s what LSU needs to do:

1 – More dominance from Daronte

The transformation of LSU’s defense the past few weeks under coordinator Daronte Jones has been stunning. Allowing only six rushing yards to Alabama is a staggeringly great performance regardless of circumstances, but the ability to do that after LSU had been completely shredded by various offenses is what makes it an absolutely astounding display. LSU then followed that great showing by holding Arkansas to 13 points in regulation. This resurgence seems real and not temporary. The Tigers need to carry through this level of form by shutting down A&M. If LSU does dominate on defense one more time, Daronte Jones will make a case for being the defensive coordinator under the new coaching staff.

2 – Force A&M to be patient

The Aggie offense under Zach Calzada – which had been so good in October – has come back down to earth, in part because Calzada got hurt against Auburn a few weeks ago. A&M struggled against Auburn, struggled against Ole Miss, and has lost the winning edge it showed in October, when Jimbo Fisher’s offense came alive. A&M desperately needs big plays to reduce the amount of strain on the offense. LSU has to make sure to shut off the big play and make this night as painful for Calzada as possible.

3 – Creative run game

LSU needs to find a way to run the ball, so that quarterback Max Johnson is not put in predictable passing situations. Running the ball is a simplistic plan, however; running plays can be from wide receivers, not just running backs. They can be outside the tackles, not just between the tackles. Running the ball in various ways from different angles can get A&M’s defense off balance without putting too much of a burden on Max Johnson. LSU needs to find a solution on offense. This is the most likely way to do it.

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