LSU faces Northwestern St on Saturday in Baton Rouge. Here are your three keys to an LSU win over Northwestern State.
By Matt Zemek
The LSU Tigers don’t have to worry about Northwestern State this weekend. They have to worry about themselves. What do they need to focus on? In many ways, they need to look at the long view of this season and making sure that they retain a sense of perspective on what they need to achieve to compete for the College Football Playoff.
Key 1 – Rest the Starters
Joe Burrow should play no more than one half. This is a great time to play backups of various kinds, including and especially the players who are entitled to four game appearances under the redshirt rule. The Texas game was played in very hot weather. There is no need to overextend the starters and the other players at the top of the depth chart. This needs to be a reduced week of work. Burrow probably won’t be hit very often in this game against an FCS opponent, but he still doesn’t need to be subjected to any more snaps than absolutely necessary. Players who are regular backups (not the players subjected to the four-game redshirt rule) and received a modest amount of work against Texas should be able to get a lot of snaps in this game. The fact that they received some work against Texas means that they need to be kept mentally fresh. Giving them at least as much work as last week, if not a little more, is a good way of instilling habits and making sure that they will be ready in backup roles or in specific packages for the big SEC games to come. This is very much a player development game. For a program which is proving how good it is under Ed Orgeron at developing players, that shouldn’t be too hard a task.
Key 2 – Run the Ball
LSU showed the nation it can throw the ball all around the yard with great success and consistency. This is a game in which to give those receivers a rest after all the work they did against Texas, and to allow the offensive line to not have to backpedal in pass protection all the time. The game plan against Texas was great, and the players executed it perfectly. Now, though, LSU needs to allow its offensive linemen to charge ahead in run blocking… which will also have the effect of shortening this game, which is entirely in LSU’s best interests.
Key 3 – Assignment Football In The Back Seven
Texas severely tested the LSU back seven. Using this game to get back to basics in the back seven might seem insignificant, given that Northwestern State won’t offer nearly the same challenge, but coaches can reorient players on basic principles of coverage and responsibility. LSU defensive backs often were in the right spot against Texas, but a few fourth-down situations involved Texas receivers getting wide open. Finding ways to improve is what games like this are supposed to involve.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 6:30 PM CT (7:30 PM ET). Watch on the SEC Network.
This Week’s SEC Football News and Analysis
|Game||First Looks||3 Keys|
|Kansas State vs. Mississippi State||KSU||MSU||Preview||KSU 31, MSU 24||Stats|
|Colorado State vs. Arkansas||CSU||Arky||Preview||Arkansas 55, CSU 34||Stats|
|Northwestern St vs. LSU||NWSU||LSU||Preview||LSU 65, NWSU 14||Stats|
|Florida vs. Kentucky||FLA / UK||UK / FLA||Preview||Florida 29, UK 21||Stats|
|Kent State vs. Auburn||Kent St.||Auburn||Preview||Auburn 55, Kent St. 16||Stats|
|Alabama vs. South Carolina||USC / Bama||Bama / USC||Preview||Bama 47, USC 23||Stats|
|SE Missouri St vs. Missouri||SEMO||Mizzou||Preview||Mizzou 50, SEMO 0||Stats|
|Lamar vs. Texas A&M||Lamar||Texas A&M||Preview||TAMU 62, Lamar 3||Stats|
|Arkansas St. vs. Georgia||Ark. State||UGA||Preview||UGA 55, ASU 0||Stats|
|Chattanooga vs. Tennessee||UTC||Tennessee||Preview||Tennessee 45, UTC 0||Stats|
|SE Louisiana vs. Ole Miss||SE Louisiana||Ole Miss||Preview||Ole Miss 40, SELA 29||Stats|