The LSU Tigers brought in a different looking offense into a Week 1 showdown against the Georgia Southern Eagles. The hire of former New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady to the LSU coaching staff proved to pay dividends right away in the 55-3 win over Georgia Southern. Brady also landed in a good situation under head coach Ed Orgeron with an LSU offense that was returning senior quarterback Joe Burrow.
It’s easy to get carried away with the production the LSU offense posted in Week 1, and how dominant the defense appeared. But a full offseason of preparation for the triple-option attack of Georgia Southern and the dissection a middle of the road Sun Belt defense shouldn’t be overemphasized.
There’s a long list of entanglements in terms of the storylines for this Texas-LSU showdown this week. Between the coaching staffs and players for each team, there are a lot of commonalities between these two blue bloods from bordering states.
An interesting part about the matchup between the Texas and LSU this week is the fact that head coach Tom Herman recruited Burrow when he was the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. So, Herman and Burrow should be fairly familiar with each other.
Here’s a look at a few nuggets to watch from the recent film on the LSU Tigers:
1. Joe Burrow has to get the ball out fast
The reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week is coming in hot to face an inexperienced Longhorns secondary. But that won’t be a relevant factor if his offensive line won’t hold up. Rarely did Burrow get a lot of pressure in his face in Week 1, but that is because this new Joe Brady offensive scheme focused on getting the ball out faster.
Burrow doesn’t have the most overwhelming amount of arm strength, so he really has to go through his reads fast and hit short routes in the blink of an eye so that pressure doesn’t get to him. An offensive line that is prone to collapsing the pocket could be an advantage for Texas if defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is able to mix up the blitz packages (something he’s normally good at).
The young Texas secondary might not get as much of a test on deep routes with this newfound emphasis on getting the ball out fast for Burrow. Dating back to the LSU spring game, we can see how Burrow would be prone to a strong pass rush and a secondary capable of holding up on short routes.
2. Be prepared for different looks on the ground
An advantage that Brady and Orgeron have coming into this Texas-LSU matchup is depth at running back. That’s a luxury that Herman and the Longhorns aren’t afforded this week. A dynamic ground game with a number of options at running back could be a difference-maker for the Tigers.
The highlighting forces for LSU coming out of the backfield include junior Clyde Edwards-Helaire and sensational freshman John Emery Jr. But Georgia Southern was able to shut down Emery Jr. in Week 1 to the tune of just 20 rushing yards on six carries. The powerful running style of Edwards-Helaire worked out better against the Eagles.
However, Emery Jr. is the speedier back that is more of a home-run threat. Edwards-Helaire had multiple instances last season of getting chased down on long runs that should’ve been touchdowns. This could be a breakout week for Emery Jr. given how his speed matches up with Texas. Redshirt freshman Chris Curry also provides LSU with an excellent change of pace.
3. Don’t take the LSU pass rush and run defense lightly
Most of the focus for the LSU defense is going to fall on the AP Preseason All-American defensive back duo of Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit. But it’s not just the LSU secondary that is going to be scary this fall. The pass rush and front seven in general plays nicely off the pressure that the secondary places on opposing passing games.
There wasn’t a good look at the LSU pass rush in Week 1 since Georgia Southern is an option offense. But the range of the LSU defensive ends and linebacker was certainly put to the test. LSU filled the gaps nicely last week and allowed just 1.9 yards per carry. LSU even racked up two sacks against a run-heavy Georgia Southern offense.
Georgia Southern brought in Oklahoma State transfer running back to Baton Rouge last week, too. JD King was limited to just 23 rushing yards on 11 carries. Junior defensive end Neil Farrell Jr. and junior linebacker Jacob Phillips were all over the place and making plays against a Georgia Southern ground game that was electric in the Sun Belt last season.
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