LSU Football: Blueprint to Stopping Alabama's Duo of Amari Cooper and TJ Yeldon

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Running back T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball upfield during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Is there a better freshman duo in the country than the Alabama Crimson Tide's wide receiver-running back combo of Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon?

The answer is simple—no there isn't, and if the LSU Tigers can't find a way to stop this duo in Saturday's SEC showdown, this could be a long game for Les Miles' team.

Yeldon is a slippery back who is big in height but not necessarily an overpowering back. He stands at 6'2", but Yeldon isn't a guy who is going to run over you, but instead run by you. He has elite speed, and if he can get to the outside, kiss this guy goodbye with his breakaway speed.

When Yeldon is asked to run vertical, he uses a variety of moves to slip past defenders. His initial burst is arguably the best in college football as he hits the hole with lightning quickness once he touches the football.

Alabama is known for its great running backs: Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and now TJ Yeldon. In order to stop Yeldon, LSU is going to have to stack the box on running downs and make sure to get pressure from their defensive tackles to clog the middle and make sure Yeldon doesn't slip through any of those holes.

The linebackers are also key to LSU, because if Yeldon does get to that second level, it will be up to these linebackers to stop him from getting big yardage. Don't be surprised if LSU rotates their linebackers to get fresh bodies in there in order to handle this freshman's elite track speed.

If Yeldon isn't enough, then there is freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The 6'1", 200-pound freshman just does a bit of everything right. He has good speed, runs good routes and has an exceptional pair of hands.

Cooper is a big-play threat as he has only one game this season where he hasn't caught a pass of 15 or more yards. He racked up seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns earlier this month against a solid Tennessee football team.

In reality, Yeldon is probably the guy that LSU has to focus on more with this Alabama offense. But Cooper is a dangerous threat as well, and Tharold Simon, Jalen Mills and Co. have to make sure to lock this guy up on defense if LSU is going to win this game.

Look for Eric Reid to play a spy role in passing downs and make sure he always has an eye on Cooper on passing downs. Simon is good enough to stick with him, but with Reid providing help, LSU should be able to keep this talented freshman in check for the most part.

If LSU can contain these two freshman stars, you have to like the Tigers' chances in this game.