LSU Football: 5 Ways Les Miles Needs to Change to Beat Alabama in 2013
For anyone who watched Monday's BCS National Championship Game, it is clear that Alabama has cemented its spot as the cream of the crop in college football today.
And if you happen to think for one second that Alabama is going anywhere anytime soon, think again.
Nick Saban's team is expected to return a ton of talent in 2013 and will likely be the No.1-ranked team in the nation heading into next season.
So what does that mean for Les Miles and his LSU team?
The Tigers are going to have to figure out a way to stop this dominant force that is Alabama if they plan to make a run at a national title in 2013. If that is going to happen, it all starts with head coach Les Miles and some serious changes that he is going to have to make sooner than later.
With that said, let's go ahead and break down five ways Les Miles needs to change if LSU is going to beat Alabama next season.
More Aggressive in Recruiting
The 2013 recruiting cycle is quickly coming to a close, but there are still several elite prospects out there who remain uncommitted at this point.
A number of those top-notch prospects are considering LSU, as well as Alabama.
If Les Miles and the Tigers are going to beat Alabama in 2013 and in the future, it is vital that Miles and the LSU coaching staff lock up those elite prospects.
Robert Nkemdiche, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams are all elite-level defensive prospects, and all three have Alabama and LSU listed as potential destinations.
If Miles and the LSU staff can secure the commitment of those three stud prospects, then you have to like the Tigers' chances going forward.
Improve Clock Management
This has been an ongoing conversation among LSU fans over the past several years, but it really came to fruition just last week in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Leading by two points with just over two minutes remaining in the football game, Miles and the LSU coaching staff choose to pass the ball on three straight plays. All three passing attempts were incomplete and the offense only took 1:08 off the play clock, giving Clemson the ball back and allowing them to keep their timeouts.
In return, Clemson drove down the field and kicked the game-winning field goal to seal the victory.
That type of poor and unexplainable clock management will take you right out of a game against a team as poised and talented as Alabama.
If LSU is going to beat Alabama in 2013, that type of time management simply can't happen.
Play to Your Strengths
LSU's strengths always have been and likely will always be running the ball on offense and getting after the opposing quarterback on defense.
It has been that way ever since Les Miles took over the head coaching position in Baton Rouge, and it dosen't look like that is going to change anytime soon.
The bottom line here is that if LSU is going to beat Alabama in 2013, they are going to have to play to those strengths.
There is no need to get cute and see how many times Zach Mettenberger can air it out against Alabama because that isn't who LSU is.
LSU is a team that dominates in the trenches, and they are going to have to do that in this matchup here.
Get After the Quarterback
All signs point to A.J. McCarron being Alabama's quarterback again in 2013.
Now, make no mistake about it, McCarron is a very good college quarterback.
But his game is pretty simple. He is a pro-style quarterback who relies on great offensive line play, which allows him to sit in the pocket and make accurate throws to his receivers downfield.
He isn't much of a scrambler. He isn't going to make many throws downfield on the run. But when he gets time to throw, he is as good as it gets.
Therefore, LSU's defensive ends and outside backers need to get after McCarron and create as much pressure as possible on the guy.
Remember, the Tigers are going to have the challenge of replacing Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, their two talented defensive ends who bolted early for the NFL draft.
Whoever those new ends are, they need to make it their mission to get after A.J. McCarron when these two teams meet.
Better Offensive Game Plan
LSU has lost two straight to Alabama, including last year's national championship game.
In both games, LSU was simply out-coached on the offensive side of the football.
Going back to last year's national championship game, LSU's offense was shut out and flat-out embarrassed on college football's biggest stage.
The Tigers had no answer for Alabama's suffocating defense, and as good as that defense was, Miles failed to make the necessary adjustments to crack it in that game. It may be fair to say that LSU's offensive personnel was simply outmatched in that contest, but still, zero points in four quarters of football, come on...
This past year, LSU had the game won. But Miles' play-calling cost them again.
There was a fake field goal that was easily sniffed out. An onside kick that didn't work. And on top of that, going for it on fourth down in Alabama territory failed as well.
It's simple, really.
If LSU has any shot at beating this Alabama team in 2013, Les Miles and the LSU coaching staff are going to have to create a better offensive game plan.