The Texas A&M football team will face the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on November 23. If the Aggies want to win the game, they will need to find a way to contain LSU's explosive offense.
In 2013 they have faltered a little on defense, but have one of the best offenses in the country. The Tigers will likely end the season with two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher.
LSU is averaging 460.4 total yards and 37.9 points per game. Tigers' sophomore running back Jeremy Hills has rushed for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. lead the Tigers with 972 yards and 1,051 yards receiving respectively. Few teams in the country can boast a trio of playmakers at the skill positions like the Tigers can in Hill, Landry and Beckham.
This is a look at what the Aggies must do in order to contain the LSU offense.
The LSU Tigers have three losses on the season. All three of the teams who beat LSU were able to consistently get pressure on senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
The Aggies have only registered 17 sacks on the season and have struggled to get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. The have had some recent success by moving defensive end Gavin Stansbury up and down the line.
Stansbury has registered three sacks in the last four games, while rotating between strong-side defensive end and weak-side defensive end. Aggie defensive coordinator Mark Snyder will need to vary his blitzes in order to confuse Mettenberger and keep the Tigers off balance.
If the Aggies are going to have any hope at all against the Bayou Bengals, then they will need to keep LSU's junior running back Jeremy Hill in check. That is easier said than done.
Hill has rushed for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 6.8 yards per carry. At 6'2" and 235 pounds, Hill is bigger than any of the Aggie linebackers who will be trying to tackle him.
The Aggies have struggled against bigger running backs this season. Hill is the biggest and fastest one that they will face.
The bright side for Aggie fans is that the defense has a bye week to prepare for Hill. Do not be surprised to see defensive coordinator Mark Snyder tweak the starting lineup at linebacker to get more size on the field.
Snyder may choose to slide Darian Claiborne over from the middle linebacker spot over to the weak side, and start Jordan Mastrogiovanni in the middle in order to get more size inside. Senior weak-side linebacker Steven Jenkins is one of Aggies' biggest playmakers, but he struggled to make tackles against Mississippi State's quarterback Dak Prescott.
The lack of size at linebacker has been a detriment to the Aggies all season and will continue to be against Hill and the LSU offense.
The LSU offense presents a quandary to opposing defensive coordinators. Ideally, you would run a 4-2-5 scheme and double cover Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. With Jeremy Hill in the backfield, you cannot only leave six in the box against the running game.
At times you may see Aggie defensive coordinator Mark Snyder go to the 33-stack scheme to change things up, but for the most part the Aggies will have to go with man coverage on Beckham.
Their best chance for success is to put Deshazor Everett on Beckham and hope he can hold up. You can roll a safety over to help De'Vante Harris with the bigger, stronger Jarvis Landry.
Beckham is an explosive athlete who has 2,090 all-purpose yards in 10 games. He only needs 307 more yards to break Randall Cobb's SEC season record of 2,396 all-purpose yards.
Alabama was able to hold Beckham to 42 yards on three receptions by getting pressure on Zach Mettenberger. No one is ever going to confuse the Aggie defense for the Alabama defense. However, if the Aggie front seven can supply some pressure, Everett should be able to hold him in check.
It is a gamble that the Aggie defensive coaches are going to have to take if they want to win this game.
True freshman outslide linebacker Shaan Washington has been one of the Aggies' most effective defenders off the bench. He has registered 24 tackles with four tackles for loss.
Washington's three sacks tie for the team lead with Gavin Stansbury. Starting Washington at strong-side linebacker would help the Aggies in two areas.
He would help the Aggies get more pressure on Mettenberger, and his size would help against Jeremy Hill. The Aggies need more size on defense, and consistent pressure on Mettenberger if they want to stay in the game against the Tigers.
Increased playing time for Washington would mean the Aggies have a better chance at getting out of Baton Rouge with a win.