Purple & Gold
Can you think of a more entertaining series in college football than the annual tilt between the two Tigers of the SEC West?
Auburn and LSU have been show-stoppers nearly every year, providing some of the closest, wildest and occasionally strangest games of the season.
The "Earthquake" game in Tiger Stadium, The literal "Barn Burner" game with flames arising just outside of Jordan Hare Stadium, Byrd's "One Second Left" TD grab in '07 and the "Erased Pass Interference Call" in '06.
This just scratches the surface of all of the stories that have come out of this series over the years. This game on Saturday has all of the makings of another one of those battles that will be decided on a quirk play or a missed call or something that will fuel the lore and be added to the list of what makes this game special.
Tigers vs. Tigers. Let the game begin!!!
It goes without saying that the first and foremost challenge in trying to beat the Auburn Tigers will be in containing quarterback Cam Newton (or at least in trying).
This has proven to be the proverbial “much easier said than done” task for a number of defenses that have already faced him.
LSU is looking at all sorts of defensive approaches from designating a “spy” assigned to follow him to reducing the number of blitzes against him, when he seems to be the most dangerous.
DC John Chavis, I am sure, will devise a solid plan to give the Bayou Bengal stoppers their best chance at success.
Defenses that are very quick and athletic often find themselves out of position as they get caught up in pursuit.
Offensive coordinators know this and like to mix in deception plays and reverses to take advantage of this. Chavis and his defensive QB on the field, middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, must repeatedly remind the remainder of the defenders to stay at home, make sure they are focused on their responsibilities and play fast, hard and smart.
This is the only way to maximize their talent and to minimize the trouble of which that talent can create.
One of the best defenses against a highly explosive offense, which loves to be on the field generating a rhythm, is to keep them off the field by running a time consuming offense of your own.
The absolute best way to bring this about is through an effective and bruising running game that keeps the chains moving. There is nothing more frustrating to a hot quarterback than to be sitting on the sideline, cooling off, as you watch the other team methodically march down the field.
Although LSU may find the going tough initially, they must not abandon the run and keep plugging away at it as they move into the 4th quarter.
Hopefully the score at that point will allow this to happen.
It doesn’t take a football guru to understand that the reintroduction of Jarrett Lee into the LSU offense has provided somewhat of a spark and has given the offense a look of multi-dimensionality once again.
Not only is it important to mix up the run with an effective passing game, but using Lee, along with the mobile Jordan Jefferson, will give Auburn defenders one more thing to have to be ready for.
In potentially tight games like these, every little advantage can help. Throwing a duel QB attack at Auburn, I believe, helps LSU more than it may hurt them.
The absolute killer for many football teams, especially those who are playing some young and inexperienced players, is the fact that you can do yourself more damage than the other team does.
How many times have you seen one team outplay another only to lose because they played without discipline, making dumb mistakes and penalties which snuff out drives and take points off of the board.
LSU has no doubt been guilty of these offenses thus far this season. With all of the prior points made in this article regarding keys to a win over Auburn, perhaps the one that will make the greatest difference in the end is who made the most mistakes.
Seasoned veterans find that fine line between playing fast and hard and reeling it back just a nudge to ensure that they are playing smart. Lets hope LSU’s core players are beginning to find their own individual fine lines as they take on their biggest challenge to date this season.