LSU vs Vandy, Prediction Preview 2009
by: McD Rumors and Rants
The key for LSU against Vanderbilt is two-fold. First, they really need to shore up their back seven on defense and second, they need a much more efficient and mas fuerte performance from the offense. The expected well-lubricated crowd for the home-opener should help too. Night games in Baton Rouge are always a bit of a spectacle.
LSU’s defense looked shaky again when they beat Washington last week. Some of that is probably due to UW having a competent coach, but the questions about the Tigers’ ability at linebacker and in the secondary remain. Their speed is questionable at best, and it’s making every matchup against speedy teams that much scarier for the LSU faithful, and probably Les Miles too.
Well, maybe not this week since Vanderbilt is coming to town. The Commodores always play respectable defense, but their offense is routinely atrocious, even when Jay Cutler was there. They also like to run the ball before they pass, which plays right into LSU’s strength up front and, for a while at least, means the secondary won’t have to wonder how many times they’re going to get burned by no-name receivers. While I respect Bobby Johnson and Vandy, this squad doesn’t measure up against LSU, especially not on the road.
Against Washington, LSU sufferend from the kind of offensive schizophrenia that limited that unit last year as well. They couldn’t decide whether they want to spread it out and play fast with Jordan Jefferson, Keiland Williams and the receivers, or if they want to line it up with two tight ends and let Charles Scott batter away at defenses, filling the hole in the wall with their Cajun dead, so to speak.
The end result of this was nothing looked cohesive on that side of the ball, Washington dominated the time of possession (36:52 to 23:08), and Charles Scott and Keiland Williams had a combined 19 carries and no touchdowns. That is not the LSU way of doing things. They did have some big plays in the passing game, but Jefferson never looked particularly comfortable and was not very efficient. They are not a finesse team and shouldn’t try to be one. If anything, they can improve the passing game’s efficiency by running the ball more and making Jefferson even more of a running threat than the eight carries he had last week. As it was, you could tell what was coming based on the formation LSU was in. Shotgun with Williams next to Jefferson was probably some kind of pass. I-formation meant run with Scott. It’s not rocket science (or even high school biology with Les Miles) but that was way, way too predictable last Saturday.
Thus, this week, it’s imperative the Tigers remember who they are and run the freaking ball. Should they do that while managing to shore up the defense a little, they should cruise, albeit in a hard-fought, physical game. This is a 14.5-point spread, and though LSU was surprised a bit by Washington, Vanderbilt, a conference opponent, shouldn’t be one. Expect a cover, Tigers fans.
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