Secondary Adjustments Need To Be Made
By John Ventola
For the second straight week, LSU and the New Orleans Saints both won their games despite sloppy secondary performances. Whereas Tiger defensive backs were exploited this week because of coverage confusion and “let downs”, New Orleans gave up two touchdowns by way of “fall downs”, and one by letting a receiver loose for an uncovered stroll into the end zone.
LSU remains unbeaten heading into a bye week before facing Alabama in Tuscaloosa
on November 7th. The win moved the Tigers up to the fourth spot in both the AP and Coaches Polls this week. They should at least hold that position in the first College Football Playoff polls to be announced on November 3rd. Alabama is ranked No. 7 in both polls.
The Tigers’ 48-20 victory over pass happy Western Kentucky showed that its secondary is ripe for easy touchdown pickings, particularly on wheel routes out of an opponent’s backfield. Against Florida the week before, receivers snuck out of the backfield on the offensive left side, and after easy catches raced into the end zone untouched for touchdowns. This past weekend the Hilltoppers switched sides of the field to garner two easy scores in the same manner.
All four scores could have been pulled off by mediocre high school quarterbacks and receivers. Each play was wide open, with defenders rushing to try to get into position after the receivers were almost in the end zone.
While it will be necessary to keep up its offensive consistency against Bama, correction of secondary coverage confusion will have to be a priority before LSU faces capable
quarterback Jake Coker. Alabama was able to survive an upset bid by Tennessee (19-14) in Tuscaloosa when the Vols’ place kicker missed three long, but makeable, field goals.
Leonard Fournette ran for 150 hard-earned yards on a field left soaked by torrential rains before, and during the game. The slow track contributed to Fournette not breaking any long runs, but the powerful back ran for over 10 yards on seven different carries.
Backup running back Derrius Guice ‘s 47-yard jaunt with just under two minutes remaining to put the finishing touch on a 211 yard team rushing effort. Quarterback Brandon Harris threw three touchdown passes, a 55-yarder to Malachi Dupre in the first three minutes; a 61-yard “out jump’em” completion to Tyron Johnson in the third quarter; and a 17-yard toss to Travin Dural halfway through the fourth quarter. The sophomore continued his improvement by passing for 286 yards on 11 for 20 throwing.
Johnson’s jumping catch and touchdown run was reminiscent of Dural’s touchdown
against Florida, both catches coming with defenders standing right next to them. Alabama will not be that easy to outmaneuver.
Both LSU and Alabama will use a two-week period to prepare for the game that will likely decide the Southeastern Conference’s representative in the four-team CFP format at the end of the season. Coach Nick Saban’s Alabama team appeared to be looking ahead to the Tigers as it was forced to rally behind the running of Derrick Henry and Coker’s steady passing. Bama is now 7-1 on the season (defeated for second straight year by Ole Miss), and 4-1 in the SEC.
Les Miles usually has his team ready to face the Crimson Tide—of course, not counting the January, 2012 BCS national championship game when he and the entire squad woke up from a 22-0 sleep-walk. His team’s effort to best Bama 9-6 two months before the BCS debacle was solid. The last three regular season matchups have all gone Alabama’s way, but the Tigers were in the lead until the final moments of two of them, losing in overtime last year in Tiger Stadium.
Knowing how close the last four regular season games between the two schools have been played, Miles will have to correct special team and secondary lapses that have
plagued this year’s team. No matter how solid your rushing and passing games are, how much you stress ball security and avoid interceptions, it would be critical if coverage confusion caused the team to give up one or two cheap Bama scores.
This year’s Alabama squad gives every indication that it is not as strong as recent Saban teams. If Henry can be kept under wraps, and LSU line play on both sides of the ball keeps up its performance level, the Tigers should be ready to host two of their final SEC games (Arkansas and Texas A & M) and go to Oxford to finish off Ole Miss.
A rematch victory over Florida in the SEC championship game in Atlanta, and a Heisman Trophy presentation to Fournette in New York, could set the scene for CFP inclusion of the Tigers.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda! That is why they play the games! And why Miles and Saban are currently preparing for every possibility.Thanks For Visiting JV Sport Shots .Com’s Website And Viewing Our Latest Blog(s) / Page(s). We Would Really Appreciate It If You Would Leave Us A Comment Or Remark Below. This Helps Us Provide Great Sports Content; You Would Like To See In Future Posts.
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