Sun-Tzu was a brilliant strategist who famously said to “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Oregon is now just days away from a monumental tilt against LSU. The #4 ranked SEC powerhouse Tigers certainly don’t think they’re going down on Saturday. Lets take a look at some comments from LSU fans to see why they think they’ll be able to keep the high-flying Ducks offense grounded come September 3rd.
1. “Nick Fairley aside, Auburn had one of the worst defenses in the SEC last year and they looked like the 03 LSU defense against them…it was very noticeable how much bigger and faster Auburn’s defense was against Oregon’s offense…. I wouldn’t be shocked if we curb stomped this team.”
Last year Nick Fairley was easily the most dominant D-line force in college football. He led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss. He was a first team All-American. He won the Lombardi award and the national title game MVP. Combine the production from LSU’s top two D-linemen last year (Drake Nevis and Lazarius Levingston) and they still had less sacks and tfl than Fairley. Auburn gave up just 109 ypg on the ground last year to LSU’s 137. LSU will bring a very talented front four to Cowboy Stadium Saturday night, but the Ducks won’t have to deal with anything like Nick Fairley.
2.” UO’s offense was shut down by cal…..take that in for a second….its all hype. If you penetrate you shut them down. They will start going back into the huddle midway through the second or third series. We will run the ball and pound away at their front 7 like AU. Its not going to be tough Im sorry. They are slightly above a WAC Hawaii type team. GIMMICK!”
This a highly uneducated comment that needs to be broken down. While it shouldn’t be completely ignored, performances against one other opponent can’t stand as the basis for an argument when judging a team. An Oregon fan could simply retort that LSU’s vaunted defense surrendered 24 points to a middle of the road ACC offense in North Carolina. Or that LSU needed a blown call against Tennessee last year to eek out a 16-14 victory. The very same SEC defense that Oregon hung 48 points on. I won’t even address the claim that Oregon is slightly better than a Tulsa or Hawaii type team. I will take offense to Oregon being called a “gimmick” offense because its just blatantly untrue. Just because Oregon doesn’t run a vanilla pro-style offense doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is trickery and witchcraft. They run a spread-option offense that requires quick decision making and precise actions by all players on offense. An option read isn’t a gimmick. Neither is a bubble screen.
3. “Anyone else not sweating the Oregon game? The way I see it, JL is at worst on par with JJ.”
Only a very confident fan can lose their starting QB a week before a game against a top 3 opponent and not sweat it. By saying Jarrett Lee is at worst on par with Jefferson, you’re suggesting he’s a better option and you’re happy that Jefferson’s been suspended. Lets see what each brings to the table.
Jefferson ’10: 56% completions, 1411 yards, 7 TDs, and 10 INTs
Jefferson ’09: 62% completions, 2166 yards, 17 TDs, and 7 INTs.
Lee ’10: 60.7% completions, 573 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT.
Lee ’08: 53% completions, 1873 yards, 13 TDs, and 16 INTs.
Lee didn’t have any significant action in 2009 so I used his 2008 numbers for a larger sample size. If you consider that Jefferson was the team’s second leading rusher and added 7 TD’s on the ground, you’d have to rephrase the statement to something like “Jarrett Lee at his best isn’t a whole lot worse than Jefferson.” Jarrett Lee hasn’t done anything to suggest he can be a difference maker in a big game while Jefferson has. LSU fans are trying to fashion Lee as a game manager for a smash-mouth offense, but his career stats suggest he’s anything but a reliable caretaker of the football.
4. “I think our D has the talent to keep us in any game this year and even without Jefferson we should be fine against the Ducks. Oregon lost a lot of their front 7 from last year so I think we dominate the LOS and pound the ball all night long.”
Oregon lost a lot from their D last year and LSU expects to take advantage of that by running the ball down an inexperienced defense’s throat. Isn’t it the same situation for the Tigers? LSU lost two starting D-lineman, their #1 tackler in Kelvin Sheppard, and all-world talent DB Patrick Peterson. Like the Ducks, LSU boasts impressive and experienced depth that should fill in nicely, but it’s still a lot of talent and leadership to replace.
5. “I feel like we will hold them under 20 points and if we can run the ball effectively we’ll smoke this team. Tigers 31-13.”
From what I can gather from LSU fans it seems that the Tigers plan is to keep Oregon’s offense on the sidelines by sustaining long time consuming drives; pounding it between the tackles. If Oregon’s offense ever does see the field, their inexperienced O-line will be no match for a fierce SEC defense and their “gimmick” offense will grind to a screeching halt. There are a couple things for LSU fans to consider. Is Jarrett Lee going to be able to sustain long drives? LSU didn’t fare well last year in regards to time of possession. Are they going to run the ball 60 times? LSU’s run D has been trending in the wrong direction, giving up more yards on the ground in each of the last four seasons.