LSU brought in Matt Canada to run his offense, but just three games into the season the plan was scrapped. But not for long.
After a two-and-half-game stretch of predictable and declining offensive totals, Canada’s offense, involving pre-snap motion, returned. It’s no coincidence that its return led to a three-game winning streak with a win at Florida, at home against Auburn and a beat down of Ole MIss.
The Tigers come to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night off their best offensive performance of the season over the Rebels. Led by the rushing attack, LSU put up nearly 600 yards of total offense (393 yards rushing, 200 yards passing).
Alabama defenders are thankful the bye week gave them a chance to get a head start in preparation.
“It is pretty challenging,” Minkah Fitzpatrick said. “They’re just trying to window dress everything, that’s what we call it. Just trying to get our eyes on the wrong things, make us not line up in the right spot so they can beat us around the edge or just cutting back or something like that. It is pretty hard to cover and to adjust to, but I think we do a really good job with the scout team and the coaches do a good job of preparing us.”
That’s a far cry from LSU offenses of the recent past when it was run-first approach with dominant running backs. The Tigers still have a dominant back in Derrius Guice, but now the Tigers have the added element of creating confusion by pre-snap shifting.
Alabama has experience defending those offenses.
“Not LSU, but we have faced teams that did that before,” Fitzpatrick said. “Like Arkansas did it a lot this year, too, but not as much as LSU does it. Once they line up in a final formation, they’re running the same offense they’ve always ran. It’s just more window dressing, like I said, just moving all over the place.”
UA coach Nick Saban said the extra preparation time during the bye week should help the team this week.
“What you really want for the players is to be able to prepare well so that when the game comes they’re really focused on what they need to do and not sort of all the shifts and motions and tackle over unbalance and rocket motion and all that sort of eye candy, I call it, for a defensive player makes a guy not focus on his real keys and play fast and remember that you’ve got to play block protection,” Saban said. “You’ve got to tackle, you’ve got to play the plays, you’ve got to read the keys and do your job. It is a little different, especially from anything that we’ve seen this year. But having a little extra time probably is a good thing when you play an offense like this because there are a lot of multiples in terms of formations and motions and how the defensive players need to understand and adjust.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.