Some quick parting thoughts on the big game tomorrow.
The Texas DL vs The LSU OL. LSU was up 42-3 at halftime against Georgia Southern, but the LSU OL didn’t impress me that much as run blockers. Bad pad levels, not very quick-footed and they’d rather screen and lean than drive block. That could change on the perimeter when they get back the athletic Saahdiq Charles at tackle (he’s 6-4, 295 and he’s an athlete), but that won’t fix an interior that averages about 330 pounds at G-C-G. I believe the Texas DL can handle them head to head in the running game. Pad level and disengaging blocks is key. LSU’s OL does anchor pretty well and should be able to stop interior penetration on passing plays, but maybe some of our stunts will get them to turn a shoulder and provide a highway to LSU QB Joe Burrow.
We Want To Be In Dime If We Can Get Away With It. If we can stop the run against their base offense running the Dirty Dime (3-2-6), it’ll be because our DL steps up against the run. Then we can attack the passing game with numbers and sour some of Joe Burrow’s pre-snap reads. I didn’t like how our Mike LBs played last week and I’d prefer to replace them with Longhorn safety depth.
Physicality. I’m not worried about Texas. And don’t doubt LSU. However, tackling on the perimeter is paramount. The punishment for a missed tackle last week was 12 yards. This week it’s 6 points. Angles and physicality have to be on point.
The Texas Crowd vs. LSU’s Tempo. LSU wants to play fast and shut the Texas crowd up with moving chains and early big plays. They watch film. They’ve seen our defense struggle to handle pace and they have to understand that deliberation gives Orlando the opportunity to make specific calls to attack personnel, down/distance and tendency. Once Orlando gets in the other team’s headset, it can be devastating. When he can’t do that, the Texas defense can struggle. While LSU will rely on signals and silent snap counts to get it done, robbing LSU of any verbal communication coach-to-player or player-to-player on the field is a big deal. If you’re going to the game, don’t underestimate the potential for your impact on the game and act accordingly.
Four Wide. Texas shouldn’t be shy about playing four wide receivers, with Jake Smith or Duvernay acting as the motion/fly/swing backfield option. I think there’s value in mimicking 20 personnel (with Smith or Duve as the “RB” with Ingram) and seeing how Aranda wants to line up.
Play Fast. Tempo is Ehlinger and the Texas offense’s friend. LSU has an excellent defense, loaded with elite athletes. They’re also well coached. Getting them to play with doubt and without the benefit of a sideline brain transplant provided by their assistant coaches is helpful in exposing their few weaknesses. When LSU plays with certainty, they can be dominating. Try to rob them of that with pace and formations they haven’t prepared for.
Keaontay Iron Man. Ingram will have to go 12 rounds for the Longhorns tomorrow. When Texas spells him with Roschon, make sure not to ask #2 to do things that he’s not prepared to do. Picking up blitzes on 250 pound LBs who will be in the NFL next year is one of those things.