Yesterday, I mentioned a few things to think about concerning this Saturday’s game against LSU.
If you are a perceptive reader, and I know you are, you picked up that yesterday’s thoughts had more of a negative flavor. These were possible bad things that could happen – and if they do, we have trouble winning. Today, though, I want to look at the other side. These are a few more things consider, albeit with a more positive flavor…
1) Expect the offense to be aggressive from the start. I think the Tide offense will be wide-open from the beginning and I think this for several reasons.
- A quicker tempo helps to eliminate any big-game jitters;
- ‘Bama has the offensive tools to do this – quarterback, line and receivers;
- We need to get ahead, stay ahead and make LSU play from behind.
2) Expect a big game from O.J. Howard. The freshman tight end has sparkled at times this year, but mostly, he’s been kept under wraps. Howard presents match-up nightmares and there’s no better time to exploit this than against the Tigers.
3) Expect T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake to shine. There’s probably not a more talented running back duo in the league. I don’t expect Nick Saban and Doug Nussmeier to put the game on their shoulders – that spot is reserved for AJ McCarron, but I do expect these two talented runners to play a major role – especially in the second half.
4) Don’t worry about the defense. In conference games, LSU is a middle-of-the-road offense. They only rank 6th in yards per game with 436.8. They have talent – they always do – but what they do is fairly simple. They run the ball with Jeremy Hill and then Zach Mettenberger chunks it down field to Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. I wouldn’t be surprised if LSU scores a bit, but I also will be surprised if they can sustain moving the ball the entire game.
5) Expect a big game from McCarron. This will likely be the first game all season where all of our offensive weapons are loaded and ready to go. For most of the year, since the competition was suspect, I’ve felt like we’ve played with one hand behind our back. LSU is the best, most talented team on the regular season schedule, so expect all of the weapons to be used if necessary. And McCarron is the guy pulling the trigger on those weapons. All of this games against the Tigers have been memorable. In the 2011 regular season, he played tentative and was responsible in a big way for losing the game. In the 2011 title game, he carried the load and brought home #14. Last season, he orchestrated one of the most memorable comebacks in Crimson Tide history. This year, I believe he’ll play his best game yet against LSU. The offense was lethargic for most of the 2012 game. I don’t expect that this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCarron operate the hurry-up with four wides and then go from there. Whatever, though, I expect him to have a big game.