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3 Things That Worry Me About LSU

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The Georgia Bulldogs have a top 15 tilt against the SEC West, in Death Valley, broadcast by CBS to a national audience, with Gary Danielson bringing up every painful memory ever. What, me worry?

Southeastern Louisiana v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday nights kick off:

1) Our defense is deeper than theirs. And we’re like: Dang right, it’s better than theirs. The Bayou Bengals list 22 players with 2 or more tackles, and 9 with at least 3 a game (solo + assisted). 18 of those players are in double digits. The Bulldogs sport 33 players with 2 or more and 46 total players who’ve registered a takedown, yet only 14 with double digit tackles. It is obvious we substitute more, and have more players with meaningful performance on defense.

Does LSU have some studs? Absolutely. Devin White is going to get paid by an NFL team pretty darn soon and is a wrecking ball. Fellow linebackers Divinity and Phillips are also good enough to play anywhere. They have 5 defensive backs that already have at least 10 tackles on the season. But they are top heavy. Plus, they’ve had to play a lot more, at least against stouter competition. And with temps forecast to still be 80 degrees and higher Saturday afternoon, our depth and fresh legs will make a difference.

2) We batted down the first pass of the game by Vandy. And on the third play. A tackle for loss, a serious QB hurry, all in the first 10 minutes. Then another near sack just as the 1Q ended. Georgia opponents are only getting 5.15 yards per pass attempt against us, good for #4 in the nation. And that includes a couple of teams who were determined to throw underneath and to throw quickly. LSU is 95th in the nation as a passing offense, and this includes against the Ole Miss swiss cheese defense and two cupcakes (conversely, also includes UF, UM, and AU). I think our pass defense, while not sack-heavy, will limit LSU from marching up and down the field.

3) Penalties. Will Coach Kirby Smart have the ‘Dawgs performing at a peak and non-infractional level? Peak-yes. Infractions though? We’re going to have them. We are around #70-80 in the nation in penalties and penalty yardage per game. To be honest, I’m surprised we’re ranked that good. And LSU has never been known as a finesse team, one that runs like a tightly wound machine.

We’re young, we’re aggressive, players are looking for playing time and let instinct overcome discipline. We’re more like… “ooo! A squirrel!!” The lack of composure shows when the senior leadership leaves a void. A void that isn’t easily filled. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be good, and that our talent won’t rise to the occasion. Bend don’t break is a real thing - the penalties help the bend, and we hope it won’t lead to a break. We might not be as composed as last year, but I don’t think this will hurt us in the game’s outcome.

Your Georgia Bulldogs are the #2 team in the nation, undefeated, bowl-eligible, and in the national consciousness for a second consecutive playoff berth, with all our goals still in play. Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch on AM radio, so here’s what I am worried about this Saturday in Baton Rouge with backing vocals by Gary Danielson:

1) Joe Burrow is better than you think he is. Did I just tell you above that I wasn’t worried about LSU’s passing offense? Of course I did. Is Joe Burrow being heralded as this season’s Jarrett Stidham… a transfer project that will throw his team into offensive juggernaut status? Of course he isn’t. But he also isn’t throwing many picks (just two, and both last week against Florida), he’s getting sacked about 2 times a game on average, and he was still absolutely in position to keep LSU undefeated last week.

If only those Tiger receivers could catch the ball. As a Georgia fan, I’m used to seeing receivers drop key passes in key situations. But you can’t fault Burrow for watching valuable completions in the waning seconds drop harmlessly to the ground. If LSU had good hands last week, I honestly think they are #4 in the nation this week and the hype for this game would be out of control. I see potential, and it scares me.

2) The Bayou Faithful. Head Coach Ed Orgeron has built it, and they will come. At least Orgeron hasn’t completely torn it down yet, and these guys were coming anyway, so they’ll be there as usual. However you want to say it, the Tiger fans didn’t like sitting at home last week while their beloved LSU football team suffered not only a loss in the Swamp, but also enduring a pre-game honoring of Tim Tebow. They will not go lightly into this late afternoon.

And let’s face it, the loudest crowds we’ve faced in the last 10 ½ months have been our own. Jordan-Hare was the last time we took the brunt of an opposing fanbase, and that did not end well. I bet the LSU crowd knows this, and again, are antsy after sitting on their hands last week. They know they can be a difference maker and I bet they’ll be out to prove it.

3) Running into the sun, but we’re running behind. Our run defense, to all who’ve observed, has steadily been giving up ground more than we’re used to. What was supposed to be a perceived strength is falling behind our perceived weakness (a young secondary). Taking the pitiful Tennessee Volunteers out of the equation (heh), the rush yards per game given up in the last 3 contests has been, in order, 4.15 ypg, 4.64 ypg, and 4.75 ypg (courtesy of the Corneliuses).

Tiger featured running back Nick Brossette is getting a healthy 95 yards on the ground per contest, and usually snags around 10 a game through the air. As a team, LSU runs for about a buck ninety – not exactly Georgia Tech but still enough to eat clock and keep the ball. And for whatever you don’t like about quarterback Joe Burrow, he somehow sneaks in about 30 yards rushing. That can be in the form of critical conversions, or into the end zone, or when he seeks the spines of Georgia defensive backs. So the running game in general, and one that thrives on momentum, scares the voodoo out of me.

What worries you about Saturday’s contest against the Mike-less Tigers? Leave them in the comments below. And as always…


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