Alabama Football: Tide can beat LSU without Tua Tagovailoa

(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

If Alabama football does certain things well it can beat LSU without Tua Tagovailoa and with either Mac Jones or Taulia Tagovailoa at QB.

Most Alabama football fans believe Tua Tagovailoa will play against LSU. That assumption is probably correct. What is not known is how healed Tua’s ankle will be. The young man is not likely to be 100 percent. He could be only 70-75 percent.

Last season, Tua had the same injury to his other ankle. He played against Oklahoma 28 days after the same surgery he had after the Tennessee game. The recovery interval for playing against LSU is only 20 days. The Alabama football medical team is the best. The Tide training staff will use the most advanced rehab tools for Tua’s recovery. Still, no one knows if 20 days is enough.

If playing at 75 percent does not risk re-injury, a less than fully healthy Tua is still the Tide’s best QB. But playing a still recovering Tua is not the only way to beat LSU.

Alabama football can beat LSU with Mac Jones as the starting quarterback. Taulia Tagovailoa is another option for beating the Bengal Tigers. ‘Lia’ is untested, having thrown exactly one pass in college. Relying on him to orchestrate a victory over LSU is iffy. He could fail or succeed. If the challenge of the moment and the speed of play do not overwhelm him, he is the Tide QB closest in skills to Tua. How much Lia plays against Arkansas will show how willing Nick Saban might be to roll the dice with him against LSU.

Many Alabama football fans believe the Crimson Tide can beat LSU with a heavy reliance on the running game. An effective running game will be important. However, without Tua, LSU will load the box and dare Mac or Lia to pass. The good news for the Tide is loading the box will make LSU vulnerable against the best quartet of wide receivers in college football. Mac and Lia have three weeks of working with the first unit to build timing and confidence.

Depending too much on the run against LSU is risky. In game four of the LSU season, Vandy scored 38 points, aided by two running backs that averaged over six yards-per-carry. Since then, the LSU rush defense has stiffened. The Bengal Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the FBS defensively in yards-per-carry allowed, at 2.81 yards. Against LSU, Florida’s Lamical Perine got only 3.8 y.p.c. and the powerful Mississippi State runner, Kylin Hill managed only 2.3 y.p.c.

The Bengal Tigers are No. 38 in the FBS in Team Passing Efficiency Defense. The Gators’ Kyle Trask passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns against LSU. College football offense is about taking what the defense gives.

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Without Tua, what LSU will give is opportunities for the Tide passing game.

Mac Jones or Lia Tagovailoa do not have to be Tua in order to beat LSU. They just have to be effective. They cannot throw interceptions and they must make the throws a competent QB would make.

For such a strategy to work, the Crimson Tide MUST also achieve three more goals. It must win the turnover battle, or even better, make zero turnovers of its own. The Tide’s punting game must be what was seen in two punts by Tyler Perine against Tennessee. A Crimson Tide placekicker must make all PATs and not miss any field goal inside 40 yards. A healthy enough Will Reichard is almost essential to accomplish the field goal proficiency.

dark. Next. How much is Nick willing to change?

Accomplish the above paragraph of MUSTS and either Mac Jones or Taulia Tagovailoa can quarterback the Crimson Tide to a victory over LSU. Even better would be a 90 percent healthy Tua who plays against the Bengal Tigers and does not get hurt again.