Alabama Football: Looking for a clue against LSU, try strength vs. strength

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Alabama football and LSU will be looking to take advantage of every mismatch. One area is an exception where it will be Crimson Tide strength vs. LSU strength.

The outcome of Saturday’s Alabama football game versus LSU will be determined by numerous factors. Some of those factors will be more evident than others. All are difficult to predict in searching for the hinge points that could decide a close game.

The football staffs of both teams will look to identify, create and exploit all mismatches. One set of positional matchups will not be as affected by mismatches. The Alabama football wide receivers versus the Bengal Tigers defensive backs will feature two highly talented groups of players. Among those players, Saturday’s battle can be best described as ‘strength against strength.’

To the extent these two position groups may determine the outcome of the game, it could come down to which side’s players make the greatest plays.

Alabama football fans have good reason to like the Tide’s odds. The Crimson Tide has arguably one of the best wide receiving units to ever play the college game. The same grand description cannot be applied to the LSU secondary but LSU fans know their defensive backs are good enough to compete with anyone.

Even when the Crimson Tide goes with four wideouts, LSU has four guys who can cover. The best of the LSU four are safety grant Delpit and freshman cornerback, Derek Stingley Jr. The other two capable guys in the LSU secondary are cornerback Kristian Fulton and safety Jacoby Stevens.

Any Alabama football fans wanting to argue the Crimson Tide has a better pass defense than LSU have a credible claim. The Tide’s secondary is also very talented. In the NCAA stats of Team Passing Efficiency Defense and Passing Yards Allowed, the Tide ranks higher than LSU. LSU fans would argue those stats are misleading because the Bengal Tigers have played better passing offenses.

What cannot be argued is Stingley Jr. has some of the top individual stats in the FBS. The freshman has nine pass-breakups and four interceptions.

Another stat digression shows two of the LSU wide receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson have more passing yards-per-game than any Crimson Tide receiver. LSU is a bit more pass-heavy than the Tide and the LSU duo are not sharing ‘targets’ with two more LSU wideouts of comparable talents.

Can the LSU secondary cover the Crimson Tide wide receivers? As good as the LSU group are, they cannot succeed if Tua has adequate time. So another position group matchup will affect the result. Can the Tide offensive line protect Tua against an LSU four or five-man rush? We’ll get into that subject in a later post.

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Assuming LSU cannot get pressure on Tua with just four – how well the Crimson Tide picks up blitzes will be another major factor in the game.