Alabama Offense: Keys to Victory against the Tiger Defense

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Alabama offense faces a difficult challenge this Saturday in Death Valley. According to the numbers, the Tigers will match up with a squad that checks in at No. 35 nationally in total defense. While not dominant in any statistical category, the Tigers are consistently good across the board. Matt House was hired this year to run the Tiger’s defense and has transitioned the Tigers into a 3-4 defense that bases out of a 2 high safety look. Coming from the Kansas City Chiefs, House has brought the NFL style of defense to the college ranks. LSU focuses on playing a bend but don’t break style of defense by attempting to prevent the big play over the top. They also will use speed off the edge, combined with exotic blitzes off the edge to try and force offenses into long down and distances. Much like LSU’s offense, the defense is beginning to play better as the players start to adjust to House’s scheme and they present a tough opponent for the Alabama offense.

LSU’s Personnel

The Tigers have elite athletes across the board, especially at Linebacker and in the secondary that can disrupt the Alabama Offense. CB Mekhi Garner consistently ranks not only as one of the best cover corners in the SEC but in the country. He could potentially feast on a group of inexperienced receivers that have struggled to create separation this season. Look for LSU to attempt to use him to negate whoever they perceive to be the biggest threat (Ja’Corey Brooks).

It’s at Outside Linebacker where the Tigers really shine with two of the best in the country at the position. B.J Ojulari stands out at the Star, a position most Alabama fans will be familiar with as a hybrid OLB/DE. He will typically be deployed into the boundary, and can play in space but is most effective when he can rush the QB from the DE position. It will be interesting to see how LSU handles Harold Perkins this week. Perkins plays the SAM position for the Tigers and was very effective against Ole Miss after basically disappearing against Tennessee. The Tigers went to a lot of Nickel package, bringing in an extra DB against the Vols which led to Perkins being off the field. Will the Tigers attempt to deploy a similar strategy against the spread-happy Tide or will they find a way to get both Perkins and Ojulari on the field?

Alabama Offense:

As referenced above, keeping the Tigers spread out should be key for the Tide. The Tiger’s pass rush is not as effective as in years past, particularly if they attempt to go Nickel and keep Perkins off the field. Only having to account for one pass-rushing threat should give Young the time he needs to pick apart the defense. Where Ojulari and Perkins struggle is when you run directly at them, instead of around them. Bill O’Brien may need to adjust the run game this week and run less stretch zone and instead focus on downhill runs right off tackle at the two LBs.

Related Story. Running on the LSU Defense. light

Although the Secondary is athletic, they tend to be overaggressive. Ole Miss had success going over the top of the LSU defense and actually missed a few throws that were open. The Alabama offense should have plenty of space underneath as LSU plays a fairly loose zone which should allow Bryce Young the checkdown artist to have a field day. Look for Jahmyr Gibbs to have a big day through the air.