A porous LSU secondary will be short-handed against Alabama Football on Saturday night. The Bengal Tigers are No. 81 among FBS teams in Passing Efficiency Defense and 8th among SEC teams.
Using the ESPN FPI to compare, LSU is No. 89 in Overall Defensive Efficiency and only ahead of one SEC team; the Vanderbilt Commodores. By a slight margin, LSU is better at rush defense, but still one of the SEC’s worst.
Defensive stats for the Bengal Tigers point to two big problems for LSU against Alabama. A most glaring LSU weakness has surfaced this week. The Bengal Tigers will be without four key defensive players on Saturday. Outstanding LSU defensive lineman, Mekhi Wingo has been lost for the season. Perhaps worse for LSU, three cornerbacks are out for the Alabama game.
LSU has good depth at safety, but not at cornerback. Unavailable for the Bengal Tigers is their top cover corner, Zy Alexander, along with transfer cornerbacks, Denver Harris and Duce Chestnut.
The three LSU defensive backs expected to fill the Tigers’ secondary void have limited game experience. The highest expectations for a new starter on Saturday go to LSU sophomore, Laterrance Welch. The other two, pressed into duty backups are freshmen; Ashton Stamps and Javien Toviano. Neither Stamps nor Toviano have much on their college career stat sheets.
Toviano has played in five games and made two tackles, with no pass defense stats. In five games, Stamps has produced a few more tackles but neither player has a history of success against top receivers. Though Welch is a second-year player, his game experience this season has been only six games with a Passes Defended stat total of ‘1’.
LSU has a solid group of linebackers, with Harold Perkins Jr. being a versatile and highly skilled player. To compensate for inexperienced cornerbacks, will the Bengal Tigers resort to a heavy dose of blitzes? Against the Tide offensive line, bringing frequent heat would be tempting, but it could backfire, making the inexperienced LSU corners even more vulnerable.
Alabama Football: Comparing the offenses and defenses
The second problem for LSU on Saturday is its No. 1 in college football offense cannot ensure the Bengal Tigers a victory. The reason why is simple. Whatever the gap is between the Bengal Tigers offense and the Crimson Tide offense, it is eclipsed by Alabama’s defense being far superior to LSU’s defense. That disparity will determine the outcome of the game.
On Sunday, according to FanDuel, Alabama Football was favored by six points. The Monday night spread was Alabama minus-3. A score prediction will come later in the week, but if I were a bettor, I would take Bama if he gets back to six points and even higher.