Behind Enemy Lines - LSU

Tiger Rag editor Matt Deville talks about what the atmosphere will be like in Baton Rouge, LSU's quarterback rotation and whether the Tigers have straightened out their turnover tendencies which has been a concern in previous meetings with the Gators.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI: Did the Gator loss on Saturday deflate LSU's enthusiasm heading into this weekend's game? Can the Tigers still look at the match-up as a statement game given the Gators loss and the Tigers new No. 1 ranking?

MATT DEVILLE: "As for the hype and excitement surrounding the game in Baton Rouge, Florida's loss really hasn't changed it much at all. While the game will be a battle of top 10 foes instead of top five teams, LSU's ascension to No. 1 has intensified the focus and excitement surrounding the contest. The spotlight will definitely be on Baton Rouge for sure. Visiting campus Friday morning was CBS The Early Show followed by ESPN's Gameday on Saturday. Sports Illustrated will have special activities as well on Saturday. The game is reminiscent of LSU's 2003 clash with Georgia, an early season contest that could propel the Tigers in the right direction for a national title run. Tickets are quite scarce as some reports have them going for as much as $2,500 on e-bay.

"Saturday is viewed as a revenge game by fans after LSU's loss in The Swamp a year ago. And being that Florida is the defending national champion, it most definitely will go a long way in terms of justifying the Tigers No. 1 ranking could they pull out a win.

"Also, it will be the first time since 1981 that an LSU night game will be broadcast on a national network (CBS). Expect the biggest of big-game atmospheres for kickoff on Saturday.

CC: LSU is running the ball more than 60 percent of the time. Since Florida has done a decent job stopping the run, but has had trouble in the secondary, will LSU look to air it out a little more?

MD: "It seems strange for LSU to be running the ball so successfully considering one of the only questions marks surrounding this team coming into the year was the offensive line.

"But the Tigers are averaging 223 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 16th nationally. Against the Virginia Tech defense, which returned eight starters to the nation's top-ranked unit a year ago, LSU rolled up 297 yards rushing. Versus South Carolina, the only other ranked opponent the Tigers have faced so far, LSU ran for 290 yards. In wins over Miss. State and Middle Tennessee, the Tigers rolled up 198 in each contest respectively.

"Only in the win over Tulane did LSU throw for more yards than it passed for accounting for 134 yards on the ground and 257 passing.

"Knowing Les Miles' style, I would expect the Tigers to continue running the football. With LSU's rotation of running backs (the Tigers use five different backs as well as the two quarterbacks), the ground game is the strength of the offense. Flynn still seems to be bothered by a sprained ankle, an injury he incurred during the Virginia Tech game. He was badly off the mark in the first half against the Green Wave. Flynn's inability to run around effectively resulted in six sacks as well.

CC: LSU has struggled to take care of the football in every game against the Gators since 2003. How big of concern is it?

MD: "So far this season, LSU has turned the ball over only four times in five games. The Tigers have lost only one fumble this season and LSU quarterbacks have thrown only three interceptions. The Tigers did not have a single turnover in the first two games and all three interceptions came when the game had long since been decided.

CC: How similar is the way LSU uses the combination of Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux to the way Florida used Tim Tebow and Chris Leak last season?

"It is similar, but entirely different at the same time. Matt Flynn nor Ryan Perrilloux is as good as either Chris Leak or Tim Tebow in one way or the other. Leak was such a tremendous passer and Tebow is such a hard nosed runner, as well as a solid passer. Both Flynn and Perrilloux serve a purpose when they are in the game, Flynn more as a game a manager and Perrilloux as a wildcard. Perrilloux is more apt to run the ball when he is in the game as he is the better athlete.

CC: If Florida's offense has the kind of success they had through the first three games of the season, can the Tigers win a shootout?

MD: "Honestly, the way LSU's defense is playing, can't see Tigers giving up yardage and points comparable to what Florida was putting up in the first few games. The defense is very good, very deep, very fast and very physical.

"Taking into consideration the struggles of the Gators defense throughout the season, especially against the pass, LSU can score a lot of points. Remember, Virginia Tech had the nation's best defense the last two seasons, returned eight starters, and LSU rolled up 598 yards and 48 points – and made it look easy.

"From this vantage point, the two major areas of concern for Florida heading into this game are: 1) the offense cannot become one-dimensional running Tebow every play, if that's the case, it could be along night; 2) the secondary has to play better. LSU's passing game isn't its preferred method of attack. But make no mistake, the Tigers can throw it fairly well (216 ypg, 61-percent passes completed).


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