LSU Defense Best Florida Will See

The Florida Gators, despite their offensive struggles lead the SEC in scoring at 36 points a game. While the Gators have not lit up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree in conference play they have scored at least 30 in their contests with Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Saturday, the Gators will face their toughest challenge of the season when the LSU Tigers come to town. The Bayou Bengals are extremely impressive on defense limiting teams to 69 yards on the ground and 261 overall. Only one team (Mississippi State) has been able to run for 100 yards against them, and yet they do provide the Gators with some opportunities.

The defensive line is the best in the SEC. They start three seniors and a junior and all have size and speed, but they have not really dominated as expected. Leading the unit is Tyson Jackson who was a likely first day pick had he entered the NFL draft last spring. He returns to LSU for his senior year but has not been all that productive (12 tackles), managing just half a sack. The other end, Kirston Pittman (11 tackles) is more of a speed guy, but he's fighting for his position with Rahim Alem who actually leads the team with a pair of sacks. Add in mouthy tackle Ricky Jean-Francois and Charles Alexander (6 tackles each) and you have a helluva challenge for Florida's underperforming offensive line.

LSU's LB corps took a hit earlier this season when MLB Darryl Beckwith got hurt, but just the Gators' luck he's healthy and expected back in the lineup. I'm sure you remember how much the return of injured DE Greg Hardy helped Ole Miss a couple of weeks ago. Beckwith can have that kind of impact. SLB Perry Riley (20 tackles) is the best of the others.

The secondary is sort of a mix. SS Harry Coleman (team high 22 tackles) is very physical but so-so in coverage. FS Curtis Taylor (16 tackles, 1 interception) is a better all around player. At corner Jai Eugene is an All-SEC caliber guy while Chris Hawkins has two interceptions; however he's the guy you want to attack.

No one in the SEC can put more talented athletes on the field on defense than LSU will send out Saturday night. However there are opportunities for the Gator offense. Auburn threw for 250 yards against LSU and the Gators are far better at throwing the ball than Auburn is. For all its talent, LSU has registered just six QB sacks in four games ranking them above only Arkansas among SEC defenses.

This is a game where Florida must throw to open up the run. Tim Tebow must have a big game against the LSU secondary, and don't be surprised if Florida has some designed QB draw plays to try and counter LSU's aggressiveness. WR reverses can also be effective against LSU.

This should be a very good match up.

LSU SPECIAL TEAMS ----- LSU is very good on special teams, especially with punter returner Trindon Holliday who is almost a mirror image of the Gators' Brandon James. He averaged 25.1 on returns and has a TD. Kickoff return man Keiland Williams is more dangerous than his 23/3 average might indicate, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Holliday back there. LSU covers kicks and punts very well. The Tigers' punter Brady Dalfrey averages just 38.9 but that's deceptive. Eight of his 15 punts have been downed inside the 20 which has LSU No. 1 in the SEC in NET punting. The place kicker Colt David is a proven kicker and is 6-of-7 on FG. It's unlikely either team will have a major special teams breakdown, but if either can spring their return guy it could well be the difference in the outcome.


Fightin Gators Top Stories