Scouting LSU Offense

The Gators follow up their off-week with a matchup against No. 4 ranked LSU in Baton Rouge. LSU is 5-0 but three of their wins have come by eight points or less. They are dead last in the SEC in total offense (322 yards/g) and have given up exactly the same number of yards they have gained.

Those are surprising numbers for the No. 4 team in the country, but LSU has made it work in part by limiting mistakes. They are second in the SEC in fewest penalty yards and turnover margin (plus-7).

It's surprising that the Tigers are last in the SEC in total offense when you consider the fact that they have some very good players at the so-called skill positions. The biggest reasons for the lack of productivity can be found in an inexperienced QB and a mediocre at best offensive line.

The O-Line does have three starters back from a year ago led by All-SEC LT Ciron Black. However, the rest of the unit has not played anywhere near his level. The two veterans on the right side have not played as well as they had hoped/expected. The line did have a solid run blocking day against Georgia, but that barely offset allowing six QB sacks in that game. In five outings, LSU has allowed their QB to be sacked a scary 13 times.

QB Jordan Jefferson came on strong late last season and has played pretty well this season. Jefferson is competing 62 percent of his passes with seven TD, but the important thing is that he has thrown just two interceptions. Florida's ball hawking secondary has to raise that number Saturday.

LSU averages 135 yards on the ground, but it would be 166 if you don't count sack yardage. They have one of the two best RB tandems in the SEC with Charles Scott (274, 4.4, 2) and Keiland Williams (187, 4.9, 2). Both are decent receivers out of the backfield, but nothing special. LSU also gets rushing yards from Jefferson (195 gained) and backup Russell Shepard (106, 6.2) who they use in the "Wild Tiger" package.

LSU has two big targets at WR in 6-5 Terrance Tolliver (23, 14.9, 2) and 6-3 Brandon LaFell (23, 12.3, 5). Those two against Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden is with the price of admission. LaFell is one of the three best receivers in the SEC along with Julio Jones of Alabama and Georgia's A.J. Green. They also have pretty good depth with R.J. Jackson (7, 13.6) and an emerging player in Rueben Randle (3, 14.3). Florida also has to deal with TE Richard Dickson (11, 8.6) who is a good player and a key guy for them on third down.

Overall this is an offense that is more dangerous than its stats would tend to indicate. It's hard to imagine how a team with this much skill can be struggling this much, but that all comes back to the offensive line. Florida needs to dominate in the trenches to limit the damage those skill guys can inflict.

LSU for all its troubles has been very consistent when it comes to scoring points. They have a high of 31 and a low of 20 in their five outings. Contract that with the Gators who have a much wider range in their highest (62) and lowest (23) point production.

Tomorrow we'll examine LSU's defense and special teams.


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