If you're like me, which isn't necessarily a good thing, then you're a huge fan of physical, gap-sound trench play. Being a former linebacker/safety/Rover, at the semi-professional level, nothing gets my juices flowing quite like teams that aren't afraid to make physicality the great equalizer.
So when LSU straps it up against the University of Wisconsin, in freaking Lambeau Field of all places (!), I will be completely glued to the tube trying to decipher which 3-4-based outfit, that has shown a propensity to win big games strictly with a ground-centric approach, is imposing its respective will the most.
In fact, it will be like looking in the mirror when you consider how both teams approach it on a tactical and technical level. (And even more so when you consider the Dave Aranda factor.)
By now you've all heard, ad nauseam, that last season's Wisconsin defensive coordinator is now applying his trade for the Purple & Gold, where the overall talent level has gone up, tremendously, and his first task will be going up against an offensive coach in Paul Chryst -- for whom he schemed with and against in practice for an entire season.
That, in itself, brings major intrigue. But when you factor in that LSU is undergoing a bit of a philosophy change -- going from the even-front alignment of former DC Kevin Steele to the stylings of Aranda -- you have to wonder how quickly he can get his unit up to snuff.
Offensively, Wiscy is about formationing you to death by lining up in "21," "22" and "23 personnel," only to vary the alignment and spread or constrict you. This means that Aranda has to generate versatility from his base personnel grouping, and we may see line-of-scrimmage players like Arden Key or freshman Michael Divinity be put in precarious situations out in space. The same can be said for someone like strong-side inside linebacker Kendell Beckwith having to man up with a "Y" or detached target.
We already know what LSU wants to get accomplished offensively, so this season will be about the continued development of quarterback Brandon Harris in the quick- and mid-range game. Harris has been money, more times than not, with the vertical game, but his ability to operate in the rhythm-and-timing portion of the playbook is paramount for this LSU title run.
I also want to see if Cameron has something up his sleeve involving his talented "Y' and "U" targets, as LSU sees more packed boxes than UPS during the holiday seasons, especially when lined up in said "U personnel."
Case in point.
Involving the tight ends in tight boxes, against LBs and safeties, is a must. And, not to mention, the type of talent that's out wide on a snap-by-snap basis is just disgusting when talking about Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural (among others).
The rushing attack is the best in the business, and the defense, while learning a new scheme, is as talented as any. (And that's glossing over a team that's normally strong on special teams.)
This has the makings to be a very special year for the boys in Baton Rouge, folks.