A Little R & R

The LSU offense looks to build some momentum when the Tigers face Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. Both teams enter the contest undefeated, but only one will exit Death Valley unblemished.

R & R is what the LSU football team needs this week, but it’s not the type of R & R that most people think of. Rather than rest and relaxation, the Tigers have rhythm and routine on their mind after staggering through a 31-23 victory at Washington last Saturday.


LSU struggled at finding rhythm on offense as the Tigers spent most of their time on the sideline watching the Huskies keep drive after drive alive. Washington held the ball 13:44 longer than LSU, and as a result, the Tiger offense was never able to maintain momentum.


Gameweek Links:
  • Toliver's Opening Statement
  • TSD TV: Patrick Peterson
  • TSD TV: Charles Scott
  • Working on Fundamentals
  • Miles Responds to Washington
  • A Look Ahead: Vanderbilt
  • Out of nine drives, LSU went three and out four times, and failed to put back-to-back scoring drives together. In fact, the only time the Tigers put two consecutive drives together at all was in the second quarter.


    LSU drove from its own 36 to the Washington 19 yard line, but a Charles Scott fumble turned the ball over to the Huskies. The next drive, Jordan Jefferson and Terrance Toliver hooked up for their first of two big touchdowns, but that was followed by another three and out.


    The frustration of the offense was felt by everyone, but particularly by Scott, who broke his first run of the season for 21 yards but failed to gain more than four yards on either of his 11 other totes.


    “I think it was hard to get in a rhythm on the ground, period, just because they were slanting here and slanting there,” said Scott, who led LSU with 52 yards rushing. “They threw some wrinkles out there that we weren’t expecting. But we made a few adjustments and Jordan started throwing the ball well, and we opened it up a little bit and started having some success on the ground.”


    Scott credits Washington’s defensive line for making plays and clogging up the running lanes, but credit also goes to Washington first-year defensive coordinator Nick Holt for devising a good game plan, along with the Washington offense for playing keep away from the Tigers.


    “We were going up against a team where the film we watched, we really didn’t know what to expect on either side of the ball,” said sophomore center T-Bob Hebert. “We watched the USC film and Washington’s spring game film, and some of the stuff we game planned for they did a little differently.”


    LSU made some adjustments and put together one of its most impressive drives of the night late in the fourth quarter with only a touchdown and a two-point conversion separating the two teams.


    Keiland Williams came through for the Tigers late in the game against Washington

    The Tigers drove 67 yards in six plays and took 3:24 off the clock before Jefferson found Brandon LaFell in the end zone to put the game on ice.


    And it was the running game that provided the late spark. But this time it was Keiland Williams getting all of the touches as he rushed three times for 32 yards – breaking off runs of 9, 7 and 16 yards.


    “Anytime you have two guys like Charles and Keiland it makes your running game so much harder to stop,” Hebert said. “Keiland got his number called and he took advantage of it. He and Charles are as good of a 1-2 punch as you’ll find anywhere.”


    The Tigers hope to see more of their running game, and offense for that matter, when they take the field in the home opener against SEC-foe Vanderbilt on Saturday.


    The Commodores defeated hapless Western Carolina last week, 45-0, but this is a major step up in competition going from one of the worst teams on the FCS level to the No. 11-ranked team in the country in their own backyard.


    Still, Vanderbilt’s defense finds itself sitting at No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference after allowing only 115 yards of total offense, including 41 on the ground last week. Those numbers will surely go up after this week, but with a defense that returns eight starters from last year’s unit that finished one spot higher than LSU in total defense, the Tigers are not taking the Commodores lightly.


    “We looked at some snaps [from last week] and when you look across the board you don’t have the biggest guy or the fastest guy, but you have guys that as a unit they’re well coached and they play great as a unit,” Scott said.


    “They play hard and you can tell they have a passion for what they’re doing and I expect a great challenge from this defense. We’re going to challenge ourselves to step it up a notch this week, and to turn it up on offense so we can match their intensity.”


    Washington gave the Tigers trouble with the way the defensive linemen slanted and played their gaps, and Hebert expects to see some familiar looks when he lines up for his first starting assignment on a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.


    “I would say Vanderbilt is almost similar on movement and a lot of picking and confusing,” said Hebert. “It’s definitely something that takes a little getting used to, but we have veteran tackles which help see all that going on and great guards in Lyle (Hitt) and Josh (Dworaczyk).”

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