Trindon Holliday, WR, 5'5", 161 lbs.
The Player: LSU is No. 1 in the country with punt returns and Holliday is the reason why. Don't be fooled by his small stature, he's blazing fast and is the NCAA's current 100 meter champion. Plus, he has sharp instincts on coverage.
Aside from his return skills, he should be a major weapon Les Miles turns to in the passing game. He has shown solid hands and defenses can literally lose him in traffic. Watch for LSU to use him on short and intermediate routes to get him into space in order to leverage his legs.
The Answer: On returns, Penn State will need Jeremy Boone's leg strength with some solid discipline from the coverage unit to stay in their lanes. Penn State put in extra drill time in Florida with the coverage unit to address this. They will also need a little luck to contain him since he eye's slim seams very well.
In terms of his receiving skills, Penn State will have to contain him and play aggressive in coverage. Playing him tight is a gamble, so watch for Bradley to play the coverage off, but come in hard when he gets the ball. One wiggle though and he could break one open.
Brandon LaFell, WR, 6'3", 206 lbs.
The Player: LaFell's size and strength have the ability to create mismatches for LSU's passing game. One of Jefferson's favorite targets he pulled in 52 passes for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
LaFell is generally disciplined on his route-running and uses his body well to create separation. He also provides a nice, big target for Jefferson and will go up for jump balls.
The Answer: The question is which corner matches up on LaFell. Both A.J. Wallace and D'Anton Lynn are 6'1", and have the size and speed to cover LaFell. They will need to play tight though and create small windows for Jefferson to try to hit.
Miles will likely try to run LaFell off some posts or slants to create separation, so he's going to find some success, but the PSU corners will have to limit his yards after catch and make him think about pulling in the next ball.
Jordan Jefferson, QB, 6'5", 220 lbs.
The Player: Jefferson has shown footwork issues, but is generally accurate, hitting 62 percent of his passes. He is averaging 7.22 yards per attempt, so Miles likes to generally get him intermediate targets to hit.
Despite his size, Jefferson is averaging only 14.5 rushing yards per game. To put that in perspective, with his limited running in games, Daryll Clark has averaged 15.9 rushing yards per game this season. What really stands out though is Jefferson has been sacked 32 times this season. This is more a function of his offensive line, but also illustrates issues with him using his feet to get out of breakdowns.
The Answer: Pressure. When Jefferson's initial target is locked up he has shown a tendency to hold onto the ball instead of using his feet or tossing it away.
Watch for Tom Bradley and Larry Johnson to scheme the defensive front to force quick decisions on Jefferson to force some fast decisions and potential Penn State opportunities.
Patrick Peterson, CB, 6'1", 210 lbs.
The Player: Although LSU is not a big press coverage team Peterson plays aggressive in coverage with 47 tackles this season (38 of those unassisted). He also broke up 13 passes and grabbed two interceptions.
Peterson is tight in route coverage and uses his hands well to defend receivers. He also has good footwork.
The Answer: With Miles likely putting him on Derek Moye, the offensive staff should try to take avantage of LSU's cushion with some quick passes or slants to Moye.
Peterson likely will not allow many yards after the catch, but the quick deliveries could force him to play in tighter and allow for Moye to break open a route or two.
Kelvin Sheppard, SLB, 6'3", 240 lbs.
The Player: Sheppard is LSU's leading tackler this season with 103 take-downs (47 unassisted). He also is No. 2 in tackles for loss with 8.5.
Sheppard has good strength and has shown the ability to get a good push off the snap. It seems that the LSU defensive staff likes to play him up in many situations to plug up holes.
The Answer: Penn State's offensive line will have to get a good surge and get a guard out to Sheppard to help open up the lane. The weapon PSU also has at heir disposal is Evan Royster's ability to read the lane as it shifts.
Penn State has been working on line pulls and shifts with some misdirection to try to draw out some of the coverage, but the Lions will have to consistently address Sheppard with management of the trenches and good zone blocking if Royster and company are going to get some significant runs.
Perry Riley, WLB, 6'2", 245 lbs.
The Player: Riley is second behind Sheppard in total takles with 92 (38 unassisted). Riley is another quick 'backer with good size.
The tandum makes it challenging for offenses to open up the flat and get players into space. Riley is an aggressive player who has shown tendencies to overpursue at times, but he has shown the athleticism to make big plays.
The Answer: PSU will need their tight ends like Andrew Quarless and Mikey Shuler to show up read to set and hold their blocks. A senior, Riley is a heady player and will read plays quickly, which is why Penn State will have to get an assignment out on him if they are running in his direction.
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