Dave Aranda debuted a new pass-rushing defensive package during Saturday’s season opener against BYU: the Cheetah.
Matt Canada introduced something, too (aside from all those crazy shifts and motions): his jumbo package.
Every offensive coordinator has in his playbook a short-yardage/goal-line package, one filled with more tackle and tight end types than those fast, skinny receivers. Canada is no different, and the beneficiary of his heavy set is Jacory Washington. The fourth-year junior played 10 snaps Saturday — all in this jumbo set — after having spent much of his previous three seasons in Baton Rouge on the bench. He had previously played in one game in his career.
“I know Jacory knew that was his shot, when he was getting in the game,” senior F-back JD Moore said. “He was eager to get in.”
Saturday was supposed to be the big reveal of LSU’s new offense.
In the Cheetah, Aranda takes out a big defensive lineman and inserts a defensive back, a way to get more speed on the field on pass-rushing downs. In jumbo, Canada yanks a receiver or two and replaces them with Washington and/or a second running back, like Darrel Williams.
That’s what makes Canada’s heavy set different than most: It’s not as heavy. Under LSU’s previous offense, coach Les Miles may have inserted a third and sometimes fourth tight end or tackle. Canada’s jumbo is more versatile and leaner.
That’s a primary key to his offense: versatility. From a jumbo set, the Tigers don’t have to only run. Williams took a few handoffs while operating in the package, for instance, and Washington was the primary receiving target on another play from the jumbo.
"You can do a bunch of different things out of that package," tight end Foster Moreau said. "That’s a really versatile package."
LSU ran Canada’s lighter version of a jumbo package 10 times. The Tigers ran it nine of those times for 31 yards, gaining two first downs, including a touchdown. The 10 jumbo plays featured three formations: a full-house backfield with running backs Williams and Derrius Guice and F-back Moore; a one-back set with a tight-bunched line that included two tight ends, the F-back in Moore and Williams lined up in a wing position; and a one-back set with an unbalanced line, as two tackles were on one side of the center.
The last formation was an interesting look (and you can find a photo of it at the top of this story). On the left side of center, there was only a tight end and a guard. On the right side, there was a guard, two tackles, a tight end, the F-back and a running back. The combined weight of the six players on the right side of center: 1,671 pounds.
So maybe it’s not so light after all.
It’s a feeling Devin White gets.