To LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan, preparing for Alabama’s physical offense is just like preparing for any Alabama team.
“Typical Bama,” Logan said. “But since they are No. 2 now, everybody’s hyping it, blowing it up to be more than it really is.”
In this day and age of media overkill, the sophomore from Red River High School in Coushatta has a point. As big as No. 1 vs. No. 2 is, a national champion won’t be crowned Saturday when the top-ranked Tigers go to Tuscaloosa.
But this is anything but a typical opponent for the Tigers.
Alabama’s power running game averages a league-best 229.2 yards per game rushing and an eye-popping 5.8 yards per carry, a yard per carry better than the next best SEC rushing attack. A lot of that is because the Crimson Tide has a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back in Trent Richardson. But a big part of it is a physical Bama offensive line.
Led by ESPN midseason all-American left-tackle Barrett Jones, Alabama’s front is big and physical, giving the Tide the personality to have the first true power-running team LSU will face this year. Along with LSU and national powers like Stanford and Wisconsin, Alabama is one of a dying, but still successful breed, of team that will emphasize a pro-style I-formation rushing attack and power football over the now-common spread approach.
Logan said LSU hasn’t faced a team that runs the same blocking schemes as Alabama, but said it isn’t unfamiliar.
“Same Alabama,” he said. “Now they run a little more zone (blocking), but they are still a power, downhill run (team) like we’ve known Bama to do over the years.”
LSU’s defensive front, of course, will likely be the biggest challenge for Alabama’s offensive line. LSU is allowing just 2.5 yards a carry, second best in the SEC to Alabama. A big reason is a front four that’s as deep as it is talented. Logan is one of four tackles LSU will rotate in and out of the game. The Tigers enjoy similar depth at end.
But the biggest challenge of the season for the Tigers’ deep, disruptive front four won’t come from schemes or game hype, said Logan, whose five tackles for loss is tied for third on a team that has forced 61 negative-yardage plays from opponents this season. It’ll come from this:
“One of the best offensive lines we’ve faced so far,” Logan said.
“We didn’t really see a weakness,” he said.
For Logan and the defensive line, this may be typical Alabama, but this anything by a typical challenge for LSU.