Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game.
Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.
(Editor's note: Click the images to enlarge)
Move over, Earthquake Game. Bury all those Auburn pick sixes in 1994 next to the ashes of Th…
How They Happened (big-play analysis)
Safety bite: On second-and-7 early in the first quarter, AU QB Jarrett Stidham hits WR Will Hastings for a 49-yard touchdown reception.
- The key on this play comes from safety Grant Delpit (black circle), who is locked in man-to-man coverage with slot receiver Hastings. It's Hastings' cut to the outside that briefly fools Delpit and makes the play work. As the receiver cuts outside to sell the out route, Delpit takes one critical step that way before Hastings runs by him.
- CBS color analyst Gary Danielson is critical of LSU's defensive formation on this play. The Tigers rush only three players, he said, and drop eight. How can you drop eight into coverage and leave the middle of the field wide open, he asks (LSU actually rushed four). "Not very good defense. Not smart use of your tools," he said.
- We're not exactly sure why other safety Eric Monroe (yellow arrow) wasn't guarding the deep middle of the field. It could be LSU's defensive call or it could have been a miscommunication.
Screen vs. blitz: On third-and-13, Auburn executes a 52-yard screen pass to WR Ryan Davis to set up a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
- Coach Ed Orgeron seemed pretty perturbed about this play after the game. The Tigers have on a five-man blitz (yellow numbers). That's what really makes this play work. That and the motion man, RB Kerryon Johnson, removing from the play LB Tyler Taylor (black circles).
- Davis (red arrow) gets somewhat lost behind another Auburn receiver. He cuts to the inside, catches the pass and barely eludes the only LSU blitzer to recognize the play: senior Christian LaCouture (yellow 3).
- I'm no coach and we do not know the defensive call/assignments so putting blame on any specific player would be guesswork, but more blitzers must recognize the play, like LaCouture did.
F sweep: Russell Gage, on a jet sweep from the F position, runs 70 yards to set up LSU's first touchdown.
- This is a jet sweep, yes, but it comes from the F position, and it's almost the exact same play that Gage scored on at Florida last week — even to the same side of the field.
- The key on this play is Auburn safety Nick Ruffin (yellow arrow). For one, Ruffin does not get "wide enough," Danielson says. Also, he's looking at RB Derrius Guice (yellow circle), fooled on the play-action to the tailback. Meanwhile, Gage (red circle) totes the rock and runs right by him.
Chark attack: On the second play of the fourth quarter, DJ Chark returns a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to pull LSU within 23-21 of Auburn in a game-changing play.
- There is not a ton to break down here. Chark gets five key blocks for this return. Each is marked in the photo above with a number. Here's the key:
- Greedy Williams
- Jacob Phillips
- Todd Harris
- Jonathan Rucker
- JaCoby Stevens
The whiteboard in LSU’s halftime meeting room got worked.
Big Ugly Booms (OL analysis)
- The line seems to be improving in pass blocking each week despite starting a different lineup for a fifth game this season. That said, there were still several misses in pass protection. In all, Etling was pressured 8 times in 28 dropbacks. Most of those miscues came at the tackle positions via inexperienced players: freshman LT Saahdiq Charles and redshirt sophomore first-year starter Adrian Magee.
- There is a more disturbing issue: the inefficient run-blocking between the tackles. That leads to long third downs. LSU faced eight third downs of 8 or more, mostly because of the inability to pound the rock on first and second downs. Here are the numbers in between the tackles (it's more like, between the tight ends; off-tackle plays are included)
Runs of 5+yards: 5
Runs of 2 or fewer yards: 11
Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)
- Danny Etling for a second straight week drew the ire of CBS color analyst Gary Danielson for his struggles in progression reading. To the right, you'll see a play in which Etling has three reads
- DJ Chark on a deep post route
- Stephen Sullivan on an intermediate out route
- RB Derrius Guice in the flats
- The result of this play is an incompletion to Sullivan, who is double covered and caught in traffic. Etling moves from his first progression (a deep safety out of the picture guards Chark) to Sullivan but he does not shift to Guice, something for which Danielson criticizes him.
"He’s got to know where his other guys are," the color analyst said. "He’s got other guys to drop the ball off to. Coaches are depending on you to say, ‘Go through your progression.’"
- Below is a video of one of the better throws Etling's made in his career in Baton Rouge. He might tell you it's one of his better passes of his career period. The ball is placed perfectly, with just enough air for WR Russell Gage to leap and make the touchdown grab. Etling does it all off his back foot and with a man in his face.
- Remember last week when Etling carried the ball on five designed QB runs for 29 yards? He did that twice on Saturday for 7 yards. Looks like the QB runs will be a design moving forward. OC Matt Canada likes to run them on second and third downs with 5 or fewer yards to go.
- Lastly, Justin McMillan's one snap: A designed QB run that Orgeron said the QB worked on during practice this week. The play was blown up by an Auburn defender busting through Ed Ingram's hole at right guard. It's below.
The only other time Connor Culp won a football game with his leg came on a 26-yard field goa…
Five Yard Out (WR analysis)
- It's easy to see what Russell Gage is developing into for LSU: the Tigers' possession receiver (along with that jet sweep man). Check out the two photos below. Auburn gave Gage space on off man coverage throughout the game, and LSU took advantage, completing short passes to the small, shifty wideout. You see first below a slant and then a quick out .
- DJ Chark caught a career-high 5 passes and a career-high 150 yards. How? We broke down all five of them.
Why it worked
In and go
Chark sold the double move well, cutting in as if he were running a crossing route
Chark catches a 6-yard pass and races 31 more yards after breaking a tackle
Etling fired the ball out quick, and Chark got open vs. zone
Etling hits Chark with a back-shoulder throw that’s tough to defend
Etling threw to Chark’s back shoulder and the DB did not turn around
Front 7 (DL/LB analysis)
- Let's start with edge rusher Arden Key. We believe he played his best game since returning five games ago. The proof is in the numbers. We charted him for 6 QB pressures, and he got the first full sack since he returned against Mississippi State - toppling AU QB Jarrett Stidham on the Tigers' final offensive snap. He also had 2-3 strong plays on run support.
- DC Dave Aranda shifted Key around more than normal in this one. Early in the game for instance, Key aligned at a defensive tackle position in the Tigers' Cheetah package. Check it out above. This alignment didn't produce great results, and Key only lined up here about 5 times.
- Frank Herron played in his first game this season against Auburn. The fifth-year senior DE played in about 15 snaps, often spelling either Christian LaCouture or Rashard Lawrence. NT Ed Alexander spelled Greg Gilmore on about 14 snaps.
- The Tigers got pressure in this one. We've already mentioned Key's 6 pressures, but there were 5 more: Devin White (2), K'Lavon Chaisson (1), Herron (1) and Corey Thompson (1).
- Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson's numbers really speak to LSU's adjustments at halftime against a guy who had 123 in the first two quarters. The Tigers adjusted, locked down and tackled better. Here's Johnson's yards after contact numbers
YAC in first half: 77 (on 21 carries)
YAC in second half: 20 (on 10 carries)
Runs of 3+ YAC in first half: 8
Runs of 3+YAC in second half: 2
Changes abound at LSU this year — a new head coach, a host of new players, a new offense, etc.
Break it up (DB analysis)
- You can see this group gelling after coaches made the change in moving Donte Jackson inside to nickel and replacing him out wide with Kevin Toliver. It gets what many would say are LSU's best three cornerbacks on the field in Toliver, Jackson and Greedy Williams and leaves on the sideline a true freshman, Kary Vincent, who started the year at nickel.
- We charted DB targets in this one. Three DBs did not allow a completion against them. In all, the secondary had about 10 PBUs in downfield man coverage
- Donte Jackson: 0 for 5 (4 PBUs)
- Greedy Williams: 2 for 5 for 8, 25 yards (1 PBU)
- Grant Delpit: 2 for 5 for 49, 15 yards (1 PBU)
- Eric Monroe: 0 for 3 (1 PBU)
- Kevin Toliver: 0 for 3 (2 PBUs)
- Monroe did not only allow a completion in man/help coverage, but the redshirt freshman made two solid play in run support. He replaced starting safety John Battle, out with what is believed to be a stinger (he could be battling other injuries). Battle was in good enough shape to dress out and for Orgeron to tell CBS' sideline reporter before the game that he'd play. He never got into the game, though.
The DBs had a hand in Auburn's failed third downs in the second half. Here's a breakdown of each
Auburn failed third downs in second half
Why it didn’t work
WR Will Hastings dropped the pass
Stidham -1 sack
Stidham can’t find anyone open, pulls it down to run and Devin White corrals him
Stidham throws just barely out of the reach of his WR, covered by Toliver
Kerryon Johnson no gain
LB Donnie Alexander sticks Johnson at the line of scrimmage
Auburn WR dropped it
Donte Jackson PBU
Photos courtesy of CBS.