A week after top-ranked Alabama held LSU to 33 rushing yards, the Tigers tight ends made a bet with their position coach, Eric Mateos.
Senior tight end Colin Jeter wouldn’t disclose the terms, but the tight ends believed they could eclipse 300 yards rushing against Arkansas. Ultimately, they can thank running back Derrius Guice’s 96-yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter, which broke a school record, for pushing them over the mark.
The No. 16 Tigers (6-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) finished with 390 yards on the ground.
“That was the run that did it,” Jeter said. “So the tight ends were all juiced about it.”
But a rather simple tweak to the offense involving the tight ends also helped them accomplish the goal: sending tight ends in motion toward the short side (boundary) of the field.
Especially early in the game, LSU made a concerted effort toward calling running plays into the boundary, including Leonard Fournette’s first six carries. It was one of the areas Arkansas coach Bret Bielema pointed to as giving his defense fits against the run early.
“When we did all that motioning and moving and stemming and jumping around,” said tight end Foster Moreau, “it was basically so that we could get the front that we wanted to run certain plays in.”
Leonard Fournette's bum ankle looks just fine.
Essentially, the Tigers overloaded the boundary side of the formation by moving the tight ends. When a guard would pull to lead block, LSU outnumbered the Razorback defenders on running plays toward that side.
Furthermore, the Arkansas defense presented the exact look the LSU offense wanted when the tight ends motioned. With no receiver on the short side of the field, a Razorback defensive back had to line up over the widest tight end, which is the position the Tigers wanted him.
As Moreau explained, it’s like “setting up the target.”
“You kind of lock on to what you wanted to lock on to,” he said.
Though they hadn’t done it very much in a game, it wasn’t a new concept to the tight ends.
“We’ve been practicing it for a couple of weeks now – a lot of motioning,” Jeter said. “I just think it just fit the game plan. I think (offensive coordinator Steve) Ensminger wanted it in this week, and it fit what we wanted to do.”
Added Moreau: “Strategically, it’s savvy.”
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