Twitter Mailbag is a post running each Tuesday or Wednesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football team. Readers submit their questions, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @RossDellenger to submit a question.
@RossDellenger can Danny etling finally be the quarterback that takes us past Alabama— TJ Reed (@TJ__Reed) September 20, 2016
Here's the thing: Nick Saban is best at taking away an opponent's offensive strength. For LSU, that's the running game. More specifically, that's Leonard Fournette.
That means LSU's quarterback and its passing game must carry the load against the Tide, something it's failed to do in the matchup recently.
Now, to answer your question: I have no idea, but we do know that Etling's ability to read a defense gives the Tigers a better advantage than they've had the last two years.
@RossDellenger do you think there is a realistic chance that this team runs the table?— Blake #TeamYourBoy (@Brodyman321) September 20, 2016
LSU is more talented - just look at the recruiting rankings - than every other team on its schedule except one: Alabama. Being more talented than a team does not guarantee victory. Just look at what happened in the season opener.
However, LSU's new quarterback seems to bring a ray of hope. The Tigers entered the season as the fifth-ranked team in the nation with one big question: quarterback. It's still a question. After all, Etling has not played a game on the road yet.
His infusion has changed LSU's offense, though, making a once predictable unit, somewhat, unpredictable. That could go a long way in the Tigers running the table. The schedule is tough, though. There are so many toss-up games: at Florida, vs. Alabama, vs. Ole Miss, at Arkansas and, even, at Texas A&M. It's hard to see LSU winning them all, even with a new QB and a more snazzy offense.
@RossDellenger where has Saivion and Ed Paris been? Toliver and Jackson seem to be a little inconsistent.— ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@Tyler_Capone) September 20, 2016
Ed Paris saw some time late in the game against Mississippi State, and Saivion Smith is on several special teams units.
We really don't have an answer here, aside from the fact that coaches believe Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver are better. As the season drags on, though, that could change. LSU's secondary shuffled a ton last season. Roles drastically changed from the start to the finish.
@RossDellenger The drop off in offensive production last 2 games in 2nd half. Running out of gas or Miles/Cam taking foot off accelerator?— Richard C Miller (@RCLSUMiller) September 20, 2016
Glad you asked. It made us go back and create the below chart (and, no, it has nothing to do with the play calls):
What led to its end
INT in end zone
Teuhema hold on a FD completion
Etling sacked and lost fumble
INC on third-and-2
False start on second-and-2
Fournette lost fumble
Pocic hold on a FD completion
Fournette fumble on 4th down
Chark -4 reverse run on 2nd down
4 turnovers; 3 penalties; 1 3rd down INC; 1 2nd down run loss
22 pass-26 run
@RossDellenger good move to put malachi dupree in the slot cause he isn't a physical receiver?— Keith (@M0NTESAN0) September 20, 2016
Defensive coordinators' goal against Dupre the first two games was painfully obvious: press the receiver in physical man-to-man coverage. It worked. Dupre dropped four passes and caught just three in 15 targets.
His shift to the inside slot, something he's played from time to time the last two years, relieved him of press coverage. You've got to think it had something to do with his four-catch night against Mississippi State.
Expect Dupre to stay in that slot, but he's also capable of moving outside, too. LSU's receiver set are coming into focus:
- 1WR: Travin Dural OR D.J. Chark
- 2WR: Dural and Chark OR Jazz Ferguson and Dee Anderson OR Ferguson and Dural
- 3WR: Dural, Chark and Dupre OR Ferguson, Dural and Chark OR Dural, Chark and Anderson OR Dural, Chark and DeSean Smith (slot TE)
- 4WR: Any of the above combinations
@RossDellenger what is the real relationship between Miles/Cameron and the offense?— Amber-Red (@daph_redd) September 20, 2016
I don't think anybody can be sure on this, aside from the people who work with them and around them every day. But I do think that Cameron is slowly installing portions of the offense that he brought here four years ago. It's obvious that Etling's emergence has opened up the playbook. LSU's offense - play calling, formations and plays - is different than it was with Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. We wrote about that here.
I think Miles and Cameron's "real" relationship is one of respect, and I think it's a cordial one. They are friends, pretty good friends from what we can tell (remember, they worked together at Michigan). After all, Miles had many pushing him to get rid of Cameron after last season. He did not.
@RossDellenger did LSU pass more on 3rd down vs MS State than it did in all of 2015?— Tim Rine (@TimothyRine) September 20, 2016
Ha. No, it did not. Percentage wise, yes it did.
LSU passed 13 times in 16 third-down attempts against the Bulldogs for an 81 percent clip (a couple of those, though, were Etling scrambles we counted as pass calls, because they were). Last year, LSU passed the ball 93 times on 148 first downs. That's 63 percent of the time.
@RossDellenger predicted record win/loss?— dreamchaser (@southwalton1) September 20, 2016
LSU has nine regular season games left, and all but three of them (home vs. Missouri, South Alabama and Southern Miss) could be considered toss-ups. Even Missouri is no pushover, and South Alabama and Southern Miss each beat an SEC team already this season (Mississippi State and Kentucky).
Our guess on LSU's record in those games: 7-2. But, honestly, we have no idea.
@RossDellenger why hasn't donte Jackson been utilized on offense ?— Caleb Peters (@TwEATmyThought) September 20, 2016
This is a good question, and I wish we could speak to coordinators to find out more. Because of the lack of access to the staff, we only have to guess. And we're guessing that Jackson's role as an every-down defensive back is the reason.
He's already exhausted enough playing almost every defensive snap against the high-flying, up-tempo offenses of 2016. Why tire him out even more on offense when you have similar players? When LSU used him on offense last season, his role on defense was not as important.
@RossDellenger With the track record of recruiting & not developing dual threat QB's, should the staff go exclusively to Pro style recruits?— Dman (@HeyFightinTiger) September 20, 2016
This is a great question. In short: yes.
Why this doesn't happen more often, we might never know. LSU's pro-style system is built for that pocket passer.
@RossDellenger u never include my questions so not getting my hopes up but who in your professional opinion has better hair Teuhema or Duke?— Chase Bennett (@chase_hyde) September 20, 2016