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)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Big brother is still boss.
How They Happened (big-play analysis)
Picked off: Late in the first quarter, Danny Etling is intercepted on a pass meant for RB Derrius Guice, and Bama subsequently scores a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
- Bama defensive back Ronnie Harrison (black circle) reads the route. It's a simple out route from Guice meant to pick up about 5 yards. Harrison jumps in front of the running back as Etling releases the ball, a well-timed move by the DB to snatch an interception.
- Harrison isn't the only reason this play doesn't work. Execution is poor in two spots. CBS play-by-play man Gary Danielson says "not a great route by Guice," for one. The other is the yellow circle. That's TE Foster Moreau. After the game, Moreau took part of the blame for the pick, mentioning pressure in Etling's face. You see it there circled.
Hurts up the gut: Bama QB Jalen Hurts, on a zone-read keeper, gains 15 yards on the first play of the Tide' game-securing touchdown drive in the third quarter.
- This is one of six designed runs for Hurts. He picked up 46 yards on those, an average of 7.6 yards. He had two big ones on the first plays of drives - a 19-yarder in the first half and this one in the third quarter.
- First, let's look at the hole created here. Danielson calls it a "canyon" because of its girth. This is a zone-read play, so an LSU defender is likely supposed to be responsible for the QB run. However, DE Rashard Lawrence and ILB Devin White (red arrows) both take the RB, and Arden Key is occupied on the edge by Bama's left tackle. This creates the gaping hole.
Wildcat: RB Darrel Williams takes the direct snap and explodes up the middle for a 54-yard run to set up LSU's only touchdown.
- Center Will Clapp executes the primary block on this play. He actually helps put away two Alabama defenders, chipping the first with RG Ed Ingram and then moving to block the safety, as shown here circled in black. Other blocks on the play come from RT Toby Weathersby (blue), TE Foster Moreau (yellow) and LG Garrett Brumfield (orange arrow).
- Clapp, by the way, wore a protective sleeve on his left arm. He appears to be battling a left elbow or arm injury. Playing through pain is nothing new for Clapp. He played with a torn labrum in his shoulder last season.
Big Ugly Booms (OL analysis)
- Whether it be the game plan or execution (it was probably a lot of both), LSU's offensive line, arguably, played its best game, given the competition. The advanced stats on pass-protection alone speak to that. Check them out compared to last year's game at Tiger Stadium.
- Last year vs. Bama Etling pressures/dropbacks: 14/29
- This year vs. Bama Etling pressures/dropbacks: 6/26
- Etling was, indeed, sacked four times. One of those was a coverage sack in which he had 5 seconds to throw before being toppled.
Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)
- Danny Etling did not run from the issues. He faced reporters after the game on the field and admitted to "missing some throws," but this wasn't all on the quarterback. Three players dropped passes: WR Dee Anderson, WR DJ Chark and TE Foster Moreau (the first two were critical drops - a long ball and a third down pass beyond the sticks).
- The talk surrounding this one was on Etling's inefficiency with the deep ball. He was 1 for 6 in passes over 25 yards in length. Check out a breakdown of each below
Yards in air
Why it did/didn’t work
Well-placed throw under pressure that Sullivan leaped high to snatch
Underthrown by a full stride
Slight overthrow, but Chark had trouble judging the ball over his shoulder
Slightly overthrown against really tight coverage from Alabama
Underthrown by 2 strides, but Chark drops it; Danielson says Chark “miss-judged” it
Overthrown by a stride
LSU is sticking with its quarterback plan.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was unlike any offensive game plan LSU ran against Alabama in recent memory.
Five Yard Out (WR analysis)
- The receivers, as previously mentioned, had two dropped passes and both were critical. Some would argue that the last deep ball attempt to Chark should have been caught. Some would argue it was underthrown. Honestly, it's probably both.
- Russell Gage and Derrick Dillon executed nine jet sweeps, and RB Derrius Guice had two jet sweeps from the F-back position. Here are those numbers
Jet sweeps: 11
Sequence of gains: 5 yards, 8, 5, 2, 4, 0, 0, -2, 4, 6, 5
- Bama started to catch on to the sweeps. You'll see the play above in which the Tide creeps up its safety as Dillon goes into motion. The safety, Hootie Jones, makes the play. That's the key in stopping LSU's sweeps, Danielson says during the broadcast - the safety must roll down and over.
Front 7 (DL/LB analysis)
- It's hard to explain how good edge rusher Arden Key and his pass-rushing front performed, so we turn to the numbers.
Jalen Hurts dropbacks/pressure: 29/16
Arden Key pressure: 8
- Key hounded Hurts in maybe his best outing of the season. Certainly, these last two games were his best so far, with 7 pressures at Ole Miss. He's very much rounding into form. Key's actions on a couple of plays resulted in another player bringing down Hurts. For instance, DC Dave Aranda drops him in coverage early in the game. He guards Hurts' target resulting in a pressure for LB Devin White and sack for Christian LaCouture (black arrows).
- LSU sold out to stop the run, remaining in its base 3-4 defense for a majority of the game (all but 3-4 plays). That meant a lot of OLB Corey Thompson, normally not on the field during LSU's widely used defense, nickel. LSU played some nickel on Saturday, removing a lineman for a defensive back, but Thompson remained on the field.
- So did LSU load the box? Pretty much. Here are the numbers that we charted of Alabama's rushing plays before the Tide's final few plays, with the game in hand
Rushing attempts: 27
7 men in the box: 18 times
8 men in the box: 9 times
- A good example of the Tigers selling out to stop the run is above and to the right. The Tigers have seven in the box, and Thompson (black arrow) is racing in form his post covering the slot receiver even before Hurts completes the handoff.
- Aranda brought pressure against Hurts fairly often and in a variety of ways. To the left, you'll see a diagram of a blitz in which LSU's two inside linebackers (black arrows) fake a rush before dropping into zone coverage. Instead, Aranda sends Corey Thompson and Key off the edge (red arrows). Thompson had 3 pressures during the game. Combined with Key, that's 11 for those two guys.
- Below, you'll find a video of another blitz, this one a delayed blitz from ILB Devin White. White continues to roll. Alabama OC Brian Daboll told CBS' TV crew that White was the "best player he's seen on film this year," Danielson said.
- Another video is below, showing a good example of why LSU held Bama to 116 yards rushing and sacked Hurts four times.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Twice, Jalen Hurts has almost single-handedly ruined LSU’s hopes for a huge upset in its annual marquee Southeastern Confer…
Break it up (DB analysis)
- There was only one notable bust, but there were several struggles in man-to-man coverage, as Ed Orgeron noted after the game.
- Let's get to that "bust," as Danielson called this. This is a key play in the fourth quarter. Bama converts a third down by hitting its wide open tight end Irv Smith (red circle). Arden Key and Donte Jackson (black arrows) take Calvin Ridley in the flat, and safety Grant Delpit (black circle) is well back.
- About that man-to-man coverage... here's some numbers of DB targets, catches and yards.
- Donte Jackson: 0 (unclear who fouled up on the bust)
- John Battle: 1 for 2, 21 yards
- Greedy Williams: 3 for 8, 46 yards
- Kevin Toliver: 5 for 7, 111 yards
Photos courtesy of CBS.
LSU tumbled five spots to No. 25 in the coaches poll and completely fell out of the AP top 25 after the 24-10 loss at No. 1 Alabama.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Maybe it was fear, the fear that coast-to-coast predictions of doom and defeat would come true for LSU against No. 1-ranked…
Last season, this was when it began.