NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Lloyd Cushenberry could overhear the voice clearly.
LSU's starting center was warming up on the field at Vanderbilt Stadium before the Tigers' game Saturday morning, and heard a woman talking about the LSU offense in a pregame show broadcast.
"They have a one-dimensional offense," he heard her say. "Vanderbilt must make them prove they can run the ball."
Factually, the broadcaster was accurate.
LSU entered the weekend tied 105th nationally in rushing offense (115.33 yards per game), while Heisman contender Joe Burrow led the record-breaking passing game to rank second only to Washington State with 436.3 yards per game.
Through three games, the Tigers had yet to produce a 100-yard rusher — the first time the program started with such a drought since 2009.
Burrow even said after LSU's 65-14 win over Northwestern State that the new offense was going to "pass to set up the run."
The Tigers' potent offense certainly favored the pass.
"Well, I heard that," Cushenberry said. "Just got back to the locker room and told our O-line that we've got to bring it."
It only took two plays for LSU to record its longest rush of the season.
On first-and-10 at the LSU 45, junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire burst through the middle of the field for a 46-yard run to the Vanderbilt 9.
The run, which was one yard shy of Edwards-Helaire's career long against Georgia last season, set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Justin Jefferson to tie the game 7-7.
Edwards-Helaire finished the game with 14 rushes for 106 yards and a touchdown, and he scored on a 9-yard run that gave LSU a 21-7 lead with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers rushed for 181 yards against Vanderbilt, with true freshman John Emery adding 51 yards and a 6-yard touchdown.
"I feel like we've executed at practice," said Edwards-Helaire, who has 51 carries for 288 yards and five touchdowns through four games. "I didn't feel like there was a good fall-off as far as (in) the game. To get 100 yards rushing, that's going to make everybody else believe. But our offense, we knew we could run the ball at will, and it was displayed today."
LSU coach Ed Orgeron was critical of the offensive line in the week leading up to the game, saying that the unit got beat at the line of scrimmage in the 65-14 win over Northwestern State, when the Tigers tried to implement new gap blocking schemes.
The gap scheme can be complex: Blocking assignments are based on angles and include double teams and pulling linemen from the back side of the play.
Against Vanderbilt, LSU returned mostly to its standard zone blocking scheme — a simpler scheme in which offensive linemen are assigned a gap and block the defender who happens to be in the gap.
Cushenberry said Edwards-Helaire's 46-yard run was an inside zone play; he took the handoff inside and looked for the open hole.
LSU left guard Adrian Magee guided a Vanderbilt lineman into the backfield, and Cushenberry advanced beyond his empty gap and engaged a linebacker.
Edwards-Helaire scooted through the open hole and easily found the open field.
Cushenberry said the offensive line has worked on being aware of when there isn't a defensive lineman around, and when they should advance downfield to block the second level.
"We haven't been getting to linebackers and the second level, and they've been filling the holes," Cushenberry said. "We worked on that a lot this week, and it came together today."
Those who are around LSU's athletic facility are familiar with Orgeron's mantra "block out the noise," a commandment to the players to not listen to the comments, negative or positive, that come from outside the facility walls.
But as for the pregame show in Vanderbilt Stadium, a little noise helped provide some motivation to prove someone wrong.
"It feels good," Cushenberry said. "But we still have a lot of plays that we need to get fixed."