Welcome to Film Room, where we'll break down significant portions from LSU's last football game.
(Click to enlarge photos)
LSU 50, Texas A&M 7
How It Happened
Raising hell with personnel: LSU overmatched Texas A&M from the beginning. By the end of the first quarter, the Tigers led 21-0 and the Aggies had only mustered 18 total yards of offense on 15 plays.
Yes, LSU raided the Texas A&M backfield with its most effective pass rush of the season, recording two sacks within the first three drives of the game.
But the Tigers also stomped out Texas A&M's rushing attack, limiting the Aggies to three yards on nine carries by the end of the first quarter.
The LSU defense knew it was being blamed for the program's drop from the top ranking in the country, and it responded with its most dominant p…
LSU coach Ed Orgeron praised defensive coordinator Dave Aranda following the victory, and it appears the fourth-year, $2.5 million assistant came up with an effective personnel rotation using true freshman safety Maurice Hampton.
Hampton was named SEC Freshman of the Week in his first career start against Arkansas, when he recorded six tackles in place of the injured Grant Delpit.
Orgeron "thought the guy did tremendous," and Hampton emerged as a tool to help stop the run whenever Texas A&M used blocker-heavy offensive formations.
For LSU, this was The Statement Game.
- Regular starting nickel safety Kary Vincent started the game for LSU, and he remained on the field whenever the Aggies were in formations that had more threats to pass the ball. On first-and-5 on Texas A&M's first drive of the game (pictured right), the Aggies lined up in what is called "11" personnel, a formation that uses one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond throws an incomplete pass, then runs a speed option to the right out of the same personnel package for a 14-yard gain. Vincent makes the tackle on the sideline and runs back toward the middle of the field.
- While Vincent runs back into position, Texas A&M makes its first offensive substitution. Out goes a wide receiver, and in comes an extra tight end. Now Texas A&M is using what's called "12" personnel (pictured right), which has one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers. Texas A&M tight ends Jalen Wydermeyer (85) and Ryan Renick (46) both line up on the right side of the ball, and there's a safe bet that the Aggies are going to try and run the ball here. Delpit taps Vincent, and off he sprints to the sideline, and Hampton subs in. Sure enough, Texas A&M runs the ball, and running back Isaiah Spiller rushes for two yards before he's tackled by nose tackle Tyler Shelvin.
- On the very next play, Renick rushes off the field, and Texas A&M goes to an empty set with five wide receivers. In subs Vincent for Hampton, and the Tigers force consecutive incomplete passes that lead to an Aggie punt. "When A&M goes '11' personnel, they like passing the ball and spreading the ball out," LSU safety JaCoby Stevens said. "So Kary's one of our better cover guys, so we wanted to put him in for that personnel."
- Vincent helped limit Mond to 10-of-30 passing for 92 yards and three interceptions. Vincent's third-quarter pick came against Texas A&M's "10" personnel (pictured right), another pass-happy package that uses one running back and four wide receivers. The interception was Vincent's third of the season, which ties him for 43rd nationally.
This one ended in regulation.
- The Vincent-Hampton rotation was busy on Texas A&M's second drive of the game. The Aggies started with "11" personnel, and after Mond rushed for five yards to create a second-and-5 at the Texas A&M 43, the Aggies switched to the I-formation (pictured right). Out went Vincent, in came Hampton, and the freshman cut down Spiller for a three-yard gain that forced a third-and-2. The Aggies stuck with "12" personnel, so Hampton stayed in, and he tackled Mond on a five-yard rush up the middle that picked up the first down.
- The rotation started to pick up after every other play. Texas A&M switched to passing personnel, in came Vincent, and after Mond threw an incomplete pass, Hampton subbed back in when the Aggies went "12" personnel on second-and-10. Mond was forced inside on a speed option, gained just two yards, and the Aggies went back to "11" personnel on third-and-8. Guess what? In came Vincent (pictured right). Mond was sacked by Marcel Brooks and K'Lavon Chaisson and Texas A&M punted.
- Predictable? Maybe. If the Texas A&M coaching staff picked it up. Even so, when the Aggies tried to run the ball out of its "11" personnel on its fourth drive of the game, nose tackle "Apu" Ika and Chaisson stuffed Spiller for a two-yard gain. And when the Aggies tried to pass out of its "12" personnel on its fifth drive of the game, the short flat to Renick for two yards wasn't enough to do proper damage, and Texas A&M went three-and-out on the drive.
- Is this something tailored specifically for the Texas A&M game plan? Time will tell. But the LSU secondary now has another tool to use in Hampton, a useful thing since the position group has taken depth hits with transfers and the season-ending injury to starting free safety Todd Harris. Hampton's run-stopping skills could help with LSU's postseason beginning Saturday in the SEC Championship Game against a Georgia rush offense that ranks 33rd nationally. "Mo has been growing since the beginning of the year," Stevens said. "He's a freshman and he's been growing. He's been getting better... He's gonna be a good player."
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