Welcome to Film Room, where we'll break down significant portions from LSU's last football game.

(Click to enlarge photos)

LSU 42, Florida 28

How It Happened

Eliminating the pass rush/creating push: LSU entered this game knowing Florida was the best pass rush they'd seen yet this season. The Gators entered the game ranked third nationally with 26 total sacks. By the time Florida left Tiger Stadium Saturday night, they wouldn't record any — something LSU coach Ed Orgeron called "the biggest stat of the night."

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said "that's about as flawless as an offensive line has ever played that I've ever seen." He said he "didn't feel pressure the entire time, let alone the sacks. I made a couple bad protection calls which might have been the only reason I'd been pressured tonight."

So how did LSU bottle up the Florida pass rush? 

  • LSU knew Florida hadn't blitzed often in 2019. In fact, the Gators only appeared to blitz on five pass plays the entire game. But based on Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's reputation, LSU installed some pass protections just in case. That came in handy on the first drive of the game. Florida blitzed safety Trey Dean, and Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire hung back in pass protection and picked him up, which allowed Joe Burrow time to deliver an easy a throw, a 23-yard completion to Justin Jefferson on the far sideline. The play (pictured below) almost appears to be an RPO. Left tackle Saahdiq Charles and left guard Adrian Magee double teamed Florida pass rusher Jon Greenard, and they get dangerously close to the three-yard downfield threshold before Burrow delivers his pass. There was no run fake, but sometimes RPOs can have pre-snap reads. "As a running back," Edwards-Helaire said, "I read my keys, stay in when I need to stay in and check down when I need to."
LSU-Florida: Moss FB

ESPN

  • Burrow said that it seemed like Florida "was really concerned with our RPOs tonight, and whatever they did, we made them wrong." The run-pass option seemed to keep Florida's front in hesitation, and it aided the LSU offensive line in getting a substantial push in the run game. It appears the Tigers went RPO again on the first play of its second drive. On first-and-10 at the LSU 34 (pictured right), Edwards-Helaire takes a zone-read handoff up the middle for a 57-yard run to the Florida 9. The run set up LSU's first touchdown of the game (an RPO touchdown pass from Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase). It also included a new wrinkle: tight end Thaddeus Moss essentially became a fullback. The H-back, or a fullback/tight end hybrid, is pretty common in the NFL. Moss starts in the backfield, then lead blocks up the middle and picks up a Florida linebacker to create a wide open hole up for Edwards-Helaire. 
  • When passing game coordinator Joe Brady spoke with the media for the first time in June, he said data backs up that if you spread out an offense and just go five-man protection, you'll actually give up fewer sacks. That theory earned another data point at the start of the fourth quarter. On second-and-8 at the LSU 40 (pictured below), Florida actually gets a good rush with its front four, plus a blitzing safety. LSU left tackle Saahdiq Charles shoves Florida defensive end Kyree Campbell inward to pick up the blitzing safety, and Campbell skates free to lay a good lick on Burrow. But Burrow's already releasing a quick slant to Justin Jefferson over the middle, and Jefferson breaks a tackle to reach the Florida 42.
  • A notable caveat: Florida's top pass rusher Jon Greenard exited the game after LSU's second drive, and star defensive end Jabari Zuniga filtered in and out of the game with an injury. Florida's defense still entered the game with seven players who had recorded at least two sacks in 2019.

Creating the pass rush: LSU didn't record a sack in the first half, either.

LSU defensive end Breiden Fehoko said LSU's scheme at first was to play the run more than to pass rush. Orgeron said that plan eventually became a problem because Florida attacked the LSU defense with more first-down passes than they expected.

Indeed, Florida passed on first down the majority of the game (20-of-37), and Gators quarterback Kyle Trask completed 8-of-18 attempts for 125 yards — not an entirely efficient stat line, but with the additional time permitted in a clean pocket, he was still able to complete five passes of over 15 yards.

Part of the issue for LSU was also getting a good jump on the ball. Fehoko said Florida was going on a silent snap count, something the Gators probably imposed due to the raucous sellout crowd at Tiger Stadium.

"Even we couldn't get a clue on what they were going on," Fehoko said.

LSU-Florida: Green team

ESPN

  • LSU leaned on its Green Team package to establish a pass rush on long third downs. If you've hung around these film sessions before, we've broken down the Green Team before. But the package LSU broke out against Florida had a few variations (pictured right). Normally, inside linebacker Patrick Queen is lined up almost right on the center, and he'll blitz one way or the other to create a rush. Here on third-and-11 at the Florida 25 on the Gators' first drive of the game, he's backed up in pass coverage, aiding the other six defensive backs. True freshman safety Marcel Brooks is lined up as the near-side end. The former five-star outside linebacker filled in for K'Lavon Chaisson while the star pass rusher was dealing with an ankle injury, and Orgeron must have like what he saw. Both Brooks and Chaisson were the ends in this package all game. On this play, only the front four rush, and Florida's Trask had a clean pocket and delivered a pass that bounced off the hands of tight end Kyle Pitts, who would end up with five catches for 108 yards. "The quarterback had a little more time to throw the ball," Chaisson said. "We figured out as a D-line the second half: 'We have to change it up. We just gotta get penetration. We have to get to the quarterback.'"
  • LSU began to commit to the first-down pass rush. The Tigers sent six defenders on the first play of the second half, and Trask was still able to complete a well-executed back-shoulder throw to Van Jefferson for 20 yards to the Florida 45. The pass started an 8-play, 76-yard touchdown drive that gave the Gators their only lead of the game, 28-21.
LSU-Florida: Brooks sack

ESPN

  • Then the sack came. On third-and-19 at the Florida 16 (pictured right), the Green Team platoon was deployed. This time, both Brooks and Chaisson twisted from the outside in, and Brooks found a clear path to Trask for the punt-forcing sack. The stop led to Ty Davis-Price's 33-yard touchdown run that set LSU ahead for good 35-28. "I'm just happy for (Brooks)," Chaisson said. "We stayed on him all week. This is a big-time game. The margin of error is very slim, Coach O tells us all the time. We just made sure that he knew all the plays and knew everything that we was running. It was a matter of time that it was gonna come. You can't stop a person with that skillset: speed, his quickness. I'm glad to have him. It came at a critical time and boosted the energy, morale of the team."

LSU vs. Florida on first down

QuarterDriveSpotDown/DistancePlay typeLSU rushPocketResultNote
11UF 261st-and-10Pass4CleanIncomplete 
12UF 201st-and-15Pass4Clean17 yards 
12UF 371st-and-10Run  4 yards 
12LSU 421st-and-10Pass4CleanIncomplete 
12LSU 311st-and-10Run  12 yards 
12LSU 191st-and-10Run  3 yards 
12LSU 91st-and-goalRun  2 yards 
13UF 171st-and-10Pass4Clean23 yards 
13UF 401st-and-10Pass4CleanIncomplete 
24UF 251st-and-10Run  2 yards 
24UF 451st-and-10Pass4Clean7 yards 
24LSU 281st-and-10Run  8 yards 
24LSU 161st-and-10Pass5CleanIncomplete 
24LSU 421st-and-goalRun  3 yards 
25UF 251st-and-10Pass4CleanIncompleteBlitzed Phillips
25UF 441st-and-10Pass6HitIncompletePhillips rushes
25LSU 381st-and-10Run  4 yards 
25LSU 181st-and-10Run  5 yards 
36UF 251st-and-10Pass6Clean20 yards 
36UF 451st-and-10Pass4Clean17 yards 
36LSU 381st-and-10Run  5 yards 
36LSU 211st-and-10Run  11 yards 
36LSU 111st-and-10Run  5 yards 
37UF 251st-and-10Pass4HOLDINGPenalty 
37UF 151st-and-20Run  1 yard 
38UF 251st-and-10Run  2 yards 
49UF 81st-and-10Pass5CleanIncomplete 
49UF 291st-and-10Pass4CleanIncomplete 
49UF 461st-and-10Run  6 yards 
49LSU 351st-and-10Run  10 yards 
49LSU 251st-and-10Run  8 yards 
410UF 251st-and-10Pass5Hurry6 yards 
410UF 371st-and-10Pass4SackChaisson sack 
410UF 491st-and-10Pass4Clean12 yards 
410LSU 391st-and-10Pass4offsides23 yards 
410LSU 161st-and-10Pass4CleanIncomplete 
410LSU 51st-and-goalPassgoal linetrick playIncomplete 

Lagniappe: In special seasons, there always seems to be behind-the-scenes stories when either a coach or a player has a sense of the moment. There was such a story on the final touchdown of the game against Florida, when Burrow threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Ja'Marr Chase. "We wanted to put the game away there," Burrow said.

How'd it happen?

  • Burrow said Florida's defensive backs had been pressing Chase tightly all night in man coverage when he was lined up in the slot. Burrow said LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger drew up a play to use that alignment to their advantage. He sent Chase out in the slot, and placed Edwards-Helaire on the far sideline (pictured right). Sure enough, Florida played Chase tight. Edwards-Helaire ran a route that essentially set a pick for Chase to break free down the sideline. The Florida defensive backs collide, and there is no defender near Chase, who scores easily after Burrow delivered the throw. "It was wide open for a touchdown," Burrow said.

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.