In between preparations for their upcoming game against Troy, defensive linemen Christian LaCouture and Greg Gilmore casually glanced at the television in their room at the on-campus Cook Hotel.
Florida was playing Vanderbilt in Saturday’s early game.
“We had some time during the day to watch them in the room,” LaCouture said. “Greg is my roommate. We put it on and watched them. It’s run, run, run, run.”
LSU is well aware of the Gators’ game plan when the teams meet in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday: They’re going to pound the ball.
That’s something the Tigers have sporadically defended this season. They’ve held three opponents to less than 80 yards rushing. The other two, Mississippi State and Troy, each have eclipsed the 200-yard mark.
LSU has been vulnerable to the inside and outside run. The Bulldogs averaged more than 9 yards a carry outside the tackles. The Trojans – a Sun Belt Conference program – averaged more than 6 yards between the tackles. Coach Ed Orgeron admitted afterward that Troy won at the line of scrimmage, beating LSU, he said, “at the point of attack.”
It’s time to get back on track, time to mature and time to start winning.
The Tigers now face a stiffer rushing attack running behind a sturdy offensive line, a unit that includes left tackle Martez Ivey, the No. 1-ranked offensive tackle in the class of 2015. The goal is “knockbacks,” LaCouture said.
What’s a knockback? The term is used to describe a defensive lineman knocking back an offensive lineman into the backfield to disrupt a running play.
It happened against Troy, but not enough.
“Got to get knockbacks,” LaCouture said. “Got to strike the blockers, make sure everybody’s in your gaps and communicating properly.”
Florida has three running backs with at least 24 carries this season, though none have more than 45: freshman Malik Davis (43 attempts, 319 yards), sophomore Lamical Perine (38-148) and redshirt senior Mark Thompson (24-81).
The Gators also like to use freshman Kodarius Toney in a Wildcat formation. He’s averaging 11 yards a carry this year on six runs.
The point: Florida likes to pound the ball.
“We’ve got to stop the run first and try to make them one-dimensional. I think they’re a run-first football team,” LaCouture said. “We have to make sure we get knockbacks (as) a defensive line and everybody fills their gaps properly.”
LSU football is a program in crisis. And the claustrophobic, unfolding horror of it is there…