LSU Versus Alabama Film Study -- The Tigers Earn Five Tough Yards on the First Play

Ware wore down the Tide with jabbing runs.
Photo via Uni Watch
This piece is a part of the "LSU Versus Alabama Film Study." To read the opening piece on the ultimate reason why Alabama lost to LSU, click here. Here is Part I & Part II of Alabama's first offensive drive. Today we check in on the LSU offense. 

I would like to first off wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I always love celebrating the birth of my risen savior. But I would like to issue an apology for not posting for over a week now. I had a feeling this would happen.

I have been home with my family in El Dorado, Ark. for the Christmas holidays. During Christmas, I am a volunteer for the Salvation Army. There is not a more rewarding experience than spending time working for them. Plus time with my family is valuable and watching people my age playing football on replay isn't as important as being around my bloodline.

But on top of that, I had to emcee and manage a rock concert put on by "The Swoops" two days before Christmas. Two of the three members are childhood friends and the other is a friend I've made since I've been in college (Yes ladies, all three guys and the sexy emcee/manager is single). It was a rush to be on stage with a damn strong band. 

But now let's get down to business.

Tiger fans were raving about the performance from LSU running back Michael Ford. He rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries while starter Spencer Ware rushed for only 29 yards on 16 carries. 

While the numbers and highlights show Ford had a better game, Ware was just as important. Despite his smaller stature, Ware punishes wimpy tacklers that stand in front of him. 

The comparison between the two can be compared to a boxer's punches. Ware's runs served jab punches to the Alabama defense while Ford connected on flashy hook punches. Like the final devastating left hook thrown from a championship boxer, Ford's run in overtime was the most highlighted offensive success replayed from this game. Most of Ford's yards came from brilliant execution on option plays. While Ford did a nice job, his yards were more of a byproduct of the play instead of impressive individual runs. 

Ware's case is the exact opposite. The three-man front of Alabama abused the LSU offensive line at crucial moments in this game. But Spencer broke and pushed back numerous tacklers for tough yardage. We will see it here on this play...


LSU versus Alabama Film Study -- The Rest of the First Drive for the Crimson Tide

This is another installment of my film study in preparation for the Alabama versus LSU rematch. Check out Part I & Part II for more coverage.

Play #2 
AJ McCarron pass completed to Trent Richardson (TR3) for 22 yards

This was one of many plays where LSU left TR3 unaccounted for in the passing game. LSU brought Stefoin Francois on a blitz from the outside and AJ intelligently threw to his best player into space Francois vacated. 

It was a blown assignment for the Tigers. If I were to guess, it would seem TR3's responsibilities should be on linebacker Kevin Minter. TR3 was able to turn it up field and then got in a moster collision with LSU safety Eric Reid. Reid ending up having one of the most important defensive performances in LSU history in this game. 

Safety Brandon Taylor stressed the night of the BCS bowl revealings that they must account for TR3 on every play in the title game.  

Play #3
TR3 tackled for loss by numerous Tigers for -5 yards. 


LSU versus Alabama Film Study -- Crimson Tide Wins the Opening Play

Montgomery is a key asset to LSU's defense.
Photo via LSU Sports
The LSU defense had one of the gutsiest performances in the history of Tiger football on November 5th. They held a potent Alabama offense to only six points on the road, but the performance wasn't the prettiest.

If SEC games are won in the trenches, as everyone would say, then LSU lost this game. After re-watching this game, Alabama won the battle at the line of scrimmage roughly 75 percent of the time. As you look at some of the plays I will break down in the next few weeks, you will see what I'm talking about. 

But as I pointed out in my last column, the Tigers played some of the best "bend but don't break" defense I have ever seen. Defenses are judged on making plays and stops when you need to the most. The Bayou Bengals were nearly perfect in that aspect.   

In the first drive versus Alabama, the Crimson Tide racked up early yardage but was torn apart at the seams by their kicker Kade Foster. Let's run through the first play of the drive...

Play #1
Trent Richardson runs for 18 yards

This play is textbook Alabama offense over the past couple of years. Offensive coordinator Jim McElwain creates a blocking numbers and matchup advantage, the blocking is in turn perfect and Richardson makes a safety miss for extra yardage.   

Let's first state the obvious. TR3 is so damn good. Every player on LSU knows it. They even Tweet about it. But when the Tigers played fundamental football, they defended him better. On this first snap of the game, this is evident. Let's break down the tape...


LSU Versus Alabama Film Study -- The Ultimate Stat and Reason Why the Tigers Defeated the Crimson Tide in November

Photo via Wikipedia
LSU versus Alabama played one of the most physical games one could possibly ever witness. The game was a definition of a heavyweight bought at the college level. The Tigers were victorious 9-6 on the fifth of November. 

No matter where you stand on the rematch argument, it is an honor for college football and defensive enthusiasts, such as me, to see these two battle again for all the marbles. Over the past three days, I've re-watched the game. Some of the plays I watched up to 15 times. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting videos, notes and game photos from plays that really stood out to me.

But it is without reasonable doubt Alabama failing to execute on offense when they needed to the most was the main reason they lost to LSU.  

Usually when referring to two elite football teams, college football fans and pundits always say the team that wins "the battle in the trenches" will win the game. For this game, this was not the case. Alabama's offensive and defensive lines played better than LSU's. The tape didn't lie. 

When I evaluate offense, I usually look for "my guys are better than yours" type of plays. These are plays easily identifiable by defenses but are successful because the offense out-executes their opponents. The Crimson Tide outplayed the Tigers on these kind of plays for a majority of the game. 

The problem occurred with the Alabama coaching staff. They tried to get to cute when they got into LSU territory. This next stat is the ultimate reason why Alabama lost.

Tyrann Mathieu's Final Heisman Run to New York

Carter "The Power" Bryant Saturday, December 10, 2011 , , , , , ,
Tyrann Mathieu had one of the most thrilling Heisman campaign pushes in the history of college football. If you don't believe me, just take a quick look below.

"The Honey Badger" started the season as the most explosive defensive player in college football. He was then "witheld from play" against Auburn and had a quiet five game stretch. But he then ended the season with a bang.

Mathieu scored two touchdowns on punt returns in as many games. Arkansas and Georgia couldn't stop "The Honey Badger." He nearly scored on a spectacular third, but was shoestringed tackled in the Georgia red zone.

I remember a few weeks ago when I spoke to Mathieu before the Arkansas game. He looked frustrated. Playmakers can get that way when they haven't been making big plays.

I asked him about his struggles versus the Razorbacks the year before. He was burned by Joe Adams on a fourth and three play that sealed the victory for the Hogs. I thought "The Honey Badger" was going to treat me like a cobra.

Instead he gave me a stare I will never forget. 


LSU Chaplain Ken Ellis Provides Spiritual Comfort to LSU Football

Carter "The Power" Bryant Wednesday, December 7, 2011 , , , , ,
Meet the Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer who mentors LSU players for free.

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