Scouting LSU: Tigers to validate offensive gains

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LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson scores Saturday vs. Ole Miss at Tiger Stadiium. (Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. — First-year LSU quarterback Joe Burrow repeated the term “breakout game” on Monday as he referred to the most recent showing of the Tigers’ passing offense.

The implication is that going forward, there’s a new, higher standard of production for Burrow and Co. — a premise that will be tested Saturday in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s defense is not Mississippi’s defense.

And a hostile Swamp will be considerably more disruptive to No. 5 LSU — particularly in terms of offensive communication — than Tiger Stadium was last weekend against the Rebels.

“The strength of their team is their defense.” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said of the 22nd-ranked Gators. “This is going to be the best defense we’ve faced so far this year.”

With 573 yards of offense against Ole Miss , highlighted by the best passing performance yet from Burrow, LSU’s offense finally looks dialed in. The question is whether such a performance against the reeling Rebels’ defense carries over against different teams in different venues.

Ole Miss gave up 62 points to Alabama before losing 45-16 at LSU. The Rebels rank 126th nationally in total defense, allowing 516 yards per game. By contrast, the Gators have allowed the ninth fewest points in the country at 14 per game, are tied with Kansas for most takeaways in the country with 14 and have allowed touchdowns on only 25 percent of opposing offense’s trips inside their 20-yard line.

Nonetheless, Burrow asserted that the play-making he and LSU receivers put on display against Ole Miss bodes well for the rest of the season.

“I knew that we had this game in us because we’re so talented and I’d seen it all summer and all camp, but we hadn’t really done it in a game,” Burrow said. “That’s because we were kind of feeling each other out chemistry-wise, up front, receivers, me, (offensive coordinator Steve) Ensminger. And when you have a game like that, it really boosts your confidence going forward.”

Burrow began the season with a more conservative approach and still has not thrown an interception while helping the Tigers race to a 5-0 start. For the season, LSU still ranks 78th nationally in total offense (396.6 yards per game), in part because of relatively modest passing production in the first four games.

But against Ole Miss, Burrow completed 72 percent of his passes (18 of 25) for 292 yards and three TDs, hitting nine different receivers in the process.

“The passing game that you saw against Ole Miss is the one I expected all year. I totally believe in coach Ensimger’s ability to get people open and call plays,” Orgeron said. “I believe we have a great set of receivers. We finally got our receivers in the right spot.”

Justin Jefferson had the best day among the receivers, with 99 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard touchdown on a crossing route with much of the yardage coming after the catch. Freshman Ja’Marr Chase made a difficult, twisting catch along the sideline for a 21-yard touchdown, fellow freshman Terrace Marshall had a 52-yard catch and junior Stephen Sullivan caught five passes for 50 yards. Even seldom-used sophomore Racey McMath got in the act, making the first two catches of his career for 42 yards.

“Those guys are coming alive, so we have more guys we can give the ball to,” Orgeron said.

LSU rushed for 281 yards against the Rebels with eight different players, including Burrow, carrying the ball. But LSU already had run well from the start of the season, led by Nick Brossette’s 409 yards and five TDs.

Like Burrow, Brossette expected to eventually see LSU exhibit more balance, based on the potential he’d seen at practice.

“It’s just a matter of getting it down and communicating with each other and getting comfortable with it,” Brossette said. “We’re improving each and every week.”

39 COMMENTS

  1. Gotta love the confidence Burrow is drawing from a blowout win against Ole Miss. “I knew we had this game in us because we’re so talented”. “That’s the passing game I expected all year”. I wonder if he even realizes Colorado State has a higher ranked defense than Ole Miss. Hilarious! He’s in for a rude awakening when he faces the Gator defense, that’s for sure.

    • LSU is actually not that great of a rushing offense. MSU is a far better rushing team being ranked #28 to LSU’s #52. Fitzgerald is even a better runner than Burrow and the Gators managed to shut him down. LSU actually isn’t ranked much higher in total offense than the Gators. They’re at 78 while the Gators are at 92. LSU really isn’t as good as their record and ranking are making them out to be, they’re just finding ways to win. It’s only a matter of time before an Ed Orgeron coached team shows its true colors. Hopefully it happens this weekend.

      • The statistic are meaningless. LSU has beaten two teams ranked in the top ten when they played them. MSU has played one top twenty five team and lost to them. MSU looked great against weak opponents. LSU has beaten Auburn and Miami , MSU has beaten Stephen Austin and Kansas ST. It is not hard to put up statistics when you play weak teams.

        • Miami was way over ranked when they played LSU and still are, they are the poster boys of putting up stats against weak teams. So LSU beat Auburn on the road that is a good win for them, comparable to us beating MSU on the road. That’s about it.

          • CO. Did you watch Miami play last week with their new QB at the helm? I am guessing not. Miami has an excellent overall team with a lot of depth as well. They just needed a dynamic QB, which they appear to have now. They did not have that vs. LSU and LSU took advantage o that. And I would not put Franks in the dynamic category yet either. They are going to pressure Franks and then pressure him a bunch more with t’s heir extremely quick and strong defense, as they did Rozier with Miami. Franks response to that will be a key to watch during the game, and Mullen’s game plan to counter it. The good thing is Mullen has had multiple past opportunities to prepare for LSU’s attacking and fast defense, with some success. And going into Auburn’s house and beating Auburn is big for any team. And Auburn beat Washington, one of the top teams in the country. And going into Starkville and playing is not comparable on the same level as going into Auburn. You ever been to Auburn for a game? I have. It is very hard to win there. Ask Nick Saban. Or Mullen for that matter.

        • George, LSU has played some pretty bad teams to pad their stats too and still are still well below MSU. CO that’s exactly right! Just because a team was ranked when they played doesn’t mean that’s who they are, especially Miami who needed to make a QB change cause they were struggling so bad. They aren’t the same Miami from last season. Auburn’s not nearly the same team they were either and they still only won by 1. People look at those games as if they’re dominant teams they beat when they’re not. 2 weeks ago LSU was only up 3 on Louisiana Tech at home with 8 mins left in the 4th qtr before LT ran out of gas. That’s what you need to be looking at instead of final scores against bad teams. I believe we’re going to win, I’m certainly not guaranteeing it, but LSU is not the dominant team everyone is making them out to be.

        • Well stated George. LSU has shown that they have a much better offense this year and Burrow’s a smart and talented qb– which is what they’ve been missing. I can’t imagine why Joe would think LSU’s running game is lacking, with a strong O-line and Brosette at rb. Not saying the Gator D won’t shut him down. Our defense should be up for the challenge, but LSU has a decent running game, a smart qb, and a stable of talented receivers. Definitely the best offense the Gators will have faced this season.

        • George73- Just what Ive been trying to get people on here to understand. If you dont look at where the numbers come from they are meaningless. from others comments you cant fix stupid, you told them but they dont want to hear so they make illogical responses. MSU beat nobody and lost to an average UK. LSU beat Auburn who is elite! and scored over 30 points on their easy bakes. Also LA Tech is a very good team that just beat undefeated N.Texas, another game I made money on that was upside down. I think LSU underestimated them and got caught looking. I hope that is what they are going to do to us.

          • So UK is average, Auburn elite and LA Tech very good.
            And you say about some posters that you cannot fix stupid, some may say the above assertion is stupid indeed. I will agree to disagree with you without calling you names. The team you call average may be the best team of those 3

      • Joe. The LSU defense is lights out good. They are big, they are fast, they are quick, and they are strong. Ole Miss has an excellent offense with great receivers, an outstanding running back, and a very good QB. They could hardly complete a pass and we not able to run the ball vs. LSU. The Gators offense is going to be severely challenged by the LSU defense. And Joe Burrow is a very good QB. They do not have great running backs, but they run hard and rarely get tackled for a loss. And their wide receiver group is very good, especially Chase who decommitted from Florida and signed with LSU in the last recruiting class after McElwain was fired. He is a future star at WR. He can really go up and get the ball, and he is also fast. This game is going to be a big time challenge for Florida. Just glad the game is going to take place in The Swamp when Tebow is being honored. The Florida plays and the fans in the stands are going to be jacked up for this one.

        • Yo Tampa you take on Miami is wrong. The only real team they have played so far waxed them
          You can’t tell if their new QB is dynamic just because he had a good game against an ACC bottom dweller. Franks would have looked dynamic against weak arse NC as well. Miami is over ranked and will continue to be since until they play either BC or VaTech or unless they fall to FSU, not that any of those 3 teams are anything special

      • tuna. I never expressed that view leading up to the MSU game. What I posted was that Florida would have to limit the MSU running game and avoid explosive plays to win the game in Starkville, and that is exactly what Florida did during the game, except for the one would be long TD pass that was dropped by the MSU receiver that changed the total momentum of the game in Florida’s favor. To beat LSU, Florida will have to effectively run the ball on first and second downs (or do the same with quick, short passes) to keep pressure off Franks by not having a lot of 3rd and longs, as hit a couple of explosive TD plays on offense, defense, or on special teams. Florida’s front seven will also have to play their best game of the year and put a lot of pressure on and confuse Joe Burrow by disguising defensive formations and blitzes (he reads and adjust to defensive sets and what defenses are doing very well) and not allow him to stand in the pocket or break out of it for long runs.

  2. Vegas doesn’t think the same way as some of the posters on this board. We will need our best game of the year whether LSU is overrated or not. By the end of the season, a win at MSU will not be worth the same as a win at Auburn. Lower the expectations and be optimistic.

    • Vegas has the game at LSU(-3.5) right now. To me that says they don’t have much confidence in a team that’s ranked 17 spots higher. Seems like they feel the same way a lot of posters do, that LSU is overrated.

      • YOU dont understand “vegas”. They set the line based on what PEOPLE are betting! All it shows is a bunch of Gator fans have unrealistic expectations, like I keep reading on these boards and are betting for UF in nearly the same numbers as LSU fans. It means nothing and anyone who tries to use the line as proof of something is showing their ignorance! The purpose of the line is to encourage equal number of bettors on each side. They raise and lower it to achieve that goal by luring people to bet on the underdog, so they lose nothing. So again the Line just shows you how many people, percent wise are betting on each side! It not what Vegas “thinks” at all! Its what bettors “think”! Who are 50% or better WRONG everytime!

      • I have a “clue” because I know how to watch a football team play, as to how good they are and know how to analyse their records. MSU isnt anywhere near the same class as Auburn. The LSU-Auburn game was a slugfest of 2 very good teams that ended by 1 point difference!

    • Dave. Auburn struggled against Southern Mississippi last week at home. Auburn is challenged offensively right now, and they have a team chemistry issue going on with multiple players quitting the team already this year. LSU win at Auburn might not be so big a deal when the season ends as well. But saying that, I think LSU is a very good football team and is getting better each week. They are really strong on defense, and the Gators are not on offense. But LSU is as strong or stronger on defense compared to Florida. I really think, on paper so far, LSU is a better team overall. But playing in The Swamp may bring all that more down to equal. Fingers crossed for a Florida upset of the Bayou Tigers. I will be there with my buddies in The Swamp and yelling my head off for the Gators, and when Tebow is being honored. Been looking forward to this game for a while now.

  3. A win against LSU Sunday will not prove that we are all the way back, but it will validate that with most of the same personnel from last year, Mullen has done three things that Knucklewein and No Offense Nussmeier, could’t do: 1) Put an offense on the field that is better in moving the ball; 2) make 2nd half adjustments; and 3) win games. I’m going to be at the game (first time in 15 years) and am hoping for a big win! Go Gators!

    • I don’t think anyone actually feels this team will be all the way back no matter who they beat, including UGA, cause any team can be beat by anyone at any time. This team is just a few injuries away from being really bad again. No matter what it’s going to take at least 2 years of great recruiting to have the depth to be able to classify them as all the way back. I for one just want to see a team that gives it their all and doesn’t roll over the moment they face adversity for the remaining games on their schedule. If they beat a few teams they shouldn’t along the way, then that’ll just be a bonus. Beat FSU, no matter how bad they are, and that’ll be the cherry on top. At this point it’s all about impressing recruits and showing them they have something to look forward to being a part of.

  4. Hmmm, the Tigers 76th ranked offense against our 20th ranked defense. It sounds a little lopsided.
    Look for the Gators to declaw and defang the Tiger Offense. Burrows will become very uncomfortable in the pocket very quickly in the Swamp. Blitz packages will make him dizzy. DBU will play their best game and look for an INT or two. Our special teams are the best, there’s no contest there. This is the Olines breakout game,
    look for Scarlett, Perrine and Pierce to go over 150 yards in rushing. A trick play or two won’t hurt either.
    Gators 27- 21.

  5. No one is more surprised at the success of Ed orgeron than me. No one! So I can’t mouth off too much. All I can say is, in honor of bob hewko, the snake, a preview of tebow footballwise, gator QBs watch your knees. LSU is a nasty bunch. Ain’t nothing changed. They look nicer but don’t be fooled. They are a real SEC team not these other tv contract whatever’s. It ain’t gonna be fun for either team. That s what the conference is built on. If Franks doesn’t get hurt I have us winning. But they will be coming for him. He turned them down and they don’t like that.

  6. You are fooling yourselves if you think LSU is not a very good team. They always run the ball well. They have talent at a lot of places on their offense. I don’t care what the stats say. Our team right now is playing beyond the stats too. I think we will win, though. It just seems like everything we have been through so far has prepared us for this game. Getting out toughed by Kentucky, a team we have beaten for 3 decades ; playing fast in front of 100,000 on the road against a team we all hate–Tenn; then going back to a Wagon Train episode and playing Coach Mullen’s old team on the road in front of 70,000 cow bells and 5,000 tons of cow manure. Now we are at home and are a different team than we were before we left. Gators 30-16. Lots of field goals in this game.

  7. Tampa Gator sounds like a closet lswho fan with all of the bouquets he’s tossing their way. Geeez…anyway lswho is NOT that good. I fully expect the Gators to come away with a victory and put these dudes back on the plane with their tigah tails wagging in the wind. Then they can concentrate on Georgia, who they have their eyes on instead of Florida. Jamar Chase is gonna get the Joey Kent treatment from Stiner and Stewart should he be brave enough to come across the middle. Let’s turn Burrow into Jarret ‘Pick 6’ Lee on Saturday! Gators win this one by 10+ points! GO GATORS!!

    • But they’re not that bad either, BRGator…….not stacked top to bottom with talent, no…….some quality talent on the team, yes……and they’ve earned their ranking thus far via an inspirational coach who has buy in and seems to be getting the best out of his players. But I feel confident that we will beat them despite the odds, based on character and ability to adjust to their strengths and take advantage of their liabilities. That’s where we have trended to this season, now that we have found the will to win. I’m with you…..GO GATORS!

    • BR LSU is the best talent we’ve faced to date. Tampa is stating fact. They are good maybe not as good as billed but that will be determined this weekend. Some are saying were going to lose. I’m not saying that but we will have to play lights out in all phases. We can win this just have to pay great game. If we play a complete game we can win.

    • Baton Rouge- You are delusional and tampa gator is being real and truthful. If you really think what you wrote you dont have a clue how to analyse football! it would be the biggest upset of the year for us to win. It would be nice though! If gator fans werent so delusional about this game the gators would be 12 point underdogs! The only way i see for us to win is if our defense and S.T. scores 3 times!

  8. It’s off the mark to denigrate this LSU team. If our Gators were unbeaten and ranked fifth nationally we would be ecstatic and full of swagger. I believe at home and sending our defense up against a banged up Tiger offensive line will contribute to a Gator win. Make no mistake, though: LSU has a very competitive team and a Florida victory can resonate nationally. One significant edge for us is our head coach’s demonstrated ability to strategize and get the most out of his team’s strengths.

    Burrow is likely still figuring out the LSU offense and is starting games for the first time. He’s improved every week. Our guys are going to need a big game from Jachai Polite, Jabari Zuniga, Adam Shuler, David Reese and our secondary to frustrate Burrow. And our offense needs to run effectively, hit a couple of deep balls and protect the ball. Florida, 24-17.

  9. “This is going to be the best defense we’ve faced so far this year.” Aint that the truth. They have been scoring an average of 30 points against opponents except a good defense like Auburns they scored 22, so i dont know what their QB is talking about. I guess running over an outmatched team he could finally pass with ease? I think he is delusional if he thinks a buzz saw outing against an overmatched team has ANY effect on the rest of the season. He is going to be sorely disappointed after he plays the gators! I doubt they score more than 20 points.”We finally got our receivers in the right spot” easy to do when your playing an inept defense!
    You know what it sounds like to me after reading LSU’s comments is that they think they are alot better tahan they are and when they hit UF’s defensive buzzsaw they are going to get a surprise. They may be looking past UF, and that would be a mistake but their comments really sound delusional. Whoopie they beat a creme puff,… means NOTHING!

  10. I expect the Gators to keep their focus – gap control, strong coverage and random blitzes on defense, and sustained drives on offense with Franks finally “getting it” (re: take what the opposing defense gives you, check off on your receivers, do not throw into heavy coverage, run when the opposing defense does not expect this etc.). Manage the game, stay true to what you have learned, execute, execute, execute and we may very well end up with a “W” against the 5th ranked LSU Tigers. GO GATORS!!!