SEC Network analysts break down LSU vs Alabama strengths
Week 9 of the 2018 college football season is in the books, and for SEC fans, that means one step closer to the huge matchup next Saturday night between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 LSU in Death Valley.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) has looked to be an unstoppable force behind sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, while LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) has surprised many with the play of quarterback Joe Burrow and one of the top defenses in the country. That same defense held Georgia to 16 points in Week 8 during a 36-16 rout of the Bulldogs.
Both teams were on a bye week this past Saturday, just upping the anticipation for Saturday night’s game. It has been the talk of most college football media outlets, particularly the SEC Network. Analysts Gene Chizik and Chris Doering gave their thoughts on what to expect from this game in terms of Alabama’s strength against LSU’s strength.
For LSU, it is the second and third levels of Dave Aranda’s defense.
“LSU has got first-rounders in the secondary, they got first-rounders at linebacker” said Chizik, “They’re physical, they’re fast, they can cover a lot of ground.”
To back up his point, Chizik showed film of LSU safety Grant Delpit in the game against Ole Miss, highlighting his ability to cover 45 yards or more quickly to close down on a receiver and make a play on the ball thrown by the opposing quarterback.
Chizik continued, praising LSU linebacker Devin White, who will not be playing the first half on Saturday due to a controversial targeting call in the second half of the Mississippi State game.
“He is violent, he is fast, and the ground that he covers in the open field for a 250 pound linebacker is unbelievable” said Chizik.
White’s presence will be missed against an Alabama offense that has averaged 39 points per game in the first half alone this season, as Chris Doering points out. LSU’s secondary will need an even bigger game than usual to cover the speedy Alabama receivers that have been a huge reason for Tua Tagovailoa’s success this season.
“This game could be over by the time Devin White gets in” said Doering.
LSU will look to stay in the game until their star linebacker is eligible to reenter the lineup after halftime, but slowing down the Mike Locksley-led offense has been something no one on the Crimson Tide’s schedule has been able to do, particularly early on. Alabama has scored on every opening drive on offense this season.
However, this will be the best defense Alabama has faced all year by a large margin, LSU has managed to hold opposing teams to just over 15 points per game.
The Tide and Tigers kick off at 7:30pm ET Saturday night, in Baton Rouge.