Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

It’s similarly tricky trying to answer which came first in the revitalization of the LSU run game — Matt Canada’s play-calling or the blocking?

Did Canada get a better grasp of which plays best suit his ball carriers and linemen, thereby making the execution easier? Or did the offensive line raise its game to a level that made Canada’s play calls more successful?

Well, it was probably a mixture of the two that helped the Tigers rush for 216 yards in a 17-16 victory against No. 21 Florida on Saturday in The Swamp.

It was their most rushing yards in their last four games and came against the staunchest defense they have faced.

LSU’s beleaguered and beat-up offensive line struggled as the team lost two of three games before Saturday. After rushing for 296 yards in a season-opening win against BYU and 222 a week later in a victory against Chattanooga, the line, the offense and the team ran into trouble that was reflected in the run game.

The Tigers rushed for 133 yards in a 37-7 loss at Mississippi State, 151 in a victory against Syracuse and 162 in a loss to Troy.

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There were a lot of factors in the decreased production, such as playing from behind and needing to pass more, as well as injuries on the line and to running back Derrius Guice.

The line was already experiencing growing pains with an inexperienced group before right tackle Toby Weathersby missed the game against Troy because of an injury.

In Weathersby’s absence, freshman Saahdiq Charles lined up alongside fellow freshman Ed Ingram, who has been the starting right guard all season.

The youthful right side of the line prompted head coach Ed Orgeron to step in and have Canada ditch his signature pre-snap motion and shifts to simplify the blocking for the freshmen. After a scoreless first half against Troy, Canada went back to the shifting and the Tigers managed three second-half touchdowns but could never catch up.

Though a knee injury to left tackle K.J. Malone led to a third freshman (Austin Deculus) moving into the lineup and a fourth (Lloyd Cushenberry) being thrust in for one play,  the line had stretches of blocking, especially in the first half, that were superior to what the group had shown during the three-game struggles.

The improvement in the running game came even though Guice averaged just 2.9 yards on 17 carries. The lift came in the early going thanks in large part to success utilizing receivers on jet sweeps.

Russell Gage ran six times for 54 yards and a touchdown, D.J. Chark had three carries for 54 yards and Derrick Dillon had a 30-yard run as the receivers combined to gain nearly 50 percent of the rushing yards.

Canada used the shifting throughout, and the Tigers executed the jet sweeps with far greater efficiency.

“We got beat in all the shifts and motions,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said.

Ultimately the run game’s success is going to hinge on a combination of factors such as the ones that meshed during scoring drives of 86, 75 and 54 yards against Florida.

That means efficient blocking that gives Canada the confidence to mix together runs involving multiple receivers as well as Guice and fellow running back Darrel Williams.

“If we get those jets going, those outside ends got to rush more up the field, which can bring more opportunity,” LSU tight end Foster Moreau told NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune. “We can bring power right behind it, or counter right behind it and beat them whichever way they want us to give it to them.”

LSU showed glimpses in the first two games of what Canada’s offense is meant to be before struggling for three weeks. On Saturday the glimpses returned.

Next up is No. 12 Auburn, which allows 25 fewer rushing yards per game than Florida does.