Take a listen LSU: To be a great team line play is crucial
Before the LSU/Alabama game, I made an analysis in this paper that one of the major keys to a Tiger win was the play of the offensive line.
My prediction was that if the O-Line could not protect Joe Burrow and get some semblance of a running game together, it would be a long night.
Well, for those of you who saw the game this past Saturday, that analysis seemed to become a truism, as the big men up front for LSU had probably their worst game of the season.
The Tigers were manhandled on the line of scrimmage all game long, giving up four sacks and rushing for a miserable 25 yards on 12 attempts. Not only did they not protect Burrow, but they were constantly being pushed into the backfield, disrupting any type of offensive timing.
Now, I say this not to brag but to show that no matter how many five star players you have at the skill positions, nothing, and I mean nothing, happens without great offensive line play.
LSU has struggled this season to put together an offensive line that can just dominate games. I will give the Tigers some lead way, as they have been without arguably their best offensive lineman, Ed Ingram, all season long.
And, yes there have been a number of injuries up front. But, at some point in time, if you want to be a top tier football team you must be able to recruit five star guys up front.
See, this is the difference between LSU and the New Orleans Saints. Sean Payton and the powers that be in the New Orleans front office understand that in order to be the best on the offensive side of the ball, you must have guys up front that can get the job done.
Ask yourself this question, is Drew Brees the same Drew Brees he has been since coming to the Saints if he does not have the bodies up front to protect him.
Here are some stats to ponder. LSU ranks 103rd nationally in total offense (out of 129 FBS teams), 103rd in passing offense, 116th in passing efficiency, 94th in third-down conversions and 82nd in scoring offense.
On top of that, Tiger opponents have sacked Burrow 23 times this season, an average of 2.6 sacks per game.
On the flip side, New Orleans ranks second in the league in points scored per game, seventh in yards per game, seventh in passing yards per game and 15th in rushing yards per game.
The Saint offensive line has only surrendered nine sacks all year long, an average of 1.1 per game.
Now you might be saying to that you cannot compare LSU to the Saints. That would be like comparing apples to oranges.
I disagree. My point is that New Orleans has committed themselves to making sure that the offense has the best guys up front to make the machine work. I don’t know if LSU has done that completely over the last couple of years.
I can remember a time when the Tigers were one of the top teams in the country when it came to producing offensive linemen. Players like Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Mawae, Stephen Peterman, Eric Andolsek and most recently La’el Collins and Joseph Barksdale have had an impact in their NFL careers.
But, LSU has had very few offensive linemen drafted over the past few years (only five in the Les Miles era).
Somewhere along the line, the Tigers must be better at getting guys up front that will together become the premier offensive line in the country. Maybe then, and only then, will LSU be able to compete on the national stage year in and year out.
Just my opinion!!!