The purple and gold of LSU should be replaced with some version of black and blue, considering how beat up this team is -- physically and perhaps emotionally as well. The offensive line is the most significantly "wounded" bunch and the news of Alex Hurst being "injured" going into this game is a potential nightmare.
As such, the Tigers' swagger is at its lowest point since the loss in the BCS national championship game to Alabama. With South Carolina, it's a complete 180. The Gamecocks are as hot as any team in the nation, coming off of a 35-7 dismantling of SEC East foe Georgia in Columbia.
1. Keep #7 on the move, find advantageous matchup along the OL and let DE Jadeveon Clowney exploit it.
2. Don't let patchwork OL breathe. Run blitz all day, constantly frustrate blocking schemes.
3. Wrap up the LSU power backs, do not let the Tigers pick up first downs with poor technique.
4. Stay balanced with the game plan. USC is at its best when nearly 50/50 run/pass.
5. Let QB Connor Shaw make the decisions - he's proven he can not only manage, but excel.
1. DE Jadeveon Clowney - Trust me.
2. RT Brandon Shell - Has a ton of talent, but has struggled. He could have major trouble with LSU DE Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo.
3. WR/PR Ace Sanders - When he has the ball in space, he's a nightmare for opponents.
1. Power of prayer.
2. Find Clowney and do not let him run roughshod, max protect - keep LSU QB Zach Mettenberger upright.
3. Take some deep shots early on the USC secondary, get safeties out of the box.
4. Stem the front, move into alignment late - disrupt pre-snap blocking scheme reads.
5. With front seven, "eliminate"the run game and make USC offense one-dimensional.
1. LSU OL - There's no telling what five guys will start and where - huge story in this game.
2. S Craig Loston and Eric Reid - Must assist against the run, but USC loves seam routes too.
3. P Brad Wing - With his hang time, he can shut down Sanders in the punt return game on his own.
Beating the Tigers in Baton Rouge is like trying to drive with kids in the back of the car - a complete and total nightmare. But this Tigers squad is badly wounded, maybe more so psychologically than physically. I get the sense that LSU will relish being overlooked and the underdog at home.
That said, mental frame of mind isn't going to help them block Clowney on the edge. The problem is that if it's not Clowney totally and completely disrupting the LSU offense, it's Chaz Sutton or Devin Taylor or Kelcy Quarles or Byron Jerideau. When LSU looks at the USC DL out on the field, it'll be seeing what LSU was last year.
With LSU's two starting tackles more than likely out of this one, LSU has to run the ball to shorten this game and hope that South Carolina has a major letdown tackling after a stellar week last week. That won't happen. Shaw will have another solid game as the now unquestioned leader of this team and RB Marcus Lattimore will run for 90+ yards and a pair of touchdowns in an impressive USC road win.
South Carolina - 26 vs. LSU - 13