Co-Host of WWL's "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia," Weekdays 4-8PM
Deke: Tigers offense hitting on all cylinders heading into 'Bama
by Deke Bellavia,posted Nov 1 2011 2:02PM
LSU's offense has gotten better each week this season, and the Tigers are clicking on all cylinders right now. The Purple and Gold offense averages 189 yards rushing and 183 passing yards per outing. In eight games LSU averages 5.6 yards per offensive play, and the Tigers have been solid on third-down conversions, converting 46 percent. But perhaps the best stat for the Tigers offense is ball security: LSU's last turnover was back in mid-September against Mississippi State.
Let's focus in on LSU's corps of running backs. The Tigers are simply loaded at the RB position. Spencer Ware leads LSU with 512 yards and six TD's. Michael Ford has gained 441 yards and scored six TDs, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Alfred Blue gets in on the act with 252 yards and four scores while two true freshmen are off to fast starts for the Tigers as well.
Kenny Hillard averages 5.7 yards per rush and has scored two TDs, while Terrance Magee is averaging 3.4 yards per touch with a TD to his credit this season as well. Bad news for the rest of the country, as all of the LSU running backs are underclassmen.
LSU's wide receivers have greatly benefited from the solid play of quarterback Jarrett Lee. Lee has been quite impressive, with a solid TD-to-interception ratio: The senior QB throw thirteen TDs to only one interception this season.
Reuben Randle paces the Tigers' pass-catchers with thirty-three grabs for 638 yards and seven touchdowns. Randle is a big-time playmaker who can beat defensive backs on the long ball. Currently Reuben averages 19.3 yards per catch.
The Tigers got a huge boost from true freshman Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is as precise of a route runner as you'll see in the conference. Beckham has hauled in twenty-seven receptions this season for 334 yards and two TD's.
Deangelo Peterson is the Tigers' third receiver, earning twelve catches for 137 yards and one TD. Also, the very dangerous Russell Sheppard has been more involved since he returned to the field for the Bayou Bengals. Sheppard has nine receptions for 116 yards this season and two TD's.
Out of the backfield, running back Spencer Ware has seven receptions for 52 yards. Kadron Boone and James Wright have five catches, and tight end Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarvis Landry each have three grabs on the season.
But all of the numbers above would not have been gained if it weren't for the LSU offensive line. The Tigers O-Line is much improved, and they wore down the first eight foes of the season.
LSU's big guys are led by the play of Senior T-Bob Hebert. Hebert has played center and guard this season for the Tigers, becoming the leader of the Tigers interior offensive line.
P.J. Lonergran has been battling through injuries, and when healthy he is as good of a center as any player in the SEC. Chris Faulk and Alex Hurst have improved greatly this season, and senior guard Will Blackwell is having his best year of his LSU career.
Tackle Greg Shaw is coming off a big game in the Tigers' win over Tennessee; Josh Williford has done a good job up front when he has been called upon; and true freshman La'el Collins is improving week to week also.
The Tigers offense starts with the offensive line, and this group will face the best-scoring defense in the nation this Saturday, when the top ranked Tigers tangle with the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.