LSU makes adjustments with deeper run in mind


CW / Hannah Saad

James Benedetto, Assistant Sports Editor

It may be the middle of July, but talk of a revenge game has already begun for the 2019 edition of LSU vs. Alabama.

Last season’s game in Baton Rouge had College Football Playoff implications as the then-No. 3 Tigers hosted No. 1 Alabama. The Crimson Tide dominated from the opening kickoff, leaving LSU’s stingy defense in shambles as the UA team bus pulled away from Death Valley.

“We did not play well against Alabama,” head coach Ed Orgeron said at SEC Media Days on Monday. “Now we have to go on the road to play them again. We have a very tough schedule this year, but we have a good football team and we should be able to answer the bell.”

LSU continues to implement spread formations and the run-pass option into his offense. Orgeron said he wants to involve senior quarterback Joe Burrow more in the running game.

“This is Joe’s type of offense,” Orgeron said. “Joe is a dual-threat quarterback. We could not run Joe as much as we wanted to last year. We ran him at Texas A&M, we ran him towards the end of the year. We are going to do a lot more running with Joe this year.”

Burrow finished the 2018 campaign with just under 400 rushing yards on 128 carries. A stronger emphasis on the run game may help break down a tough Alabama defense that allowed just 196 total yards when the two teams played last season.

“I’m excited about [the offense], Coach O has brought a lot of exciting things to our offense,” Burrow said. “[Offensive coordinator Steve] Ensminger has done a great job of coming up with his own things as well.”

On the other side of the ball, Orgeron said improving the rush defense will be paramount. Against the Crimson Tide, the Tigers allowed a season-high 281 rushing yards. LSU hopes that returners such as juniors Grant Delpit, Rashard Lawrence and Jacob Phillips will help shore up some issues on the defensive side of the ball.

Delpit may attract more of the national spotlight now that Butkus Award winner Devin White left for the NFL. The Houston, Texas, native is striving for perfection in 2018.

“It’s just trying to work on not making mistakes really,” Delpit said. “My goal this year is zero touchdowns. That’s tough but in the grand scheme of things if you don’t give up a touchdown that’s big.”

With four offensive linemen and several of Burrow’s receivers returning, the Tigers seem poised for another run at the SEC Championship or a College Football playoff berth.

“We have a lot of experience coming back and that bodes well for any football team in the country,” Burrow said. “There is a lot of hype coming into the year for us. If we do what we need to do, we can beat anyone in the country.”