The offense is coming off back-to-back 45-point showings, and the defense just held a dynamic Ole Miss offense to 20 points. LSU has shown fight in nearly every game, roaring back from deficits and holding off teams in the fourth quarter.
This is the best football LSU has played since Joe Burrow was on campus, but some areas still need work. The open date allows LSU to evaluate some things and continue that upward trend.
Here’s what LSU can work on as it prepares for the Crimson Tide next week.
LSU fans had been clamoring to see more of freshman LB Harold Perkins all year, and they got what they wanted in the win over Ole Miss. Perkins played 37 snaps, a career-high.
Brian Kelly said the coaches wanted to get him out there more in the week leading up to the game. Nobody has ever questioned Perkins’ ability, it was always a question of where he best fit.
Kelly said he’s not ready to play inside linebacker because the reads are too much at this point. Going to the nickel package for much of the year meant Perkins had to come off the field.
We saw something different against Ole Miss. Perkins stayed out there while BJ Ojulari came off the field. LSU stopped overthinking it and just went out and played ball.
It’s a sign that the staff is starting to understand how to optimize this personnel. I’d expect that to be even more true following the bye.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see LSU find a package that includes Perkins and Ojulari both out on the field in a role that suits them. At this point, these two could be LSU’s two best defenders, and it’s not ideal for one to play at the expense of the other.
Matt House can’t let Alabama scheme LSU into only having one of these guys out there because to beat the Tide, the Tigers will need big games from both.
Kayshon Boutte had a breakout game in LSU’s win over Florida, surpassing the 100-yard mark for the first time this year.
Boutte didn’t replicate that production against Ole Miss, but he wasn’t 100% after getting his ankle taped in the first half. It’s safe to say the junior wide receiver is out of his slump. He’s involved and engaged, emerging as a leader in the locker room.
He should be healthy coming out of the bye and ready to build on what he did in Gainesville. I’d expect LSU to push the ball to Boutte early and often against Alabama throughout November.
I put a question mark after special teams because I’m unsure if fixing this unit is possible.
Imagine any problem that can emerge on special teams, and it’s probably happened to LSU at some point this year. I don’t think a punt has gotten blocked yet, so that’s something to hang the hat on.
If this stuff isn’t fixed now, then when? This is the final stretch. It’s past time to work out kinks.
I don’t expect LSU to fire Brian Polian, and new players aren’t walking through the door either. The Tigers have to work with what they have.
If LSU wants to beat Alabama, the margin of error is thinner than thin. It’s almost nonexistent. LSU has to play a perfect game, which means showing up on special teams.
Anything other than a costly mistake will be considered a worthwhile performance at this point.
LSU’s offensive line has been getting better. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a glaring weakness right now. They’re opening up holes in the run game and offering Jayden Daniels enough protection.
The offensive line has stuck out like a sore thumb in previous contests against Alabama. It’s a big reason why LSU was beaten so bad in 2018, despite being almost equal talent at other spots.
LSU hasn’t lost when Will Campbell and Emery Jones have both started. The two freshmen tackles have held their own, giving LSU real hope about what this offensive line can be going forward.
Campbell and Jones, along with Charles Turner, Miles Frazier, Anthony Bradford and Garrett Dellinger, gives LSU six competent options at OL.
There’s inexperience there, and each has their strengths and weaknesses, but a week off gives this unit time to rest and continue to round into form as chemistry builds and continuity is found.