clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Florida vs. LSU: Brian Kelly’s Tigers are a tale of diverging tactics

A conservative offense paired with an aggressive defense is likely what LSU brings to The Swamp.

Tennessee v LSU

Florida vs LSU is always a wild time. One of my first SEC road games as a child was a trip to Death Valley in 1997. That turned out poorly for young me, but it resulted in LSU fans storming the field and ripping down the two-legged goalposts after the Tigers upset the No. 1 Gators. The series hasn’t really slowed down much since.

This year’s edition will be no different. Both teams are 4-2 under new coaching staffs. Neither team has been particularly impressive outside of FCS games. An added layer of intrigue is the fact that Florida coach Billy Napier seemingly wasn’t deemed worthy of consideration for the open LSU job last season. (If you want to go a layer deeper: Accompanying Napier on his move to Florida were a bevy of staff and players with Louisiana ties.) While there is plenty of intrigue for both teams off the field, let’s take a look at how they have performed this season.

Florida vs. LSU Statistical Comparison

Team Florida Gators LSU Tigers
Team Florida Gators LSU Tigers
Category Number Rank Number Rank
YPP Offense 7.29 5 5.87 63
YPP Defense 5.71 76 5.27 51
Available Yards % O 55.50% 30 49.20% 52
Available Yards % D 57.90% 115 46.70% 63
Third Downs O 39.71% 65 45.68% 33
Third Downs D 50.59% 125 36.59% 59
Explosive Plays O 37 12 22 98
Explosive Plays D 29 94 29 94
Turnover Margin 0 64 3 36
Average Starting Field Postion 26.1 114 26 116
Player Average Rank Player Average Rank
Team Talent Composite 89.86 12 90.64 8

LSU will be the most talented team that Florida has faced this season. While being the more talented team on paper, LSU doesn’t have the best performing unit by the numbers: That honor would belong to the Florida offense. Unfortunately for the Gators, their defense is the worst unit in this game by a fair margin. Neither team has been particularly good on special teams, as evidenced by the poor average starting field position numbers.

Scheme Things We May See

LSU has not pushed the ball down the field vertically much this season. They are completing short passes and running the ball down the field.

Jayden Daniels has been decent through the air, but he has caused a lot of problems for opponents on the ground. Daniels has been particularly adept at scrambling to extend drives. Florida has struggled with rush lane integrity at times this season. I wonder if we see Florida look to compress the pocket rather than rush upfield. Daniels has not shown that he can win from the pocket on a consistent basis.

Defensively, LSU presents a lot of interesting challenges. They have an unbelievable edge rusher in BJ Ojulari and they use him in a variety of ways. They move him around, use him in games up front, drop him back, and even line him up inside occasionally. He can be a game-wrecker.

I believe LSU will play Florida very aggressively. Against Auburn’s 12 personnel looks, LSU safeties were very quick to run up and fill in the run game. I wonder if Florida will be able to generate some explosive shot plays off 12 personnel play action. You may see Florida dial one up when they get in plus territory. For as well as the Tigers have played on defense at times, they are 94th in the country in plays of 20-plus yards allowed.

If you want a deeper look at LSU’s schemes check out the video below. The LSU defense was particularly fun to watch. They do a lot of different things and do them with some aggression.