Despite what the statistics read, the LSU offense did not pull a 180 last Saturday in the win over Missouri.
Sure, the Tigers offense yielded a season-high in yardage (634) and points (42) in the 42-7 rout. Play-calling became less predictable and interim offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger flipped the script and dug a bit deeper into the playbook.
That has led Florida coach Jim McElwain to suggest there are “unknowns” about what LSU is doing offensively as the Tigers prepare to travel to the Swamp to take on the No. 18 Gators Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.
Unknowns about the LSU offense? Believe it or not, it’s becoming a theme.
“The big thing is the use of open formations, creating space to let the playmakers get in space, getting the ball out of his (the quarterback’s) hands and let those guys get to work,” McElwain expounded on the SEC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday.
“It lightened the box and let the running game take over. One thing of note: Before the game got out of hand, they used some more RPOs (run-pass options), stuff I know they had, but called more. It wasn’t anything they didn’t have in their arsenal as you look over the years playing them. But I think maybe the balance of run-pass calls and again, running the ball to win … The balance in the calls and the play-action, those types of things were really good.”
The unpredictability created by an influx of RPOs resulted in LSU’s best output in a SEC contest ever. Led by 100-yard rushers Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams, LSU amassed 410 yards on the ground and another 216 passing.
LSU will continue to rely on the sophomore Guice on Saturday, as Leonard Fournette has yet to practice this week. The depth is anything but shocking to the Gators head coach, who continues to marvel at how many different offensive weapons his defense will be forced to account for in the new-look scheme.
“Wow,” McElwain said when asked about his impression of No. 5 against Missouri.
“But look, they’ve got great players. It doesn’t matter what position. Their ability to not only get big guys, but skill players … There’s no secret they’ve got a cupboard full.”
As McElwain puts the finishing touches on a game plan to slow down Guice and the suddenly surging LSU offense, interim coach Ed Orgeron and Ensminger will continue to dive deeper into the playbook.
More RPOs? A more unpredictable mix of passing plays? Some trickery? All of that remains in play for Saturday’s affair as LSU looks to continue building on its record-setting offensive performance.
“There will be some wrinkles every week,” Orgeron said. “Some things we really like. Obviously, we want to build upon it and get our complete package, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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