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Friday, May 3, 2013
GTN mailbag: Offense spread too thin?

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney took your questions:

From Joseph (Pacific Northwest): It seems that the (LSU) strategy to employ a no huddle offense is designed to keep dangerous defensive personnel groups off the field, or mitigate the pass rush through exhaustion, on passing downs.  As a northwesterner now, I have had to live through the incessant touting by Oregon fans of the invincibility of their vaunted high-speed offense. Needless to say, a defense with equal speed and superior size has been Oregon's undoing (OSU, Auburn, LSU, Stanford); there are several defenses like these in the SEC, and on LSU's 2013 schedule. Is trouble brewing?

Gary Laney: I do think you'll see LSU use tempo, and the Tigers will try to create mismatches in space in the same way Oregon does.

But I think what you'll see out of Cameron's LSU offense is more of a "Les Miles" version of a spread. LSU has not, and won't, get away from its power running game. Tight ends and fullbacks will continue to be part of the Tigers identity. The key matchups LSU will try to exploit, from what I've seen so far, seem to involve having to match up with mid-skill players.

If LSU has a tight end and a fullback in the game, and the defense brings bigger players to match up, the Tigers might counter by trying to exploit a linebacker in pass coverage against a skilled tight end (which is why some are expecting a quick impact from freshman DeSean Smith, a talented pass-catching tight end). Bring in nickel and dime packages, and LSU might pound you. And if the Tigers find a rhythm, they might not huddle, thus not allowing the defense to substitute to match up.

I think a key to it working will be the power game. It has to be good enough to at least keep SEC-caliber defenses honest.

Michael (Picayune): Since LSU offered Lorenzo Carter, has there been a lot of interest from him?

GL: We've hit a bit of a lull in the recruiting process, so the news cycle is a little slower than it is at other times of the year.

But I can tell you that since LSU offered Carter, the No. 14 player in the ESPN 150, in mid-April, he has been visited at school by LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley. LSU is trying to get him to visit, and if he does, then you'll know the Tigers are a serious contender.

Joe (Denham Springs): Is it true that Speedy Noil does not have LSU in his top three?

GL: LSU nation has had some nervous moments since a Thursday report in a local paper where Noil, a 5-star Louisiana prospect, named a top three that did not include LSU.

But later in the same day, a different Louisiana paper ran a video interview with Noil where he named a top four that, in no particular order, consisted of LSU, Florida, Texas A&M and USC. That has been consistent with what Noil has been saying. He also has been consistent in saying the recruiting process is on the back burner until the end of track season. The Louisiana track and field championships are this weekend.

I did not get the chance to speak to Noil Thursday, but I doubt LSU is off the list.