Tag Archives: #Les Miles

Film Room: LSU 63, New Mexico State 7

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.

(click photos to enlarge)

How They Happened (big-play analysis)

Beckwith’s pick six: Backup linebacker Kendell Beckwith took a tipped pass 29 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.BeckwithTD

  • Defensive coordinator John Chavis brought a six-man blitz out of his trademark Mustang formation. Beckwith, Dwayne Thomas and Kwon Alexander (circled) rushed the passer on a second-and-36. The half-dozen men LSU brought was one more than New Mexico State had in to block. On an offensive lineman’s missed assignment, Alexander came in completely unblocked to create the pressure.
  • The play was a screen pass to the running back to the left side, but QB Tyler Rogers was rushed by Alexander, and he threw a poor pass that bounced off of one of his offensive lineman’s helmets and into the air for a surging Beckwith to pick off.
  • Beckwith was in position to make this play because he’s the sixth man in Chavis’ blitz, coming off the edge completely unblocked. What many might not have seen is that Beckwith nearly collided with DT Christian LaCouture once in the backfield. He steps around LaCouture, kept his eyes on the ball as it ricocheted off the helmet and grabbed it.

Fournette’s cutback for a score: On first-and-10 from the New Mexico State 17-yard line, running back Leonard Fournette scores on a cutback to the right to give LSU a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.

  • This play shows how far Fournette has come since the season IMG_1896opener against Wisconsin. He shows patience here and finds the massive cutback hole. That’s something he struggled with, especially early on.
  • LSU’s right side of the O-line (circled) creates a whopper of a cutback lane for Fournette. The group includes Ethan Pocic, Hoko Fanaika and Jerald Hawkins and tight end Dillon Gordon. They move their men 3-plus yards down the field. Wonder why LSU is running to the right more this season? This is one reason.
  • The play was designed to go left, but a New Mexico State defensive tackle (arrow) slips between Vadal Alexander and La’el Collins and disrupts the design. It’s OK — these plays have a designated bailout area with the cutback, and Fournette sees it. The running back told reporters after Saturday’s win that the game has begun to slow down and he’s being more patient. This play illustrates that precisely.

A successful screen: Brandon Harris finds Malachi Dupre on a receiver screen for a 22-yard gain in the second quarter.

  • The screen! LSU has struggled this season with what’s supposed to be a high-percentage pass — a surprise. After all, the Tigers have a veteran O-line, some versatile running backs and talented receivers. The issue has been two-old: Anthony Jennings’ passes and the O-line blocking. The pass is more important than you might think on the screen. An already slow-developing play can be made much slower by a poor pass.IMG_1897
  • Harris throws a dart to Dupre (circled) on this one. The pass has perfect rotation and is put directly in Dupre’s mitts. The receiver has to make no adjustment for the ball, so that’s a good start to the play.
  • In the open field, La’el Collins (the nearest lineman) gets the key block. While Vadal Alexander doesn’t necessarily block anyone, his big body doubles as a wall to keep defenders at bay. Dupre uses his speed to split the linemen.

The diamond: This isn’t a big play, but it’s a new formation. Diamond

  • LSU aligns Leonard Fournette at RB, Melvin Jones and Connor Neighbors at the two spots one either side of Jennings. This is a new formation that LSU installed last week, the game announcers said (announcers meet with coaches the day before games).
  • This particular play out of the diamond works well. It’s a read option for Jennings, while Jones and Neighbors block toward the left (red lines). Jennings (blue line) fakes the dive to Fournette (black line) and heads over the left end for good gain – before fumbling.

Sole TD: New Mexico State’s only touchdown came on a 79-yard Long Runrun on a keeper from QB Andrew Allen.

  • The linebackers are at fault here. Deion Jones (top circle) is eyeing the flats, expecting a throw there. Meanwhile, MLB D.J. Welter is fooled on the handoff to the RB. That leaves a whopping hole at the second level (and something we saw often last week against Mississippi State).

Big Ugly Blips and Booms (O-line analysis)

  • It was a good day for the offensive line, as it should against a team like New Mexico State. Through the first three quarters (when the starters were in), we charted just four blips (missed blocks that cause an unsuccessful play). All of them came on rushing plays and no player had two.
  • LT La’el Collins continues to anchor the line. He had the most “booms” (run-springing blocks) at six. Jerald Hawkins had five. Again, LSU’s tackles seem to be the strength of the O-line. TE Dillon Gordon had four booms.
  • Back to Collins. After Anthony Jennings’ first interception, Collins goes over to the QB and appears to have a chat with him – maybe he barked at him; maybe he didn’t. Either way, Harris, sitting beside Jennings, is the one who responds. Check out the Vine below.

Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)

  • Jennings struggled. There’s no denying that. We charted him for three misfires (of five attempts), and there seems to be miscommunication between Jennings and his receivers. Jennings overthrew Dural on his first interception (though he was pressured). His second pick came on an underthrown ball to Dural. SEC Network crews reported that Dural was at fault and that he should have come back quicker for the ball. Dural does seem visibly angry at himself on the sidelines, slamming down his helmet as WR coach Adam Henry approaches (and then you’ll see coach Les Miles chat with Jennings).

  • Another miscommunication takes place later in the game between Jennings and WR Malachi Dupre. Jennings throws too soon on a pass. He walks to the sideline and is instantly met with No. 3 QB Brad Kragthorpe, who appears to be taking the role of assistant QB coach during the game. Kragthorpe gestures at a frustrated Jennings as if he messed things up.

  • Now to Brandon Harris, the hotshot true freshman. We charted Harris for two misfires in 14 attempts. He, once again, displayed a rocket for an arm. Even under the most cruddy of situations, he delivers. For instance, you’ll see Harris mishandle the snap below but still step into a defender and deliver a completion to Dural. The pass was on a rope. A tight one.

  • The color analyst in the game, Matt Stinchcomb, seems very much in Harris’ corner. Take a read of these two comments from him during the game:

“Such a stark contrast that there’s really not much of a comparison,” he says when referring to the QBs.

Harris “more than has earned a starting opportunity next week,” he says.

  • Meanwhile, play-by-play man Tom Hart, at one point early in the broadcast, mentions that Harris “hasn’t looked that way at practice,” when referring to his impressive play in the final minutes of the loss to Mississippi State. It should be noted again that these announcers meet with Miles and coordinators the day before each game.IMG_1911
  • Aside from his impressive passing, Harris continued to run the read-option well. Check out the example to the right. The end crashes down and Harris keeps it for a big gain.
  • A lot was made last week about formations. Here’s out the two quarterbacks took snaps in Saturday’s game:


  • 49% – Gun-3WR-1RB-1TE
  • 37% - I-2WR-1TE


  • 37% – I-2WR-1TE
  • 37% – Gun-1RB-3WR-1TE
  • Not too much of a difference, but keep in mind that the game was competitive for all of Jennings’ time, and LSU ran more plays from the Gun-3WR with Harris.
  • Also, this is important: When game was somewhat competitive  in second quarter with Harris, LSU ran six straight plays in hurry-up mode in the Gun-3WR.
  • And this too: Even in blowout with Harris at QB, LSU ran out of 2 tight ends 4 times in his 41 snaps. Ran two tight ends with Jennings in competitive games three times in his 19 snaps.

Backing It Up (RB/FB analysis)

  • It is oh-so-clear that Leonard Fournette is beginning to see the field a lot better. He’s seeing holes and cutting back into them. The freshman has come a long way from his season opener against Wisconsin.
  • Miles appears to have punished Kenny Hilliard for his early fumble. He didn’t play in the third quarter and most of the second.
  • According to the SEC Network broadcast, fullback Conner Neighbors suffered a concussion in the first half. He did not return.

Five-yard Out (WR analysis)

  • D.J. Chark was the only receiver to drop a pass – and it was in the end zone. Harris gave him a dart that ended up on the playing surface.
  • If you’re counting at home: Harris had three incomplete passes (two misfires and that drop). That means everyone else made a catch. Harris’ ball is easier to catch than Jennings’ passes, receivers have said. It’s pretty obvious from the results.
  • The wideouts had a good blocking day, especially Dural. He had two booms on rushing plays. Dupre had one boom on a great block for Fournette.

Front Seven (D-line/LB analysis)

  • As expected, LSU dominated NMSU’s offensive line. Jermauria IMG_1906Rasco had three pressures, and Kwon Alexander was the star of the entire defensive unit. Alexander had eight – EIGHT – attacks (an aggressive play made that resulted in a limited gain for the offense). Alexander was everywhere. Check out the play above. He’s not in position to really make the tackle, but he does because he’s fast and has good instincts.
  • We kept a new category this week. It’s called “blocked.” We charted players who were blocked out of plays near the ball during successful runs. Alexander was blocked out once. D.J. Welter led the team in “blocked” with three.

Break It Up (DB analysis)

  • Nothing really to see here. The New Mexico State QBs really struggled. That said, there was just one “busted” (poor coverage) and it fell on Jalen Mills. Tre White had an attack but a missed tackle. Jamal Adams and Ronald Martin led the DBs in attacks with two.ThomasInjury
  • Nickelback Dwayne Thomas injured his right knee in the first half while blitzing and making a cut. Check out the photo to the right. Thomas’ knee seems to have taken a lot of his weight. Just his toes are on the ground. The SEC Network reported it as a sprain.

All photos courtesy of ESPN/SEC Network.

Postgame: LSU 63, New Mexico State 7

Brandon Harris made a big push for the starting QB job Saturday. (AP)

Brandon Harris made a big push for the starting QB job Saturday. (AP)

The Game Story

Brandon Harris traded in a headset for a helmet.

LSU traded a game-managing sophomore for a gun-slinging freshman.

Inserted for a struggling Anthony Jennings, Harris completed his first five passes, threw for 178 yards and sparked the 17th-ranked Tigers to a 63-7 win over New Mexico State on Saturday night in what may have been a rousing opening act for a new era at quarterback for LSU.

Finish reading.

For full post-game coverage of the win over New Mexico State, click here.

The Turning Point

When Brandon Harris hit Malachi Dupre for a 27-yard touchdown, that about did it. The TD pass gave LSU a 28-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first half. It was Harris’ second series of the game and showed that the Tigers QB was on his way to a spectacular performance.

The Stars

  • QB Brandon Harris: The freshman only came in and led LSU to touchdowns on his seven drives. He completed 11 of his 14 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for another score. He sparked the Tigers and might have won the starting QB gig, though coach Les Miles is reserving the decision until next week.
  • RB Leonard Fournette: The former No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation rolled up 122 yards on 18 carries, an average of 6.8 yards a carry. Fournette made some spectacular cutbacks, and he said after the game that things are “slowing down” for him. He’s being more patient, and you can tell.

    Kendell Beckwith had a pick 6 Saturday. (Bill Feig)

    Kendell Beckwith had a pick 6 Saturday. (Bill Feig)

  • LB Kendell Beckwith: The backup middle linebacker seems to be moving into a starting role. He played possibly more significant series in the game than starter D.J. Welter, and Miles pointed that out afterward. Oh, and he returned a tipped pass for an interception in the first quarter.

The Surprises

  • Jennings’ troubles: Anthony Jennings had turned the ball over once in the first four games of the season. In the first 11 minutes Saturday, he threw two interceptions and lost fumble. He finished 2 of 5 for 11 yards in a stunningly poor showing that might have lost him the starting job.

The Key Matchup

  • LSU’s receivers vs. NMSU secondary: The Tigers and QB Brandon Harris had their way with the Aggies secondary. Receivers were wide open for much of the game.

The Numbers

  • 363: Rushing yards for LSU
  • 256.1: Harris’ passer rating in just seven drives on the field
  • 65,000: The estimated crowd at kickoff

The Quote

“When that guy comes into the game, he just makes plays for us.” WR Travin Dural about Brandon Harris

Film Room: Mississippi State 34, LSU 29

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.

(click photos to enlarge)

How They Happened (big-play analysis)

Robinson’s jaunt: State running back Josh Robinson ran for 66 yards on the first play of the Bulldogs’ fourth drive of the game.RobinsonRun

  • Mississippi State spreads out LSU’s defense with a four-receiver set. That means Kendell Beckwith, in for starter D.J. Welter, isn’t even in this shot to the right because he’s covering a slot receiver. He’s just far enough to the right that he can’t make the tackle.
  • The real key on the play, though, is what LB Deion Jones does. Jones is in for starter Kwon Alexander. LSU sometimes does this, beginning every third or fourth drive with its reserves. On this particular play, DE Tashawn Bower and DT Davon Godchaux are also in the game. But back to Jones. Jones (red arrow) attacks the hole to the left side of the screen and is blocked out of the play. At the snap, he immediately crashed for that hole.
  • Jalen Mills (black circle left) takes a poor angle and misses a tackle. DE Jermauria Rasco (black circle right) nearly makes a fantastic play from the backside. His tackle just misses the speedy Robinson.

Prescott’s TD dash: On third-and-3, Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott has one of those Heisman Trophy moments, running for 56 yards for a TD.

  • Once again, Mississippi State spread out LSU, and the Tigers have a handful of reserves in. The Bulldogs align in a five-receiver set. Meanwhile, the Tigers have freshmen Deondre Clark and Davon Godchaux on the line along with Bower.PrescottTD
  • LSU is thinking pass all the way, especially safety Ronald Martin (red circle). Martin’s eyes are on Prescott at the snap, but he immediately turns his head toward the two receivers to his side of the field. Meanwhile, Prescott (red arrow), on a called draw play, tucks the ball and races up the middle, while Martin is backing up five yards from his set position. State’s O-line splits a hole with blocks on Godchaux and Clark, and Alexander (black circle) is paying no attention to Prescott. His eyes are on his receiver. Martin was just enough out of position to miss the tackle.
  • What we haven’t noted is the one linebacker in the box: D.J. Welter. He was at the line of scrimmage at the snap on the opposite side Prescott runs, well out of the play.

Goal-line stand: In the first quarter, LSU had first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. The Tigers ran right twice and left twice for a net of zero yards. A Jennings keeper failed on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

  • This series seems to set the tone for the game. Mississippi State, early on, announces loudly with this goal-line stand that it doesn’t plan on losing the battle at the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t, dominating both lines in the win.JenningsFourth
  • On fourth-and-goal, Jennings keeps the ball around the right side after LSU failed on second and third downs while running behind left tackle La’el Collins and left guard Vadal Alexander. The Bulldogs prove their dominance here. DL Chris Jones pushes back RG Ethan Pocic (red circle) enough to disrupt the play. Jennings nearly ran into the two players. He puts an elbow into Pocic’s back, but it doesn’t work. Jennings falls to the ground at the 2 for no gain.
  • What Jennings didn’t see – and it would have been tough to – is that Elliott Porter’s man is laying on the ground. There was some daylight there.

Big Ugly Blips and Booms (O-line analysis)

Miles' reaction when LSU didn't score on third-and-goal from the 1. He went for it and failed.

Miles’ reaction when LSU didn’t score on third-and-goal from the 1. He went for it and failed.

  • Here’s where Mississippi State won the game (well, here and on the other line of scrimmage). The Bulldogs dominated the line, and for yet another game the Tigers O-line struggled in spots. In all, the line had nine blips on pass protection and missed a total of about 13 run blocks. There just wasn’t the needed push up front on the line. Les Miles’ face in that photo tells the tale.
  • Starting at RG for Hoko Fanaika, Ethan Pocic struggled early and was pulled to start the fourth quarter (though he re-entered late). In the first half, he had four blips (a missed block that led to a poor play). Center Elliott Porter struggled for the second straight game. He had about seven blips, including one poor snap. It appears that the rust hasn’t been knocked off.
  • LT La’el Collins entered the State game, he said, with a perfect mark on the season so far. We counted at least one, and maybe, two blips from him. His last one came on the final play of the game – Brandon Harris’ heave to the end zone. He couldn’t hold off Mississippi State’s Preston Smith, and Harris had to scramble.StateBlitz
  • State often sent blitzes, especially on third downs (like that one —>). The Bulldogs didn’t respect LSU’s passing game or its pass blocking – and with good reason. In the above photo, State sent three guys to LSU’s three guys. But Leonard Fournette and La’el Collins took one man. Vadal Alexander took one, and the third man was free for the pressure/sack on Jennings. Also in this play, Porter gets a blip, as he loses a one-on-one match.

Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)JenningHurt

  • We charted Jennings for a whopping six misfires (poor passes to, at least mostly, open receivers). Now, he was pressured on at least two of those throws and possibly three to four of them. Keep that in mind. Still, that’s a lot of bad passes. One thing continues to stay consistent with Jennings: inconsistency. At least twice in the game the QB threw a great pass and then followed it with a poor one or vice-versa. He’s struggled to throw consecutive completions.JenningsInjury
  • One other thing: Jennings injured his left shoulder in the second quarter during a sack on the play mentioned above (the three-on-three blitz). It’s pretty clear that he’s hurt his left shoulder in some way. Check out the shots above. The first is the sack that seemed to trigger the injury. The next is him wincing on the sidelines after the sack. He seemed to re-injure the shoulder on a sack on his last offensive play, but at the game’s end, he seemed to have mobility in the shoulder.
  • In nine attempts, Brandon Harris had one, big misfire. He showed off that strong arm of his and quick feet. His mobility in the pocket and pocket presence in general continues to be good.

Backing It Up (RB/FB analysis)

  • LSU didn’t do a ton of running, with the lopsided score and all, but fullback Connor Neighbors had a nice day. He did not record a blip and had about five booms (a run or pass block springing a successful play).
  • Leonard Fournette had seven carries for a team-leading 38 yards. He’s getting better at running toward the right hole, though at least once Saturday he didn’t follow his blocks. Patience, Leonard.

Five-yard Out (WR analysis)

  • John Diarse and Travin Dural each had a dropped pass. Malachi Dupre had the best game of his career so far. He showed solid pass-catching skills and hauled in two late touchdowns, one a jump ball that you can see a Vine of below.

Front Seven (D-line/LB analysis)PrescottHole

  • Again, this is where Mississippi State won the game. The Bulldogs had more than 300 rushing yards and gashed LSU up the middle. Mississippi State’s O-line managed to open up whopping holes – and we do mean whopping. Check out the photo above. State opens a whopper of a hole and a lineman then blocks LB D.J. Welter out of the play so Prescott can convert a big third down. When holes were parted on the line, many times linebackers were nowhere to be found – either blocked out of the play or spread out. That’s what State also did plenty of – lining up in four and five-receiver sets to spread out the Tigers. It worked.
  • And, now, to missed tackles. There were a total of 19 missed tackles by 13 different players. Jalen Mills had three misses, and Ronald Martin had three too. The pair of safeties had issues tackling the bulky runners like Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson.

Break It Up (DB analysis)

  • Their worst game so far. For one, they had a ton of missed tackles. MartinMillsTwo, they had a few busted coverages. Martin had a rough game. He had one complete busted coverage, leading to State’s 74-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jameon Lewis. He had another poor coverage play too. Mills knew Martin was having a rough day. He comforted him in the photo above.

Film Room: LSU 31, Louisiana-Monroe 0

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.

(click photos to enlarge)

How They Happened (big-play analysis)

MustangThird-down woes: Louisiana-Monroe was 4 of 14 on third-down and failed on its first four tries. LSU’s Mustang package confused the Warhawks, especially early.

  • In the shot above, you see that LSU has crowded the line with six defenders. Linebacker Deion Jones and safety Jalen Mills (both in blue) and Dwayne Thomas (red) are the non-linemen who have crept to the line. All of them are acting as if they’ll blitz. That, of course, won’t happen.Mustang2
  • What does happen: Jones and Mills drop into coverage (as you see in the photo to the right) and Thomas comes in completely free on a blitz from the edge. Thomas smacks ULM QB Pete Thomas after coming off the edge untouched. LSU rushed four guys (Thomas and three defensive linemen) against ULM’s five O-linemen but still got pressure. The Mustang doing its best.

Freshman’s big score: On third-and-one, Darrel Williams, running from the fullback position, rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0.

  • LSU runs to the left side of the field, where tight ends Dillon Gordon and Colin Jeter are. Both Gordon and Jeter make great blocks on the play. ULM linebacker Hunter Kissinger (arrow) picks the correct hole, but he over-pursues. WilliamsTD
  • Louisiana-Monroe has what appears to be four guys free (No. 34 and three red circles) to tackle Williams (in blue). There was one problem: Williams is a big guy. The 230-pound Williams bounces off No. 34, LB Michael Johnson, Gordon blocks one of the three circled players and the other two crash into the pileup that Gordon and Williams create.
  • Gordon takes out safety Mitch Lane and Williams hits Johnson, creating a jumbled mess that Junior Williams and Bryce Ray find. Ray was fooled just enough on the play by the decoy: RB Leonard Fournette.

Fournette’s TD rumble: RB Leonard Fournette scores from 24 yards out to put LSU up 24-0, a game-sealing victory late in the third quarter.

  • This play is blocked to absolute perfection. Everyone involved gets his block. That includes Vadal Alexander on the linebacker, La’el Collins on the defensive tackle and TE Dillon Gordon on the defensive end (all in red circles). FournetteTD
  • Fournette does something we haven’t seen in the first two games: He stays patient and waits for the blocks and the hole to materialize. Fournette follows his lead blockers, which include pulling RG Evan Washington (blue circle) and FB Connor Neighbors, who gets a great block on CB Trey Caldwell.
  • Fournette does the rest, out-running two Louisiana-Monroe defensive backs down the sidelines. He shows some serious speed.

Big ugly blips and booms (O-line analysis)

  • It wasn’t the greatest night for the line. In fact, LSU’s offensive line has probably not lived up to its preseason hype through three games. The unit has really struggled in spots, specifically in blocking at the second level (the linebackers). They haven’t created a ton of gaping holes. It doesn’t help that defenses are loading the box.
  • In the first half alone, LG Vadal Alexander had five missed blocks, and Elliott Porter had three. Porter, in his first game action of this season, finished with four missed blocks and a hold and he stepped on Anthony Jennings’ foot at one point. Alexander had a unit-leading six misses. The Tigers had five missed pass blocks, including one on tight end Colin Jeter.
  • All of this is probably a bit disturbing if you’re an LSU fan – this is against Louisiana-Monroe and it’s the third game of the season.
  • There was some good. La’el Collins had at least three “booms” (great blocks that sprung a run). Jeter had two booms. He’s being used a ton and has shown a great ability to run-block. TE Dillon Gordon had two booms as well.

Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)QuinnOpen

  • Here’s the bad: Jennings had two misfires and he scrambled on a third down when WR Trey Quinn appeared to be wide open (check out that photo above). He completely misses Quinn, gets flustered in the pocket and scrambles for nine yards when LSU needed 10 for a first down. Quinn ran a great deep out route for 15-plus yards. Jennings also had that interception, throwing into triple coverage.
  • The good: He broke two tackles on a 22-yard scramble for a firstJenningsDiarse down.  It was, really, a great run. He threw his best pass of the night to John Diarse while scrambling from the pocket. Jennings seems to be best when on the move. He found Diarse hovering in a zone defense. Jennings had to throw the pass into a tight window over a defender’s head. He threw it perfect.
  • There wasn’t much to grade Harris on. He had an overthrow, but he also took a busted play and turned it into a first down with a nice scamper. However, the best thing he did was show some nifty feet in the pocket while stepping up to hit Dural with a nice pass. Check it out:

Backing it up (FB/RB analysis)FournetteHole

  • There were issues here. Leonard Fournette ran to the wrong hole twice. We have one of those shots to the right. Fournette chooses to go inside instead of following lead blocker Connor Neighbors over left tackle. That’s where the hole is. That play came on a third-and-2. Fournette gained one yard.FournettePass
  • LSU coaches are determined to get Fournette involved as much as they can. For instance, check out this formation. Fournette aligns behind Jennings while in the shotgun. He flares out to the flats, catches a pass and uses his speed along the sideline to pick up 20 yards.
  • FB Connor Neighbors had the best game of his season so far. We charted Neighbors with a whopping seven booms. Check out the photo on the right. He pushes his man 10 yards into out-of-bounds territory on Hilliard’s run to the 1.

Five-yard out (WR analysis)

  • There were three drops, all coming on the second drive of the game: Connor Neighbors, Trey Quinn and John Diarse had the dropped passes. Diarse bounced back to make a great catch (the one from above on the Jennings’ scramble), and Dural had a nice snag, too.
  • Malachi Dupre had an ugly missed block on the outside. He was supposed to block the cornerback on a receiver screen play for Diarse. Outside of that drop, Quinn played fine. He caught a pass, turned a screen into a big gain and had a catch over the middle on a slant.Dural
  • Meanwhile, Travin Dural played with 13 stitches above his left eye. The shot above is from ESPN’s cameras during pregame.

Front Seven (Defensive linemen and linebacker analysis)

  • Complete domination. LSU’s defensive line and linebackers combined for 11 “pressures” (pressures are heat on the QB that forced a poor play). Jermauria Rasco led the charge with five pressures. He’s having an impressive season so far.
  • The defensive tackles had a banner day. Christian LaCouture had one pressure and two “attacks” (a disruptive play). Freshman Davon Godchaux had a pair of attacks, too, and backup MLB Kendell Beckwith had a pair.
  • We charted only two missed tackles while the starting units were in (first three and a half quarters). Both whiffs were on LB Deion Jones.

Break It Up (secondary analysis)

  • Another swarming day. This unit benefited from a defensive line that won the line of scrimmage. Ronald Martin might have had his best game, and Jalen Mills had at least one attack. Freshman Jamal Adams had an attack on a great run-stuffing tackle.
  • Whenever Pete Thomas did find time to throw, the DBs were closely on their men. No separation at all.

Frosh DT Trey Lealaimatafao begins practice

LSU three-star defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao has began practicing with the Tigers, Les Miles confirmed Wednesday. Lealaimatafao tweeted this photo late Tuesday night.

Lealaimatafao, a Texas native and the No. 32nd ranked DT in the class of 2014, punched through a glass window during an argument with a teammate over the summer. He suffered deep lacerations to his left biceps and was hospitalized.

At least one scar can be seen on his left biceps in the photo he posted on Twitter. Also, Lealaimatafao is wearing a brace on his left wrist, which was likely injured during the incident. Reporters saw Lealaimatafao walking out of the LSU football facility Tuesday.

Lealaimatafao is expected to be redshirted along with fellow freshman defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, who has not been ruled eligible for games by the Southeastern Conference. LSU coach Les Miles said in July that Lealaimatafao will “probably not” play this season.

In the above photo, assumed to be taken during Tuesday’s practice, linebacker Kwon Alexander is not practicing. Alexander suffered a stinger against Wisconsin and re-injured the injury against Sam Houston State. He’s expected to be healthy by Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe.

It appears, also, that linebacker Lamar Louis (far left of the screen) did not practice. His injury, if any, is unclear.

Miles commented on the status of Louis and Alexander during the SEC teleconference. Read about that here.

Twitter Mailbag: Jennings’ passing, in-state games, Dupre’s role

Malachi Dupre (left) and Anthony Jennings are both part of questions in this week's Twitter Mailbag.

Malachi Dupre (left) and Anthony Jennings are both part of questions in this week’s Twitter Mailbag.

Twitter Mailbag is a new blog series running each Tuesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football team. Readers submit their questions through Twitter each Tuesday, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @DellengerAdv to submit a question.

QB Anthony Jennings hasn’t proven that he can do that – have a solid passing percentage when throwing 30-plus times a game. Is it possible? Well, sure. Will coaches ever let him do that? Maybe.

Look at Jennings’ completions and attempts during his three career starts: 7-of-19, 9-of-21, 7-of-13. That’s an average of 18 attempts per game. We might never know if Jennings can be consistent when forced to throw the ball a ton. Coaches – at least through three games – didn’t trust him or need him to do so.

LSU coach Les Miles last addressed Travonte Valentine’s situation last week. Valentine, a four-star defensive tackle from Florida, is practicing with the team but is ineligible to participate in games.

The Southeastern Conference continues to examine Valentine’s transcripts from high school. He transferred high schools before his senior year, a red flag, some might say. Valentine suggested in August that another SEC school sparked the investigation. Look for Valentine to redshirt this season.

Great question. And we’ll have a story about that coming out in Wednesday’s Advocate. The answer is yes, but not many.

The only freshmen who have not played so far are LB Clifton Garrett, tight end Jacory Washington, receiver Tony Upchurch, offensive linemen Will Clapp and Garrett Brumfield and defensive linemen Trey Lealaimatafao (injured) and Travonte Valentine (ineligible).

Miles said Garrett will play at some point this season. The rest may be redshirted. Tight end is a deep position, so it’d be tough for Washington to work in. Tony Upchurch is a guy who might see the playing field. After all, Miles said a while back that all of his freshmen receivers would play. The other four are linemen, a position that lends itself to redshirting. Expect Lealaimatafao and Valentine to both redshirt because of their situations.

No, at least I don’t believe so. I can’t speak specifically on in-state schools, but LSU assistant AD Very Ausberry has said multiple times that LSU’s scheduling method will not change with the new playoff.

What’s LSU’s scheduling method? Each year, the Tigers play one FCS team, two lower-level FBS teams and a major conference squad. There’s a good chance each season that one of those lower-level FBS squads will be a team from in-state. In fact, our own columnist, Scott Rabalais, will be opining on this very subject in a column set to run Saturday.

No. I highly doubt LSU would ever play a neutral site game outside of a major city. The Tigers play neutral site games (A) for the money and (B) for a recruiting boost. I don’t believe the city of Shreveport can give LSU $3-plus million, and the Tigers already have roots there from a recruiting stand point since it’s in-state.

LSU’s preferred neutral site locations include Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. New Orleans and Orlando are two possible sites as well.

Well, a win over Mississippi State at home is a game LSU is expected to win. But a win at Auburn? That should move the Tigers up in the polls, especially if other teams in front of them lost that weekend. That’s the big thing with the polls: win all you want, but it’s tough to move up if teams in front of you also win.

Either way, if LSU wins its next four games (UL-Monroe, Mississippi State, New Mexico State and at Auburn), the Tigers could be as high as No. 5 nationally.

The Warhawks, according to LSU players, are a spread team. That doesn’t necessarily narrow it down since most squads now run some version of the spread. However, ULM seems most like an Ole Miss or a Missouri.

Be on the look out for their quarterback. Pete Thomas is a major college talent. He started his career at Colorado State before transferring to NC State and then leaving there for the Warhawks.

Man, that’s a tough question to answer. It’s a pretty common fact that two quarterbacks can’t lead a team for an extended time period. After all, the Catholic Church doesn’t have two popes and the US doesn’t have two presidents.

Someone will separate himself from the competition, but who? It’s too early to tell. Let’s see both of them play against SEC teams before making a decision. We’ll say this: Miles has several times over the summer said that Brandon Harris had more natural talent.

I do think Dupre will likely be one of LSU’s top pass catchers. Not sure about “starting.” LSU runs the ball more than it passes, and Trey Quinn is a solid run-blocker. Meanwhile, Travin Dural is a good deep threat. Those two are likely LSU’s starters, but when the Tigers move to a three and four receiver set, I’d expect Dupre and John Diarse to be the next two guys.

Dupre certainly has plenty of skill. Did you see his touchdown catch Saturday? It wasn’t an easy catch as Harris put just a tad too much air on it. Dupre’s outstretched arms and hands hauled it in for his first career TD reception.

Film Room: LSU 56, Sam Houston 0

Sam Houston couldn't catch Travin Dural on Saturday.

Sam Houston couldn’t catch Travin Dural on Saturday.

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.

(click photos to enlarge)

How They Happened (big-play analysis)

Record length pass: QB Anthony Jennings hit WR Travin Dural for a 96-yard touchdown pass on LSU’s first offensive play from scrimmage.

  • Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron fooled everyone here. LSU opened in its run-heavy package: two tight ends, two backs and Jennings under center. The only receiver was Dural, split wide right as what appeared to be a decoy.DuralTD
  • The key here was the play fake to running back Kenny Hilliard. The fake handoff from Jennings to Hilliard (right arrow) didn’t just freeze the safety to Dural’s side of the field — the guy ran 5 yards upfield (middle arrow) before stopping and turning back. It was far too late by that time. Dural (circled) was left one-on-one with a cornerback from an FCS school.
  • Tight ends Logan Stokes and Dillon Gordon went out for passes, too, but the throw was always heading Dural’s way, especially after the safety bit so hard. LSU had a whopping seven guys to protect Jennings from five rushers.

Fournette’s big rumble: On second-and-10, Leonard Fournette carried for a 40-yard gain to set up his 4-yard touchdown run moments later.FournetteRunn

  • This play is clearly designed to go left. Check out the lead blocker in the play, fullback Connor Neighbors (arrow). You can see that Fournette begins heading to the left side behind LG Vadal Alexander and LT La’el Collins.
  • A run to the left, though, is ruined by Collins’ pancake block. He and the defensive lineman collapse and somewhat block the area. Meanwhile, Fournette shows good vision. He sees a gaping hole in the middle of the field.
  • That hole is created by RG Hoko Fanaika and RT Jerald Hawkins (middle circle) and tight end Dillon Gordon. Fournette cuts back just before running into the back side of C Ethan Pocic, and he hits the 10-foot-wide hole.
  • Fournette does the rest: He jukes one man, breaks a tackle near the 15-yard line and drags another defender inside the 5.

Read-option: QB Brandon Harris orchestrates a perfect read-option play, faking to RB Terrence Magee before running for a 46-yard touchdown in the second quarter.HarrisTD

  • Cameron spreads the D out with a three-WR set and Harris in the shotgun with Magee. This particular play may be referred to as a sweep read-option. Harris can give to Magee for an outside sweep or keep and run up the gut. It all depends on how linebackers and defensive ends react as Harris puts the ball in Magee’s belly.
  • Harris chooses wisely. While TE Colin Jeter and Collins remove the DE from the play, two linebackers are focused on Magee. They take the bait, and Harris pulls the ball back and heads upfield.
  • Downfield, RT Jerald Hawkins misses his block on a linebacker, but he makes up for it by, at one point during the run, shoving Harris toward the end zone to spring him for the big run.

Goal line fumble: D.J. Welter stripped Sam Houston QB Jared Johnson at the goal line, forcing a fumble that led to a Tigers touchdown.Fumble

  • Welter gets credits for the strip, which he should, and Deion Jones gets credit for the recovery, which he should, but defensive end Danielle Hunter makes this play happen.
  • Hunter simply beats his man (red circle), as he did for much of the night. He got pressure on Johnson, flushing him from the pocket and right into an awaiting Welter.

Big ugly blips and booms (O-line analysis)

  • Let’s first clear something up (and this goes for all positions): We mostly analyzed/watched the first three quarters of the game. By the fourth, LSU had moved to all second-string guys.
  • As would be expected, there were few blips from an LSU offensive line going against a Sam Houston State front. In fact, RG Hoko Fanaika was the only lineman to record more than one blip (a “blip” is a missed block that resulted in a poor carry).
  • There were lots of booms (an above-average block that resulted in a substantial carry). Who had the most? The same guy who had those blips. Fanaika had four booms. He looked good. LSU’s running attack is targeting the right side of the line (Fanaika/RT Jerald Hawkins) more than you’d think.
  • Hawkins and TE Dillon Gordon each had two booms. Gordon had a really fine game blocking. He’s clearly LSU’s best blocking tight end, but junior college transfer Colin Jeter also had a solid game.
  • Evan Washington played at two spots in the game. With the first-string line, he played two series at each right guard and left guard. He was playing left guard while with the second group.
  • Random note here: TE Travis Dickson seems to be in the doghouse after his fumble in the win over Wisconsin. He played just one or two plays in the first three quarters. Dickson didn’t help his cause – he was flagged for a false start during one of those plays.PocicAnkle
  • Injury update: center Ethan Pocic’s right ankle rolled underneath Washington’s leg during a second-quarter play. That’s how Pocic sprained his ankle. A photo of it is to your left. Doubt he returns real soon.

Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)

  • Both quarterbacks played well. Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris each had only one misfire (a “misfire” is a poor pass). Jennings had about a half-dozen of those against Wisconsin.
  • Jennings continued to show a knack for the long ball, but he seems to be having an issue with spreading around the ball. The QB is honed in on WR Travin Dural, something that could hurt LSU against more capable opponents. For instance, a whopping eight of Jennings’ 13 attempts were intended for Dural.
  • Jennings didn’t just show his long-ball ability. He hit Trey Quinn on a beautifully thrown out route toss, and he had two good runs and a nice scramble.
  • Brandon Harris showed just why recruiting sites ranked him as the No. 3 dual threat QB. Harris had a tackle-breaking 46-yard touchdown run and slung some lasers. SEC Network analyst Jesse Palmer called one of Harris’ throw “a hose” and continuously cited the QB’s natural ease in passing.Bw-B_2qIUAAf0Co
  • Also, give credit to Jerald Hawkins for shoving Harris during his long TD run (red square).

Backing it up (FB/RB analysis)

  • Leonard Fournette continued to bounce plays outside and find little success. Many of the plays were designed outside, and just didn’t have much success. It seems as if LSU coaches are determined to get him outside of the hashes, but he can’t seem to find much running room. He had his most success up the middle, specifically his great vision on the 40-yard run. FournetteYell
  • As for that Heisman Trophy pose after the touchdown, coach Les Miles had something to say about that. And he spent about 20-30 seconds chewing into Fournette’s ear.
  • Magee had little running room, but he fulfilled his role as a blocker. He had two booms, one during a run and another while in pass protection. FournetteOption
  • Check out the photo to the right. Kenny Hilliard, at fullback, and Fournette, during one play, are in the backfield together. LSU runs, basically, a triple option. QB Anthony Jennings has the option to hand off to Hilliard for a dive play (which he does) or keep it and run the option with Fournette.
  • Injury news: FB Connor Neighbors suffered his bone bruise when Magee stepped on his foot during a running play. Neighbors immediately grimaced and held his left foot. He never returned.

Five-yard Out (receiver analysis)DupreCatch

  • Receivers had a banner day, specifically Travin Dural. Each Dural and Malachi Dupre had what we classified as “great grabs.” They were catches that took extra skill. Both came for touchdowns. See Dupre’s above. He fully extended on a Brandon Harris pass that was slightly overthrown. Here’s Dural’s catch.

Front Seven (Defensive linemen and linebacker analysis)

  • Again, we only analyzed the first three quarters of this blowout, but it’s clear who stood out more than anyone on LSU’s defense: Danielle Hunter. The rangy defensive end had five “kill points,” a combination of “pressures” and “attacks.” A pressure is given for a pressure on a quarterback that results in a poor offensive play. An attack is an above-average hustle play that results in a poor play.
  • Linebacker Kwon Alexander played just the first three series of the game. LSU’s radio crew reported that Alexander suffered a stinger against Wisconsin. In just three drives, Alexander had a pressure and an attack.
  • Here’s a note about the Mustang: Deion Jones replaced Alexander and played about two full quarters. During the Mustang, he often got into a three-point stance on the line.

Break It Up (secondary analysis)

  • We only counted about three real missed tackles for the entire first three quarters. Two of them came from safety Ronald Martin, both on the same play (the other was LB Deion Jones). Outside of that, the secondary had a solid game. No busted coverages, and several nice plays.
  • Dwayne Thomas, LSU’s nickel back, registered two attacks, and Tre’Davious White had a nice pass breakup.

LSU Camp Review: Week 1

Les Miles and LSU head into Week 2 of fall camp Monday.

Les Miles and LSU head into Week 2 of fall camp Monday.


Where They Stand

LSU completed its first week of fall practice on Saturday with the team’s first two-a-days (both practices were completely closed to reporters). The Tigers are one-quarter of the way through preseason practices and will have their first scrimmage (closed) Saturday.

Three Questions Answered

Jamal Adams got the best of Malachi Dupre during the Big Cat drill.

Jamal Adams got the best of Malachi Dupre during the Big Cat drill.

  • Who has the edge at right guard? It appears that senior Hoko Fanaika has, at least, a slight edge in the battle with Evan Washington for the starting right guard spot. Still, there’s a way to go with this competition.
  • How much will freshman WR Malachi Dupre be involved in the offense? A lot. We’ve seen Dupre working with the veterans/starters during the first four days of split-squad scrimmages. He’s impressed teammates and coaches.
  • Who among the young defensive tackles will step up? Frank Herron. Coach Les Miles called Herron a “beast” earlier this week, and players have raved about Herron’s non-stop motor. He appears to be the favorite to take over for injured Quentin Thomas.
Leonard Fournette was the No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation.

Leonard Fournette was the No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation.

Three Questions Unanswered

  • Who will replace Odell Beckham Jr. as the return man? Miles would not reveal any names when asked this week, and reporters aren’t privy to those portions of practice. Travin Dural and Terrence Magee are listed on the depth chart, but that’s not in stone.
  • Is Leonard Fournette living up to the hype? The No. 1 question fans want answered. Stop asking. We might not know until Aug. 30. Reporters have only seen him for a brief time in full pads. One thing’s clear – he’s a big guy, especially in pads.

Best Of Week 1

  • Mills returns: Jalen Mills, booked on a felony, was charged for misdemeanor simple battery. That was enough for Miles. He allowed Mills to return to a D that needs him. He knows every position, is expected to start at safety and be the secondary’s signal-caller.

Worst Of Week 1

Quentin Thomas, the day before his season-ending injury. (BILL FEIG)

Quentin Thomas, the day before his season-ending injury. (BILL FEIG)

  • Thomas out: Projected starting defensive tackle Quentin Thomas tore his biceps and is out for the season. A redshirt junior, Thomas leaves the tackle position low on experience. The Tigers have just one other tackle who’s played meaningful game snaps.

Trending Down

  • Defensive line: Thomas’ injury is a hit to the depth and experience at tackle.
  • Offense: Miles said earlier this week that the D is head of the O. Time to get it in gear.

Trending Up

  • Leonard Fournette: His pure size is enough to have fans drooling about the prospects.
  • Linebackers: This deep, strong unit is full of experience and talent.

Summer Scouting: New Mexico State

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: Sept. 27 (time TBA)
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: vs. MississippiState and at Auburn

Team glance

  • Coach (year): Doug Martin (2nd year)
  • 2013 record: 2-10 (independent)
  • 2013 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 11
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 9th in Sun Belt


Passing game: Tyler Rogers, a dual-threat QB who transferred from Arizona Western, has been a central figure in the off season in Las Cruces. He passed for 1,832 yards and 14 touchdowns (seven interceptions) last season as a freshman in junior college. He also ran for 364 yards and a team-best 10 scores. New MexicoState lost its top receiver, Austin Franklin, early to the NFL. Franklin’s 670 yards receiving last year was 366 more than the next guy.


Offensive line: The Aggies lose their top receiver and running back, but they return a whopping four starters on the offensive line, including three upperclassmen. Senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a 6-2, 295-pounder from Texas who has drawn the eyes of NFL scouts. He was one of 64 centers on the 2014 Remington Trophy watch list released last month.


The defense: This unit lost a whopping seven starters, but that might not be a negative. Last year’s defense finished 124th out of 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense. The Aggies allowed 549 yards a game. That was the worst by nearly 20 yards. Nine opponents in 2013 scored 40 or more points against New MexicoState and one put up 66. That unit lost four starters among the front seven and three defensive backs.

Summer Scouting: Louisiana-Monroe

Pete Thomas is on his third school after transferring to Louisiana-Monroe this spring. (AP)

Pete Thomas is on his third school after transferring to Louisiana-Monroe this spring. (AP)

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: 6 p.m., Sept. 13
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: vs. Sam Houston State and vs. Mississippi State

Louisiana-Monroe at a glance

  • Coach (year): Todd Berry (5th)
  • 2013 record: 6-6 (4-3, t3rd Sun Belt)
  • 2013 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 13
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 3rd in Sun Belt


Third time charm: Quarterback Pete Thomas transferred from Colorado State to North Carolina State and, now, to Louisiana-Monroe in May. He missed spring practice with the Warhawks, but the California native is expected to be the favorite to claim the starting job. Thomas was a former four-star rated recruit by Rivals.com. Because of coaching changes at Colorado State and NC State, he’s in Louisiana. Thomas will have to win the job in fall camp over junior Brayle Brown. In 30 career games with both Colorado State and NC State, Thomas has thrown for 5,936 yards, 22 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.


WR Rashon Ceasar: The speedster from Clinton caught 65 passes for 964 yards a year ago. He led the Warhawks receiving corps in yards by nearly 600 and had 23 more catches than the next guy. An All-Sun Belt second team member last season, Ceasar also doubles as a punt returner. He took one 88 yards for a score last season.


Offensive line: The Warhawks have to replace two starters on a front that really struggled a year ago. UL-Monroe was toward the bottom in the Sun Belt in sacks allowed and rushing yards a game, stats that point to a weak O-line. The team has shifted a few of its returning starters to different spots on the front. The Warhawks hope that – and the fact that the line will include five seniors – will improve the unit.

Previous posts