Ed-itorial: LSU offense great, defense with some catching up to do

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - NOVEMBER 16: Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers catches the ball for a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

After the games of November 16th, including LSU’s 57-38 win over Ole Miss, some numbers stick out in college football.

Here’s the rankings in total defense for the top 4 ranked teams in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State is number 1 in total defense, Clemson is #2, Georgia is 6, and LSU is number 49.

So, should there be concern for the defense, if and when LSU reaches the playoff?

Yes, absolutely.

After watching the tape, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda should give safety Grant Delpit, a week off, maybe more.

Delpit is clearly still hurting from an ankle sprain.

On a long TD run by Ole Miss quarterback John Ryhs Plumlee, Delpit was in position to make the tackle, but could not make the play.

Delpit was also exposed on Ole Miss’ last TD. Playing deep, Delpit attempted to close on a receiver, who ran right by him.

LSU won’t need Delpit to beat Arkansas, and Ed Orgeron could perhaps rest him for the Texas A&M game, too.

But, it might be the break after the SEC championship and before a potential national semifinal, where Delpit will have three weeks between games, and a chance to get healthy.

On several big runs, LSU was caught over pursuing.

Remember some of the big plays the LSU defense made running down Alabama runs from the back side a week ago?

Ole Miss picked up on that, and made the Tigers pay.

On a long TD by Plumlee in the third quarter, outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson crashed on the inside run.

When he did, and Plumlee kept the ball, he had clear sailing around the corner to the end zone.

LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should turn pro.

CEH, a junior, could return for his senior season. But, how much will he improve his draft stock?

Running back is a high risk position, and there’s nothing else for Edwards-Helaire to prove on the college level.

He’s an outstanding receiver, and runner, with an incredible knack for changing direction on a dime.

After watching every Edwards-Helaire touch in the Ole Miss game, I counted 61 extra yards after Edwards-Helaire made either a defender completely miss, or he ran through contact.

Ole Miss played zone, often cover 2 for much of the game. And, they still got torched for 58 points.

The LSU offense is a very tough cover.

Joe Burrow, who could be the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft, is throwing to two potential first round picks, wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall.

Inside at the slot receiver, is Justin Jefferson, a very tough cover, who can take a short throw and turn it into a big play.

Tight end Thaddeus Moss is an NFL talent, and then there’s Edwards-Helaire, who has proven he’s one of the best players in college football.

And, the offensive line is anchored by center Lloyd Cushenberry, who could play in the NFL for a long time.

Late in the game, Ole Miss blitzed Burrow with 6 rushers. He calmly found Chase over the middle. Chase broke a tackle and raced to the end zone to complete a 61 yard play.

The offense is elite, but the defense must improve if LSU is to win an SEC and national championship.

 

 

 

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