The LSU basic zone-run and the pitch-sweep

The LSU run game is one that uses its strength and power to beat you down throughout the game, pretty similar to the one run at Iowa. Their running attack this year was led by Jeremy Hill, a sophomore. Hill rushed the ball 175 times for 1185 yards, giving him a 6.8ypc average. For a main back in a power running game, that’s an astounding average and something Iowa if they want any chance of shutting LSU down, it starts and ends with limiting Hill.

LSU’s base run play is a simple off-guard zone. They run very tight splits, maybe a foot in-between at most, and run two tight ends almost every single play.

LSU's bread-and-butter run play, a simple off guard zone with the option to bounce out.

LSU’s bread-and-butter run play, a simple off guard zone with the option to bounce out.

On this specific play above, in the zone technique everyone is going to step right, but Auburn does a good job of playing the zone at the line. Auburn expected the off-guard zone, crashed it and end up paying for it here. Auburn’s middle linebacker comes up and fills the hole in between the center and the guard.

This allows the play to develop and the key block from the tight end to seal the outside allows a good hole to form for Hill, who takes it for a nice 10-yard gain.

LSU runs this play for a majority of their runs, whether it goes inside or outside doesn’t matter. From the games I have watched this is about two-thirds of their run plays.

They have a couple other ones, one of which I’d like to showcase. This is the best angled video I could find, the Tigers have been successful running this play, but this has two angles of how the play works.

Broadcast view:

pitchsweep

Endzone view:

pitchsweependzone

Beware of pulling guards and ten-ton fullbacks. This play scares me because of the way that LSU sets up their offense. The two people pulling on a play like this to the right would likely be LG Vadal Alexander (6-6 342) and FB J.C. Copeland (6-1 270). That is just a lot of size coming on a play where you have to make a very quick read or Hill is going to be through that hole before you can react.

The fullback here is Connor Neighbors, who could have with the pulling guard coming blocked the defensive end or the outside linebacker. He chips the end and fails to block the OLB and messes up the play there. If those two blocks do happen though it is at least going to be more than four or five yards, which is exactly what you want if you’re LSU.

Overall, LSU is going to be upfront with you about what it is trying to do. It is trying to shove the ball down your throat repeatedly just by out-B1Ging you. The tight splits, short zone steps really limit the amount of penetration that can happen. Then when they throw in some pulling and quick tosses, it can catch a team off-guard.

Hill had less than 100 yards in each of LSU’s losses, so if Iowa can keep him under that it’ll be a good start in what will be a run-heavy game for LSU with their starting QB Zack Mettenberger out with a torn ACL.

 

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