During its seven game losing streak to Alabama, LSU has scored an average of 10.4 points per game. According to one coach who knows both teams well, this could be the Tigers chance for an offensive breakthrough against the Crimson Tide defense.
“They’re not as deep as we’ve seen them in the last few years,” Pete Jenkins said Monday on my radio show. “Recruiting is like shaving, if you don’t do it every day, you get to looking like a bum.”
Jenkins is noted as arguably the greatest defensive line coach in the history of the game. He came out of retirement and spent the last two seasons coaching defensive line at LSU under his protégé, Ed Orgeron, before retiring following the 2017 season. His career spanned more than fifty years, which included three stints to LSU. Jenkins still consults different programs, including working last spring and fall with, among others, Alabama and LSU.
“It is not what it was at one time—I’ll be honest with you,” Jenkins said after listing the massive defensive personnel and coaching turnover that Bama sustained this offseason. “They don’t have great depth.”
“They’ve been growing week-to-week. I think they’re really developing. They had some good ballplayers. They just didn’t have returning guys.”
Alabama’s national ranking would seem to back up Jenkins’ observation. The Tide are 16th in total defense, 21st in rushing defense and 33rd in passing defense. While those rankings are still strong, they are hardly Alabama-esq. For example, since 2011, the Tide have not finished lower than 7th nationally in rush defense and led the nation three times.
“It’s not the normal Bama defense we’ve been used to seeing for the last ten years,” Jenkins said. “It lacks depth and it lacks experience.”
Despite defensive warts, Alabama is two votes shy of being a consensus No. 1 in both major polls. That is thanks to, in large part, an offense leading the nation in scoring at 54 points-per-game.
“Ray Charles could see the quarterback (is great),” he joked, alluding the Tua Tagovailoa. “It’s an offensive oriented type football team.”
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