Post-game review: Central Michigan



Okay, fears of a repeat of Troy have been dismissed. Okay, sure. They were probably never well founded since this Trojan team was actually quite good and CMU is enough … not like that, but still it was similar in mind. The big difference between this week and the last wasn’t the opponent (in fact CMU is a better opponent than McNeese), it wasn’t even primarily a pattern (despite a better RPO deployment and a conscious effort to throw vertically), that was the execution. They didn’t necessarily strengthen their protections, they just protected better. Max Johnson was by far, much more decisive and aggressive with football once kept clean and which produced solid results despite some patchy moments. The biggest takeaway of the night, of course, was the emergence of young star receivers Deion Smith and Jack Bech, who could form a dominant trio with Kayshon Boutte going forward and next season.

Game recap

Like last week, the game summary will be much more general, since it was a cupcake game where the result was never in doubt. LSU started to burn, with a TD reader followed by a scoop n score. The rest of the game would play out very similarly, filled with big plays from Deion Smith and Jack Bech, and none of Central’s offense. LSU mostly bombarded them with touchdowns until the end of the first half. At the start of the second half, Max Johnson threw a poor 6 pick before being lifted for Nussmeier, but the game was long over at this point. From there, nothing else really happened other than Corey Kiner making the clown of sad CMU saves.

Film review

Like I said earlier, the schematics and play calls haven’t really changed that much, but they have changed a bit. The protection philosophy hasn’t changed much, despite a few glimmers of heavier protections (a lot more please, 7 protections with or without control should be standard on early downs, not an exception), but they were. much more aggressive. shots down across the board anyway. The line was holding on and Johnson was pulling the trigger, so Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas showed a little more confidence in their offense to let it tear up the pitch and generate explosive plays. Unless they’re willing to beef up the wards and use more gameplay action, I can’t believe it will trickle down to tough opponents, but whatever, it was cool to see them shoot and generating explosive games, very cool to see the line looking half-competent, and of course insanely cool to see the receivers emerge.

The first shot of the game is a window into what I would like the LSU offense to be a lot more like. You have one game action, 7 man protection (with a chip release by Bech and a check release by Davis-Price). The concept is a cover batsman 3, receiver X at the limit is doing a deep return (? I think that’s supposed to be the case, maybe he is reacting to the ball here, needs the All 22 for that here), and the lunge runs a deep behind it. Reading these types of concepts (if that’s actually it) is the corner limit, the third player in depth. If it stays low on the return, you start the deep over, if it continues to move away deeply towards the over, you start the comeback under it. Johnson hangs on Boutte and gives a bad read. Good concept, bad read.

Thanks to LSU’s broadcast and tempo, I can kill two birds with a gif here. First, the RPO in the previous room. LSU ran it through the night, I’ll have to see it run more and run it in different options over the course of the year to see what the exact pre-hook keys are to determine which post-hook key the QB is supposed to read. (i.e. if it’s 2 high, read this defender, 1 high, read this one). But Johnson’s reading is simple, if a strong hook collapses in the run throw the stopping route behind it, if it stays on the stopping route give the ball away.

For the second play, it’s just a big boy throw on 4 greens. The safety of the limit has to cover the middle read by receiver number two, so the corner has no safety help and is beaten, Johnson makes the throw. By the way, how good is Deion Smith ?!

I’m starting to worry a bit about the busts. Not like last year, because there were like 5 per game last year like that, but it’s still not great. LSU is playing cover 6 here, also known as quarter-quarter-half. So the wedge takes a deep quarter, the field safety takes a deep quarter, the boundary safety takes the deep half, and the boundary wedge plays flat.

Major Burns had different ideas, I think he thought Stingley was taking the deep quarter instead of the flat and looking to poach the front side of the concept.

Again on the heels of that stop RPO from earlier, LSU dials 4 greens again and Johnson drops a BEAUTY to Brian Thomas Jr, who gets a vertical split on his guy despite having a little cousin. It’s a long throw, and shows Johnson can indeed put air and distance under it when he needs it, an absolute bombshell. Johnson did a handful of throws that showed you what a really good Max Johnson can look like.

INT was a pretty bad process. He has to anticipate here that the thief’s path will lead him to Moore’s drag road and the passing road behind it to Jenkins, which opens up. A better process led him to make this decision and pass it on to Jenkins at the height of his downfall. Even other than that, as Jordan Rodgers pointed out on the show, he needs to know that Moore is going to be settling in space here instead of bumping into the curl / flat defender. That’s what he’s learned to do, I believe, Johnson leads him right and throws a pick 6. Pretty lousy play.

In better news, the RPO X peek appears to be back. The reading, as it was in 19 and 20, is limit safety, if it swings down in the fit like it does, you throw the gaze post behind it. TD. This is a great answer when teams bring this security in the box as a race support or to obstruct your windows that go under windows, punish them for bringing it down by bringing it into conflict.



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