Admittedly, this could be dangerous, maybe hazardous to the common good.

You see, I don't often dabble in the X's and O's during these sermons.

Missed that class in college (along with a lot of others).

But this is low-hanging fruit.

So let's take a swipe at LSU and Florida, you know, from a technical football standpoint, the stuff that keeps the coaches up all night, afraid they might miss a tendency or whatever they do in front of those videos all week looking for that one missing piece to the puzzle.

Granted, it's not as much fun as going on YouTube to see how National Geographic can prove that a tiger will easily devour an alligator almost every time, sometimes with room for desert.

Not that the hype video drop and the endless GIFs (or is it a meme?) of mulletted Gators' fans in jorts aren't important to the cause.

And, I promise, we'll try to steer away from your cover-2 and your gap protection and even the ever-popular assignment football.

It would only make both of our heads hurt.

But come Saturday some of this X-and-O stuff is going to matter as much as how many tons of gator meat gets grilled in the LSU parking lot beforehand or which mascot head Lee Corso puts on during ESPN's "GameDay" in the campus quadrangle … not to mention who the celebrity game picker is.

For that matter, I truly wonder sometimes how many LSU fans could find the (academic-based ) quadrangle with a GPS but, you see, there we go getting off track with the fun stuff again.

Let's try, just this once, to keep the focus, to concentrate on the field.

You see, LSU-Florida shapes up something like one of those spring games in which, to get an even matchup, the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense are put on one team, with the No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense on the other.

In other words, you've got a really good offense (LSU) going against a monster defense (Florida) as the main event, followed by an OK offense (Gators) against a pretty OK defense (Tigers).

They all count. But LSU has to win that first battle.

OK? That's a given.

Much has been made this week of this not being your father's Tigers, with one of the big national stories how LSU has joined the spread-offense generation, and not a moment too soon.

And it's been a blast for all involved.


But the first five weeks were merely trial runs.

True, LSU wrung out the new model a little and pushed the envelope a bit at Texas, and it passed the stress test against the Longhorns.

So you know it can be trusted under pressure.

Maybe that was just some last-minute fine-tuning last week in slowing things down a tad against Utah State. Never know when it might come in handy.

But all the testing and tinkering and double-checking was building toward this stretch run through the SEC, beginning with the Gators, who probably have the best defense LSU will see all season.

This is why head coach Ed Orgeron and the Tigers made the big leap in the offseason.

Believe me, it wasn't so they could show off and score 66 points against Vanderbilt.

But it was games like this week, with Florida, that the old mores and traditional tactics weren't always getting it done.

"All the SEC teams," Orgeron explained, "I knew that they were scoring points and we weren't. I knew that we had the athletes. I knew we had the coaches. We just had to change our system. It took a while. But finally we hit it right.

"I couldn't ask for a better coordinator than Steve Ensminger. He's the general. Then have a young guy like (passing game coordinator) Joe Brady come along to teach the offense, and Steve just kind of monitor it and call it. I think it's the perfect scenario for right now."

We'll see.

LSU's receivers can get open, and they don't drop many. You know all about Joe Burrow at quarterback.

But you can get an offense as slippery as quicksilver, but at some point you still have to block somebody.

And that's what this game comes down to. I can't recall a week when the game key looked so simple.

And it's still the closest thing to a question mark about this newfangled thing.

In fact, hardly a news conference has gone by without Orgeron, in response to more media gushing about this thrilling new, don't-pinch-me attack, not disagreeing but finishing by pointing out "Yeah … as long as we protect our quarterback."

That's it.

I suspect the Tigers may be wasting their time trying to establish a running game against Florida, but if they happen to stumble onto 100 yards worth, I'd like the Tigers' chances.

It won't matter if they semi-protect Burrow.

But that's a big if. Florida's 26 sacks is third in the nation and the Gators have 20 pressures per game. The Gators do it while blitzing only a handful of times per game.

"This is by far the best pass rush we've seen," Orgeron said. "I've said every day we're going to be tested, and this is what I was talking about."

In last year's Florida victory the Gators sacked Burrow five times.

One of the reasons for going to the new offense was that is supposedly takes pressure off the line by spreading the field.

Surely, the old bunch-formation tactics weren't doing much good over the years.

This also allows the quarterback to get rid of the ball more quickly with more options to throw to.

But right there in the trenches ­— be it by brute force or creative scheming — is where this game will be won or lost.

Just something to thing about.

Now back to your regularly scheduled trash talking.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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