Behind Enemy Lines: The Daily Reveille's Hannah Martin talks Alabama vs. LSUBy Matthew Speakman | 11/02/2017 1:24pm
Hannah Martin is the sports editor of the Daily Reveille.
Alabama and LSU will meet at primetime on CBS for yet another year. As expected, both teams are ranked and have key wins this season. Ed Orgeron and LSU started slow out of the gate, but have since won three straight games. Alabama has owned the series in this decade, winning six straight games over the Tigers. To get more insight on LSU, we talked to Hannah Martin, the sports editor of The Daily Reveille. Here is what she had to say:
Q: What do you think has been behind Alabama’s winning streak over LSU?
A: Nick Saban’s coaching style has pushed Alabama to be one of the most elite football programs in the country. That’s no question. His attention to detail sets his coaching style apart from many others. Overall, better players and better coaching, as simple as that sounds. Each year, Alabama is an overall better team and a lot falls on the quarterbacks that Alabama has had over the years. Jalen Hurts will be a big threat to LSU’s defense and they haven’t faced a quarterback like him yet. And now this year, LSU is heading into the game as a 21.5 point underdog – the biggest underdog it has been since 1994.
Q: How has LSU improved since the loss to Troy?
The loss to Troy was a wake up call for LSU. It was definitely a turning point in the season. At Orgeron’s press conference Monday, he talked about how this is the healthiest the team has been all season. With the health on the team now, they’re all confident. If a guy goes down, they’re not scrambling to fill his spot, which was an issue in the trenches.
Q: How have feelings about Coach O changed since that loss?
A: Immediately following the loss to Troy, LSU fans were ready to jump ship with Orgeron as the captain. But Orgeron proved his place with three big time SEC wins against Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss. Talk of parting ways with Orgeron was a heat of the moment type thing. Everyone has their critiques of him, but he still needs a fair chance to prove himself.
Q: How crucial has it been to get Derrius Guice healthy?
A: Having Derrius Guice on the field for LSU’s offense is a game changer for the Tigers. Something LSU has struggled with is being able to run up the middle and through the gaps, mostly because of offensive line troubles. Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette are great backups and do what they’re suppose to do, but it's crucial to have an explosive running back like Guice; otherwise, LSU wouldn’t have a run game against bigger SEC opponents. Guice’s performance against Ole Miss alone proved how much he can change the game when he is healthy.
Q: How has this rivalry changed since Saban arrived at Alabama? Do you feel Nick Saban is at the heart of this rivalry?
A: Honestly, I feel like Saban created the rivalry between the two. Before Saban went to Alabama, the team hadn’t been good for years. And historically, Alabama and LSU weren’t big rivals. For LSU, it was Ole Miss and Florida. The Saban era of Alabama football fueled the rivalry between the two. Each year for LSU, the Alabama game seems to make or break the season as a whole. Like Devin White said in an interview on Monday, a rivalry is between teams that beat each other back and forth. LSU hasn't beaten Alabama since 2011.
Q: What do you think are the keys to LSU pulling off the upset?
A: LSU and Alabama play very similar defenses. The 3-4 scheme that Dave Aranda and Jeremy Pruitt run are pretty much alike. LSU and Alabama both utilize their pass rushers to the best of their ability with the 3-4 scheme. So seeing Arden Key up against Alabama will be huge for LSU. I have a feeling it will be a similar outcome to last season, where the first offense to strike will be dangerous. If LSU can slow down Alabama’s run game and not dig themselves into a hole, they could potentially complete the upset. Unlikely, however. I don’t see either team putting up 20+ points against these defenses.
Q: Give us a score prediction