PREVIEW: Arkansas offense vs. LSU defense

Arkansas RB Dennis Johnson

TSD's Austin Cooper previews Friday's big game when the Razorbacks have the football. How will John Chavis' defense counter?

Projected Starters

Arkansas Offense
QB Tyler Wilson, RB Dennis Johnson, WR Cobi Hamilton, WR Julian Horton, WR MeKale McKay, TE Chris Gragg, LT David Hurd, LG Tyler Deacon, C Travis Swanson, RG Alvin Bailey, RT Jason Peacock OR Brey Cook

LSU Defense
DE Sam Montgomery, DT Bennie Logan, DT Josh Downs, DE KeKe Mingo, WLB Lamin Barrow, MLB Kevin Minter, SLB Lamar Louis, CB Tharold Simon, FS Eric Reid, SS Craig Loston, CB Jalen Mills

Coming off of a 41 – 35 victory over Ole Miss last week, the LSU defense will be looking to improve on their mistakes from last game. Last week, the Tigers allowed 318 passing yards to the Rebels, something they will surely have to correct this week before taking on the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas.

TYLER WILSON VS. THE LSU SECONDARY

This could potentially end up being the most interesting matchup in this game. The LSU secondary will be expected to step up in a big way this week, given that Arkansas ranks third in the SEC in passing with 26.3 yards per contest. The LSU secondary must eliminate the big plays this week because the Razorbacks rank 12th in the conference in scoring offense, averaging 24.5 points per game. Against Ole Miss last week, the Tigers allowed two touchdowns of over 50 yards. The secondary of LSU can't allow that to happen this week because Arkansas can't be given breaks, or they have the potential to make you pay for them.

After last weeks performance the LSU defense slipped in the passing defense rankings, falling from first to third in the SEC. The LSU defensive backs must really focus on not allowing the big play to occur and they must focus on what they have been practicing all week, correcting mistakes from last week. I think we see a much more improved secondary this week, which is something that must happen to slow down Tyler Wilson and the Arkansas receivers. Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas will be one player that will have to be contained. Hamilton ranks first in the SEC in receptions, with 80, and receiving yards, with 1,237 and five touchdowns. If LSU can lock Hamilton down, the rest should be smooth sledding.

ARKANSAS RUNNING GAME VS. LSU LINEBACKERS

Entering the game this weekend, the Arkansas rushing attack ranks dead last in the SEC, averaging just over 120 yards per contest. This will be a big aspect of the Razorback game plan that the Tigers need to stop. Given the performance of both sides in this department, LSU should be able to control with rushing attack of the Razorbacks. LSU ranks third in the SEC in rushing yards allowed per game with 101.7.

LSU's Kevin Minter has made his presence felt at the middle linebacker position all season, and he will be counted on again this week. Minter comes into the game ranked third in the SEC in tackles with 101. Minter will have to anchor a line backer unit that will be expected to put a damper on the Razorback rushing attack early. LSU will have to stop Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis for the Razorbacks. Johnson enters the game ranked 13th in the SEC with 727 yards and 8 touchdowns. If LSU can get after Arkansas and their rushing attack early, it will force them into a one-dimensional style of offense, something that will be much easier for the Tigers to defend.

BATTLE IN THE TRENCHES

Perhaps the biggest uncertainty entering the game this weekend for LSU is whether or not they can get pressure on Tyler Wilson from whistle to whistle. IT was very evident last week what can happen to the LSU defense when the opposing quarterback is not pressured. Given that they are playing an Arkansas team that features a player like Tyler Wilson at quarterback, the LSU defense is aware that they need to get after him early. Arkansas enters the game ranking third in the conference in sacks allowed, averaging 1.55 per game. On the other side, the LSU defense averages 2.64 sacks per game, also good enough for third in the SEC.

It seems as though this could be said every week, but this game will once again be won up front. The front four for LSU will have to get pressure on Tyler Wilson in order to take pressure off of the Tiger secondary, otherwise it could be another long day for them. The defensive line of LSU will have their work cut out for them this week, as they will be expected to not only shut down the Arkansas rushing attack, but also get penetration through the line and pressure Tyler Wilson early on in the game to force mistakes and keep him out of rhythm. If the Tigers can do those things, they should be enjoying a victory on the evening after Thanksgiving.

TigerSportsDigest.com Recommended Stories