Friday, October 19, 2012
Breakfast at Kyle Field for Tigers
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU had on its agenda this week meetings with the defense about how to stop Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, meetings with the offense about how to block Aggies defensive end Damontre Moore, and a meeting with the team's sleep doctor.
That's right, its sleep doctor.
With kickoff set for 11 a.m. CT on ESPN, the usually night-oriented LSU Tigers brought in a sleep doctor Monday to talk to the Tigers about the importance of rest.
"It's something that you want to listen to if you want to play at your best and have your peak performance," offensive tackle Josh Dworaczyk explained. He went on to say the target for athletes who want to perform at an optimal level is nine hours of sleep a night.
In that regard, the Tigers usually get to sleep in. Defensive tackle Bennie Logan said he'll sleep until 9 a.m. most mornings. At 9 a.m. Saturday, he'll be out of bed and getting ready to play at Kyle Field.
"I'll have to get used to getting up earlier," said Logan, who added they have had team study sessions scheduled in the morning this week to help the players gear their bodies to earlier wake-up calls.
One thing's for sure, some of LSU's tried-and-true sleep habits won't cut it this week.
"I have a loose schedule so I usually nap, like, 12 to 1," Dworaczyk said. "That's going to be the fourth quarter. I can't take a nap."
Neither can the sixth-ranked Tigers (6-1, 2-1), who can't afford to sleep on No. 18 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1).
Three Tigers to Watch
1. WR Odell Beckham, Jr.: Only Arkansas gives up more passing yards than Texas A&M, so there are yards to be gained in the passing game for LSU, most likely by the Tigers' best big play threat, who has struggled through the first half of the season.
2. DE Barkevious Mingo: If Manziel gets outside of the pocket, it could be trouble for LSU unless the Tigers' athletic front, none faster than Mingo, can close on him.
3. LG La'el Collins: With Dworaczyk, his coach on the field, next to him at left tackle, Collins plays with confidence and dominates defenders in the running game, especially when he devastates defenders by pulling to lead backs through a hole.
Three Aggies to Watch
1. Manziel: The most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the first half of the season, he's third in the SEC in passing and has gained 70 percent of his SEC-leading 676 rushing yards on scrambles, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
2. WR Mike Evans: With Manziel able to extend plays with his feet, keeping track of the SEC's third-best receiver (36 receptions, 549 yards) will be tough for the Tigers.
3. Moore: The SEC's leader in sacks (8.5 a game) and tackles for loss (15), Moore has become the designated playmaker in defensive coordinator Mark Snyder's 4-3 scheme.
Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel vs. LSU DE Sam Montgomery: Two of the best in the nation at their positions, Joeckel has the task of protecting Manziel's blindside from Montgomery, who has 4 sacks, including 2 last week on South Carolina's Connor Shaw.
By the numbers
12 -- First downs picked up rushing by Manziel this season on third-and-5 or longer, according to ESPN Stats & Information. On nine of those plays, Manziel scrambled on a designed pass play.
78.6 -- LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger's completion percentage in the Tigers' first three games on passes thrown 15 yards or farther downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
14.3 -- Mettenberger's completion percentage on passes thrown 15 yards or farther in three SEC games.
5 -- Leading rushers LSU has had in a game this season, and the number of starting offensive line combinations used by the Tigers.