Meyer's Seen This Before

LSU featuring two-quarterback system similar to Florida's last year

Oct. 5, 2007

College Football Preview: Week 6

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> B.J.: Lessons For Professors  |  Amsinger: Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Questions  |  Shake-Up Saturday
> Braff: Some Upsets Not So Surprising  |  Hart: Making Sense - And A Ballot - Out Of It All
> Trev: Don't Hate On South Florida  |  LSU The Weekend Pick   |  Blackburn: Rivalry Seeing Red
> Caparell: Polled Over  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions   |   B.J.: Quit Spinning, Texas
> Sorenson: 10 Most Underrated Things About College Football  |  Caparell: Meyer’s Seen This Before

By Adam Caparell

CSTV.com

 



ADAM CAPARELL

Adam is CSTV.com's football editor and national football writer.
E-mail here!

Football is a copy-cat sport and LSU is no different.

 

Florida's winning formula for national championship success last year revolved around a two-quarterback system as Urban Meyer shuffled Chris Leak and Tim Tebow in and out of the huddle.

 

And the Tigers, newly minted as the No. 1 team in the nation this week, happen to be doing something similar with their quarterback combo of Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux.


 

 

 

"I think the plays are different and the skills are different, but I think there are some similarities," LSU coach Les Miles said.

 

With Flynn playing the role of Leak and Perrilloux playing the part of Tebow, LSU is averaging 40 points per game, out-scoring opponents by 33 points per game and it's all by design.

 

"It's something we've really wanted to do, we just need the opportunity to get an athletic quarterback available," Miles said. "Ryan and Matt both possess similar skills."

 

Flynn, a senior, is the more accomplished passer while Perrilloux, just a sophomore, is the more gifted athlete and predominant runner -- ala Tebow.

 

And it's worked rather well for the Tigers. In LSU's two wins against ranked opponents -- Virginia Tech and South Carolina -- Flynn and Perrilloux have complimented each other quite nicely with Flynn doing nearly all the throwing and Perrilloux entering the game as a change-of-pace runner.

 

"We wanted to split those chores and give one more of the mobility issues and running duties, yet still have the ability to do both with both quarterbacks," Miles said.

 

But the two-quarterback system has also been implemented out of need, since Flynn has suffered the lasting of effects of a high ankle sprain. Flynn first went down against the Hokies and Perrilloux found himself the starter the next week against Middle Tennessee State. The sophomore filled in quite admirably in a big blowout win, only to relinquish starter status to Flynn the next week.

 

And just like Florida last year, there's no hint of a quarterback controversy. Flynn and Perrilloux know their roles; they're winning games because of it, something else Florida's offense accomplished last season.

 

Meyer certainly recognizes the similarities. He thinks the Tigers are running an offense close to what the Gators ran last year.

 

"Some people say it's a different type of offense," Meyer said. "I don't know if I agree with that."

 

But therein lies the problem for Meyer and his defense. They have to face a formidable offense in Baton Rouge that's loaded with speed and talent and one that features an array of different looks. From the single wing to the spread attack to the option, Meyer has to prepare his team for it all.

 

"It's just more to practice. Less time spent on fundamentals and more time spent on base plays," Meyer said.

 

The saving grace is that since Florida runs a number of similar schemes and plays, Meyer's defense sees them on a regular basis.  

 

"At least it's not completely foreign to them," Meyer said.

 

But there are several causes for concern for Meyer heading into Saturday night's showdown. Being such a young team, the Gators are the second-most penalized team in the nation and have a few issues on offense that cropped up during last week's unexpected loss to Auburn at home.

 

Florida can't run the ball right now and its big-play capabilities were stifled against Auburn. That doesn't bode well for the Gators as they head into their meeting with the best defense in the nation. That means Florida's success is going to fall onto Tebow's shoulders once again, as has pretty much been the case every week.

 

Tebow, firmly entrenched as the Gators' full-time quarterback with nary a hint of a two-quarterback system this year, is having a Heisman-caliber season. But he won't be able to do it all by himself. He won't be able to have his way running the ball and Meyer wants to limit Tebow's carries to begin with. Meyer is very cognizant of the wear and tear on the invaluable quarterback, fearful of having him burned out too early or injured for a significant stretch.

 

But the shear fact that the Florida offensive line has been banged up, featuring a freshman at right guard and now going up against the likes of Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson means Tebow's going to face constant pressure. So he'll be using his feet as much as, if not more than, his arm.  

 

"We're probably facing the best defensive line in the country so he's going to have to be a mobile quarterback this week," Meyer said.

 

And unlike Florida, the Tigers don't have to prepare for two quarterbacks. There's no backup quarterback coming off the Florida sidelines to change up their look like last year.

 

"We're not moving around quarterbacks this year because our backup hasn't earned that right," Meyer said. "I know I would not mind doing that again as soon as we can develop our backup. I think that's a heck of a weapon to have."

 

It's a weapon LSU is using to its distinct advantage and one that could send the Gators out of the national title picture with a second-straight loss. That's something the Gators have yet to experience under Meyer. He's never lost two in a row as Florida's coach and last week was his first loss at home since he came to Gainesville in 2005.

 

But can Meyer pull off the surprise and knock off the favored Tigers in the Bayou? If he does, it would be LSU's second-straight loss to the Gators and mark the first time Tigers were defeated since the first weekend of October last season.

 

That day LSU featured only one quarterback, and this year, they're trying on Florida's shoes for a change.  

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