If you watch a given NFL game in 2019, you’ll probably see and hear about the influence of the spread and air raid offense, which has taken a serious foothold in the Big 12. That influence is being felt in the SEC as well, even with programs known best for power in the trenches, like Alabama and LSU.
Last year, ‘Bama turned the offense over to Tua Tagovailoa. To get all of the elite Crimson Tide weapons on the field around him, you’ll see the team go four-wide, with All-Conference level talent all over the field.
LSU’s adaptation is more recent, with the hire of Joe Brady from Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints staff, to overhaul the long-dormant passing game. All of a sudden, Joe Burrow looks like a Heisman contender, after being a game manager in 2018.
The two teams have put the running games on the back-burner as a result. It has been named as a concern for Alabama, which is 55th in the country at 179.67 yards per game. Two years ago, when it won its last national title, Alabama averaged over 250 rushing yards per game.
The divide is even bigger for LSU, which averages just 115.33 yards per game on the ground.
On ESPN’s “The College Football Podcast with Herbie and Pollack,” former Georgia star David Pollack discussed this shift, wondering if one of these two “Big 12 teams in the SEC” would win the league, or if it will be his alma mater, which has the look of a classic SEC team.
Via Saturday Down South:
“I’m just curious who’s going to win the SEC,” Pollack said, “is it going to be a Big 12 team or a SEC team? And I say that because when you look at Alabama, and you look at LSU and you look at their styles of play right now: Lack of running game, throw the ball 30-40 times a game. What are we used to seeing that from?
“This used to be in the Big 12. That’s what they do. Spread the ball all around and throw it all over the yard. (People used to say), ‘You don’t have a run game, so you don’t deserve to be in the conversation among the best teams.’ Well who’s the difference? Georgia. Georgia’s the old-school SEC team. They’re gonna literally line up with two tights, and they’re gonna smash you in the mouth. They make no bones about it that they’re going to be physical with play action off of it.
“Alabama and LSU are pass-first offenses. Completely shifted from what they used to be, so how intriguing is this going to be? We got the Big 12 within the SEC, and it’s going to be really fun.”
Some fans won’t like it, but Pollack is sure to note he’s not among them. It may not be “classic SEC football” when Alabama and LSU face off later this year, but given some of the rock fights we’ve seen in that rivalry, it could be a welcome change.