The collapse of the Cal defensive line in the second half last night shouldn't have been a surprise to the coaching staff. Oregon runs a play every 20 seconds, designed to wear down the defensive linemen. LSU recognized this a year ago and began preparing for this season's game against Oregon. Today's Wall Street Journal provided a detailed glimpse on how LSU's coaching staff addressed this threat:
By Scott Cacciola
LSU has earned the country's No. 1 ranking in college football largely through the strength of its defense, which has treated opponents like piñatas this season, holding them to a sniveling two yards per rushing attempt. As LSU puts its unbeaten record on the line against No. 17 Florida this weekend, this unit is inviting comparisons to some of the all-time greats.But if you have any preconceptions about how a great Southeastern Conference defense gets made, you might want to set them aside. For one thing, this team's starting linemen and linebackers are rather small by the overfed standards of the SEC—they're about 20 pounds lighter, on average, than their equivalents at Alabama. But what really makes this defense unusual is the force that drove its development. It was built on fear—the fear of Oregon.
In September 2010, after LSU agreed to open the 2011 season against the Ducks, head coach Les Miles began to scheme—and sweat. Renowned for its up-tempo, spread-the-field offense and its flair for innovation, Oregon was a game-planning nightmare. (The only team to beat the Ducks last year was Auburn, which had six weeks to plot.) "You can't prepare for an uptempo style of play in one week," former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "You can't do it in two weeks. It takes six weeks, minimum. If you can spend nine months on it, even better."
Miles and his staff recognized that losing to a PlayStation offense from the Pac-12 would be a tricky way to launch a season. But unlike many teams that have struggled to prepare for Oregon, LSU had a head start.
(For copyright reasons I can't include the entire article, but you hopefully can read the rest via this link).