BATON ROUGE, La. - Sometimes, what may seem unconventional or experimental is nothing more than common sense to LSU coach Les Miles.
So it was when Miles explained why 11th-ranked LSU, on numerous plays, inserted four defensive ends at the same time to improve its pass rush during a 24-17 victory at South Carolina last weekend.
'Those four guys give us great quickness and get to the passer and work well together in terms of orchestrating a coordinated pass rush,' Miles said this week, referring to Kirston Pittman, Tyson Jackson, Tremaine Johnson and Rahim Alem.
'It just seems to be an advantage when you put those quicker guys on the field.'
Whether the scheme known as the 'Express' package works against No. 9 Georgia (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) and its experienced quarterback, Matthew Stafford, remains to be seen. But Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said he wouldn't be surprised if LSU tried it again on Saturday.
'I would think on third-and-long we'll see it for sure, and we might see it if we're in a certain personnel grouping,' Richt said. 'I don't think there's any doubt we'll see it. They had such great success with it.'
It certainly rattled Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia, a freshman making his first career start. Garcia was sacked six times (most in an SEC game for LSU since 2005), including twice when LSU had four defensive ends in the game and once when the Tigers had three defensive ends on the line.
Garcia also threw away or rushed a number of incompletions in the face of the Express alignment as the Tigers (5-1, 3-1) shut out South Carolina throughout the second half, then sealed the victory with an interception that came when Garcia threw under heavy pressure late in the fourth quarter.
Using schemes that favor quickness over size in long-yardage situations is by no means revolutionary. For LSU, however, using only defensive ends in their traditional four-man front - instead of leaving at least one or two tackles inside - was a new twist, Jackson said.
'It makes it that much easier (to get pressure) with all four of us in the game,' said Jackson, whose 4.5 sacks rank second in the SEC. 'There's a lot of speed but still a lot of size on the inside, so if they try to run the ball we can still prevent the run as much as possible.'