Barbay: LSU-Alabama to be won ‘in the trenches’

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Former LSU defensive lineman Roland Barbay may be partial to the guys up front, but for all of the amazing skill talent that will be on display in Saturday’s 1-2 showdown between the Tigers and Alabama, it may come down to those nearest the line of scrimmage.

“I think the two teams are evenly matched,” Barbay said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. “What it’s going to come down to is execution. You’ve got to win in the trenches – the big guys up front. It’ll never get away from that.

“It doesn’t matter how fast your guys are, (the lineman) have to play ball.”

The new offense implemented this year by Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger have allowed LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and his wide receivers to excel.

“Now they’re putting (athletes) in space to make plays,” Barbay said. “When they implemented this new style of offense, it just lets those guys thrive.

“Burrow’s the front-runner for the Heisman. I may be biased, but he does everything well. He’s a very smart guy; he’s a tough guy. That (Alabama) defense, they have a lot to stop to stop Joe.”

In addition to the offensive changes, Barbay notes another subtle change that has produced dividends in Baton Rouge. “I think Coach O brought a new culture into that locker room,” he added.

The buildup for Saturday afternoon’s game is certainly warranted, for several reasons.

“I think all the hype this week is for a few reasons,” Barbay said. “For one, you’ve got the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, (and) LSU has not had a lot of success against this team.”

Can LSU break the eight-game Alabama winning streak in the series?

“I think (LSU) is catching up,” Barbay said, “and has the players to do it.”

Kickoff on Saturday is at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS.

“It’s an exciting time to be an LSU fan,” Barbay said. “I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait for Saturday.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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