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November 8, 2010

LSU Tigers After 9

After nine games the LSU Tigers are 8-1 and doing just fine.  The three games left on LSU's schedule - ULM, Ole Miss, and Arkansas - will be challenging but LSU has a real chance at an 11-1 season.  A single score loss to a very strong Auburn team at Jordan Hare Stadium is nothing to be ashamed about and LSU has proven that they can play with any team in the country.  After studying the Auburn and Alabama games it is my opinion that Alabama is a better team than Auburn.  If LSU and Alabama played six games against each other this year, the two teams would very likely each have 3 wins.  If LSU and Auburn played six games, LSU would win five of those games.  Auburn is a great team but, John Chavis would only need one more shot at preparing LSU's defense for Cam Newton and company.  The analysts had it almost right when they claimed that Alabama was the best one loss team in the country but Alabama brought their "A" game to LSU and LSU proved to be the best one loss team in the country.  The LSU/Alabama game was a clean, fair, hard fought battle and I think either team could beat any team in the country.  If you missed the game, you will not see a better contest or two better teams in the BCS National Championship.

During the Alabama game three Tigers were injured.  Safety Brandon Taylor is likely out for the season but the word is that corner back Morris Claiborne and offensive tackle Alex Hurst are both likely to be back at full strength by the Ole Miss Game in two weeks.  This week's ULM game ought to be a great opportunity to play a number of different players and allow players that may be a little nicked up to get in a light workout.  I mean no disrespect to ULM or mean to imply that LSU should not take ULM seriously.  What we have learned is that LSU has some world class back ups.  It was not surprising to see even freshmen backups on LSU's defense play so very well but, it seemed obvious that LSU has more depth on the offensive line than previously believed.  Let's take a closer look at the LSU/Alabama game.  I will give you my take position by position.

Alabama QB Greg McElroy played a solid game completing 21 of 34 passes for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns.  However, McElroy threw a rare interception and lost a fumble during a crucial part of the game.  LSU QBs Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee pass for a total of six yards in the first quarter and combined for less than 40 yards total passing before the final 1:24 of the first half.  The two LSU quarterbacks, particularly Jefferson, had a much better second half finishing with more than 200 yards for the game a touchdown and no turnovers.  Jefferson hooked up with Rueben Randle for a touchdown pass of more than 70 yards that was a thing of beauty and Lee put the game away with a beautiful long pass to Randle on the Tigers final drive of the game.  Lee's final pass took time off the clock and gave the Alabama defense an impossibly long field to drive in their final attempt.  McElroy may still be one of the best quarterbacks in the country but LSU's defense and solid play from LSU's two quarterbacks in all fairness makes this position a tie and a tie at the QB position is all LSU needs to beat any team this year.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The Julio Jones - Patrick Peterson matchup was a major storyline for this game and Jones 10 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown was absolutely a solid game for the Alabama wide receiver. However, Jones was not the best wide receiver in the LSU/Alabama game.  Rueben Randle caught only three passes but those three passes combined for 125 yards, a touchdown and a two point conversion reception.  Randle's touchdown went for 75yards and include eluding and then flat outrunning Mark Barron, Alabama's All American Safety.  LSU tight end Deangelo Peterson contributed a solid two receptions for 25 yards but made a real difference in the game with his 4th and 1, 23yard run that setup LSU's final go ahead touchdown.

The Lines
LSU offensive line gave up only one sack in the game that occurred in the first half.  When LSU tackle Alex Hurst went down with an injury there was an audible gasp let out by all of Tiger Nation but backup OT Greg Shaw played much better than advertised.  LSUs offensive line paved the way for a solid offensive outing that included more than 200 yards on the ground (225yards) and more than 200 yards through the air (208yards) against a very solid Alabama defense.  In the contest between LSU's offensive line and Alabama's defensive line I have to give the edge to LSU. And I have to wonder if LSU might consider rotating in more offensive linemen in future games.

Alabama's offensive line gave up three sacks.  The third sack resulted in a fumble.  Alabama's first touchdown drive temporarily stalled with a first down and inches to score.  That first Alabama touchdown came only after three attempts and a replay review because of a last second effort by Trent Richardson to barely inch the ball across the goalline as he was going down.  LSU'sBrockers, and Barkvious "KeKe" Mingo are all redshirt freshmen this year.  Can you imagine the potential for LSU's D-line for the next three years?

Both Alabama's and LSU's defenses played like champions Saturday.  

LSU punter, Josh Jasper has now rushed three times for an average of 15 yards a rush which prompted my friend Charlie to recommend that LSU start recruiting punters that have played running back in high school.
Jasper had a nice 29 yard fake punt run in the third quarter.  You have to wonder if Jasper missed a 45 yard field goal on that drive from being either winded or still excited about the run.  I wonder if the recruiting services give 40yard times for prospective kickers and punters?

My final word on the LSU/Alabama game is that was a great game of two very fine teams playing to the top of their potential and I was really glad to see the game and proud to be an LSU fan this last Saturday.

LSU still has three games left on the schedule and dominating performances might be what is necessary to give the Tigers a final push into the BCS Championship.  Even with three dominating performances the Tigers may still fall short of the title game but, the Tigers cannot control everything except how they approach each of the remaining games on their schedule.    Hopefully, a bit of early game miscues and struggles against McNeese State alerted the Tigers to the fact that no team should be taken lightly as they approach this Saturday's game against ULM.  While I hope a large number of LSU players see playing time against ULM, I hope that the LSU players and coaches will respect the game, themselves, and their opponent enough to bring their best game.  Houston Nutt for some reason really coaches well against LSU.  Nutt did well when he coached Arkansas and he has done a solid job with Ole Miss.  Ole Miss's record is no indication of how dangerous they could be facing the Tigers in the second to the last game in the regular season.  LSU should be 10-1 entering the season's final game against Arkansas and a slip up before the Arkansas game will not sit well with any associated with Tiger Nation.  However, Arkansas has a solid enough running game to keep defenses honest and arguably the best passing offense in the Nation.  Arkansas is a legitimate top ranked team but the Tigers should match-up well against the Razorbacks.  I think there is a very good chance that LSU will be 11-1 this season and should Georgia and Alabama manage to beat Auburn, I think LSU will have a legitimate shot at the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship.  Georgia and Alabama certainly may beat Auburn but even if that does not come to fruition, LSU should finish 11-1 and finally crush some team in a bowl.  I think some Tiger fans fail to realize how many young players have contributed this year to the Tiger's success.  Tiger fans have several good years to look forward to.  This year, after nine, LSU has proven to be just fine.


Anonymous said...

Good analysis Bob! GEAUX TIGERS!!! WIN OUT!!!

Anonymous said...

The way Jefferson calmed down to lead the LSU offense against Alabama in the second half..Has me relaxed to,I am feeling a lot better about the next three games..I have a very good view of next years LSU football season to..It was of course, the winning over Alabama,that seemed to healed me..But the way this LSU team played, in defeating Alabama,that showed me, what I wanted to see.
I have fount, what I was looking for.A real very talented, smart, LSU tiger football team.
What a beautiful sight.

Anonymous said...

I have been talking (bad) about Les Miles all year...I must eat crow, this week,because that man Les Miles,
coached a great football game,Alabama,LSU...The Les Miles supporters, must be feeling good today,because they stayed true, and tall,even in the face of defeat,supporting Les Miles.
Les Miles is the talk of Broadway,not Nick Saban...If Les Miles wins the next three game...Les Miles and LSU will be a very shining star, in college football for years to come.
I will be stuck,with honey all over me,running away from bee's.
Do you think that some of that grass, Les Miles eats, might help me???

Anonymous said...

25% of the top 20 teams in the nation, are in the SEC West.

Anonymous said...

Hay,did you see Nick Saban, running around telling everyone, that his Alabama football players just do not get it???
Because, after all,Les Miles and the LSU coaching staff, and LSU football team, beat Alabama... Because it was not Nick Saban fault...The Bama football players, just do not get it.
What is very real now, is that Nick Saban looks bad,and lining will not help him..The Les Miles coaching staff, out coach the Nick Saban crew...What is very real is this... LSU-24 vs Bama 21.

Anonymous said...

What a difference, a win makes.People are telling me, that they really do not care if LSU wins out, or not.
LSU beat Alabama, was what they wanted,now everything LSU is just beautiful.
Wow,what a difference!

Anonymous said...

I was so down on Les Miles, that my ankles look up!!!
Now,because Les beat Alabama,I feel like this LSU football season has been a success...If the LSU tigers win out...So much,the better,but I would not fall to far, from this good feeling over this LSU team.
Jefferson passing has me feeling like the game LSU will play from now on is in good hands...The Miles,Jefferson story, is something good, to write home about.
Miles was right.

Nick Raymon said...

I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have honest entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more great material coming!
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Anonymous said...

9-1...Tigers looking good,
Tigers looking strong,
Tigers looking,
Where do we belong?
Sugar Bowl
Orange Bowl
Cotton Bowl
Rose Bowl

Anonymous said...

Thank you Les Miles for giving the LSU football fans a clean football program.
How could it be fun, to cheer a bunch of men, who really do not believe in truth,honor,and sportsmanship.

Anonymous said...

Not stopping a crime as it happens, is weak, and embarrassing..Why is the men running Auburn, so weak???

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