It was great watching the Tigers on TigerVision with my Dad and Mom last night. We haven't watched a game together in a long time. Although I've gone through periods of Tiger ignorance in the last decade, depending on where I've been stationed, Dad has been stalwart and has season tickets. So he's fun to watch the game with.
Anyway, we synched up the video (thanks, TiVo!) with Jim Hawthorne and crew on audio, and (eventually) enjoyed a nice crushing homecoming victory.
What a great weekend for the Tigers! #1 across all the polls, SEC West champs, and therefore a guaranteed spot in Atlanta for the championship game.
Happy Birthday Coach Miles!
As for the game itself, the Tigers put up nearly 600 yards of offense and 58 points, playing the second and third team some of the third and all of the fourth quarters. LA Tech was held to about 260 yards offense and 10 points. So, basically, LSU dominated as you would expect.
And now it's Sunday, the sun is shining, and there are puppies and butterflies and lemonade stands, and all is perfect.
Not so fast. There are a couple of points worth pondering. First the challenging stuff.
Not So Special Teams
The kickoff team was flat out embarrassed - at least three times. Give the LA Tech returners a little credit. But Oh My Gawd! Of the four Bulldogs that returned kickoffs (there were TEN returns, which is a COOL stat!), the lowest average is 21 yards per return. Livas had 5 returns for a 37 yard/return average and one for almost 80 yards! Ummm - that, like, sucks.
Fisher and David have been more than solid all year. And there are some individual athletes who have been very good on special teams. But the special teams themselves - specifically the kickoff and punt coverage teams - have been suspect all year. Having the opposing team start with great field position will be tough to overcome against the remainder of the schedule. And Chad Jones, stud that he appears to be, made some really dumb punt return decisions last night that have been a pattern with him.
Coach Paveto splits his time between special teams and linebackers. Perhaps it's time Coach Miles finds a special teams coach.
I can't help but wonder why Flynn comes out of the locker room struggling and only hits his stride after increasing my stomach acid. Wazzup with that?
My guess is that Flynn's relative lack of game experience keeps him from starting strong. Early in the game, though, he can be dangerous to his own team - forcing passes and over- or under-throwing open receivers.
I'm still a Flynn believer and he's definitely better than RP at this point. But I'd like to see Flynn put a couple more 300 yard plus games together without the interceptions.
8 for 62 yards, including a late hit out of bounds. Not heinous, like last week. But certainly nothing to be proud of.
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF
I did see lots of butterflies today, and a puppy. There are many, many things right with the world.
We haven't. It's really pretty cool. Flynn has thrown some picks, but this team just has not fumbled the ball much at all.
595 yards, some big plays, and 58 points. Regardless of the opposition, when you factor in that the Tiger bench played most of the second half, that's a pretty impressive stat. Teams will have to score more than 30 points to hope to beat LSU. That's a nice place to be, considering our defense is still one of the finest in the country.
LSU has talented backups across the board. It will be interesting to watch the LB competition to replace Highsmith and Sanders next year. The young cornerbacks were fun to watch, as well. The offensive line is going to be in fine shape next year, as will the defensive line. I'd say the biggest question on offense for next year is QB (will RP keep his cool and get on board?), and on defense, who will step up at the corners. But all in all, LSU will remain powerful next year.
THE BIG QUESTION - DID WE PEAK AGAINST VT? OR WILL WE PEAK IN NOVEMBER?
The Hokies are a very good football team and LSU made them look inept. Following that game, and injuries to Flynn and Doucet, the Tigers played well enough to win (except Kentucky), but did not seem to dominate anyone except MTSU. Even Tulane made the Tigers sweat for a half.
So, did the Tigers peak early? Let's hope not, because noone is going to lie down for the Tigers from here on. Everyone will be looking to knock LSU off the hill (again).
Personally, I think LSU has yet to peak. I think we caught a glimpse of the team to come against VT. Injuries and poor play have kept the Tigers from besting that effort. I have faith that the Tigers will play scary good football in the SEC championship game and then crush Oregon (or Kansas or Oklahoma) in the BCS bowl game.
I think LSU will peak in January 2008!