Sunday, October 19, 2008

SOAPBOX: Tigers Choke the Chickens

Whew. Right? Isn't that how you Tiger fans feel today? Uneasy relief?

The Tigers won this game through outstanding second half defense. But there were glimpses of last year's team - both good and bad - in this performance.

The Good.

Well. LSU won. That's good. And on the road - that's gooder. And against a team that is supposed to have a great defense and a great football coach - that's goodest.

LSU's defense was dy-no-mite in the second half. And, actually, the defensive line was AWESOME all night. I've been thinking for a couple of games now that LSU's defensive tackles have been really stout, but the ends have not stepped up. But that changed last night. The defensive ends - short of a couple of over-pursuit situations - had Garcia's number all night. The defensive line dominated the Gamecock offensive line. S. Carolina had 39 yards rushing, almost half of that attributable to Garcia scrambling or exploiting the heavy pass rush on Tebowesque running plays. Garcia carried 19 times for 15 yards - he was sacked 6 times. He could have been sacked 10 times. He's a pretty good runner and escaped a few times.

Jarrett Lee is going to take some heat in the press and fan forum world for his slow start again. He threw another very nasty interception. And he didn't throw any touchdowns. He also threw some very ugly balls. But Lee ended the game completing 16 of 26 for 189 yards. And in his defense he, once again, had some catchable balls dropped. LaFell, in particular, dropped at least one big pass. Overall, though, I thought Lee once again played relatively well for a RS freshman and shows promise. I think he's good enough to carry LSU to the SEC CG. But he has to stop throwing nasty interceptions... But I'm putting Jarret Lee in the good column.

The not-so-good.

Playcalling. Sucked. Bigtime. Did LSU pass on first down in the first three quarters? If they did, I must've been getting a beer. And here's a newsflash that opposing coaches have clearly picked up on - if Trindon Holliday is in the game, STACK THE BOX! If Andrew Hatch is under center, STACK THE BOX! Hatch played a solid game and threw LSU's only passing TD. But I don't care. I now officially HATE the dual QB system. Too predictable. Too confusing for LSU. Not confusing enough for the defense to make it worthwhile. I know, I know. I'm not an expert, the coaches know best, blah, blah, blah. I hate the two QB system. Pick a QB. Neither of them are good enough to play part time and play well.

LSU had 9 penalties, some of them the annoying procedure calls because the offense just didn't seem to know what the hell was going on. And there were other times when the Tigers barely got a play off - often broken. And there were still other times when the Tigers had to call a timeout because they were clueless. LSU had this problem all last year. I thought maybe the team had kicked the habit this year. Not so much.

Pass defense. If I were playing LSU next week, I'd throw a crap load of passes into LB coverage. Or against nickel/dime/safeties covering RBs. Because LSU has not proven they can stop it. And if I had a fast TE, I'd be featuring him. The weakness of the LSU defense continues to be the LB and nickel/dime backs and safeties. I've been happy with cornerback play.

Punting. The numbers just don't do justice to how shitty LSU's punting was last night. Dangerously shitty.


Whew. Thank you LSU defense. Thank you Tyson Jackson for owning the offensive line. And thank you Steven Garcia for not being able to put together an entire game. Because even under pressure, Garcia was productive in the first half. Had he been able to continue that in the second half, LSU's offense did not look solid enough to trade scores.

Good thing Georgia doesn't have any talent on offense. Oh. Wait.

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