I called in sick to work today for the first time since I came home from the United Arab Emirates with something that was never diagnosed. Ever since my baby got me up at 2:00am to clean up her vomit, I have had a cold. Today, I can hardly talk, and I somehow managed to pick up a disheartening stomach ailment as well. Deciding my office wanted no part of either of those illnesses, I called in.
While I am supposed to be napping and staying hydrated, I instead have watched a replay of the LSU v. Tennessee game from the SEC Championship Game in December. Some observations:
1. Ryan Perrilloux sure was good. While the coaches called a conservative game to protect him, no amount of conservative playcalling will make a guy go 15 for 19 at one point, before finishing 20 for 30, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. He struggled to get the ball into the end zone, and after hurting his finger lost his effectiveness throwing the ball, but the man has some serious physical tools. I am sorry things didn't work out for him here. I have written a lot about this subject in the past, and now I just wish him well.
2. I had forgotten how much I liked Gary Danielson. There's a certain sport in denouncing any and all broadcasters or sports writers as hacks, suck-ups, or worse, and Danielson doesn't escape the ire of many, but I like him. First, he absolutely loves the SEC. Second, he's fair. Third, he's knowledgeable. Fourth, he's funny when he tries to be. I laughed anew when LSU faced 4th and short from their own 30 late in the game and Lundquist asked if LSU would go for it. Danielson responded, "I don't know. Has Les Miles signed that $30 million contract yet?"
3. We sure were an undisciplined team during the season. We got a ton of penalties, and most of them were of the silly "false start" variety. As we will likely not be as explosive this year as we were last year, we will have to stay in front of the chains more, and that means avoiding penalties.
4. While it was not at all a perfectly played game, it was a really good game. Tennessee really brought out the wood on defense. They played aggressive, and they hit hard. We got plenty of yards, but we paid for them.
5. We earned the win. Some detractors say we needed a late defensive touchdown to pull that game out, and while that's technically true, we outplayed Tennessee for most of the game. We got 121 more yards than they did, but stalled at the end zone, and if you don't give us credit for forcing Ainge's mistake that led to our touchdown, maybe you can just remember that our normally reliable field goal kicker missed a 30-yarder. Take away that touchdown and give us that field goal, and we still win.
6. Terrance Toliver may be talented, but he sure is raw. Ryan Perrilloux's one interception in the game was a direct result of Toliver doing something that did not make sense. He cut his route short and looked like he was going to set up in front of Eric Berry, but then right as Perrilloux threw the ball, Toliver took off running down the field and was off the screen when Berry intercepted it. If he has learned not to make mistakes like that, he will be an excellent receiver.