I meant to post this yesterday, but never quite got around to it. I watched the game yesterday morning, through the magic of Tivo. The whole thing takes about 1 1/2 hours when you fast forward through the commercials, halftime, and the time between plays. Anyway, as usual, I was looking for specific things.
In particular, when LSU had the ball, I was looking for true freshman fullback Dominique Allen. He got the start, and it was his first playing time of the year. He was in the game as the fullback whenever LSU was in the I-formation. He was in on running plays and on play action passes, and was always a blocker.
Back when Dominique Allen signed, he was expected to contribute immediately at the fullback spot vacated by the graduated Quinn Johnson, but he reported a bit out of shape and proved not to be ready to handle the rigors of the college game yet. The job has been manned by walk-on converted offensive linemen James Stampley and Richard Dugas. They struggled to keep up with the speed of the position, as they are converted linemen and not the kinds of athletes you typically want in the backfield.
Allen slowly worked his way back into the good graces of the coaches and following the bye week word got out that he would see playing time. He got the start and was our primary fullback. To be honest, he struggled. He did not always find someone to block and did not always get an effective block on the person he found.
It will be a process with him, I'm sure. A lot of young men, seeing their first action, do not perform as well as they would like. He will get another chance to improve his game against Tulane before we get to what Poseur has described as "Graduation Day", our November 7 matchup against Bama here in Tuscaloosa.
When Dominique Allen was not in the game, I watched the offensive line. They performed better than they had previously, though they are still not getting much actual push. I'll leave it there.
Interestingly, on Russell Shepard's big run, the left side of the line was operating with a strange lineup. Instead ofCiron Black at left tackle and Josh Dworaczyk at left guard, Dworaczyk was at left tackle and Will Blackwell was at guard. Black was out of the game temporarily (he would return later, so if it was because of injury it was only minor). Will Blackwell got the key block that sprung Shepard.
There was an interesting discussion on one message board about whether that was really a great run by Shepard, or whether he just ran through a hole provided by his linemen and did what any reasonably fast runner would have done? After watching it on replay, I am of the school of thought that (even though the blocking was good) Shepard was the engine that made that play go.
While Blackwell and T-Bob Hebert gave him a little crease to go through, it was definitely not a huge hole. I think it was the kind of blocking job where Charles Scott would have been able to hit the hole but not fit through it. He probably would have pushed it forward for a nice 8-10 yard gain. Maybe he would have been able to break it bigger, but then he would have been caught before getting to the end zone. Without naming names, some other of our running backs may not have ever seen that hole or may not have gone to it aggressively enough to get through it before it closed.
So give Shep credit for that run. He saw the hole, got through it quickly, and then was GONE. Give the left side of the offensive line credit for doing a nice job, but Russell Shepard made that a big play.
Defensively, I watched our line again. I will say they played the Auburn offensive line to a tie, but I can't say much more than that. Drake Nevis had a big play getting a sack and forcing a fumble, but for the most part we were only able to get to Chris Todd when we blitzed. Al Woods made a really nice play early in the game, and Josh Downslooks like he is going to be a star in a year or so.
Other than that, I don't have much to say about our defense. They played very well, particularly the back 7.