LSU 20 - Georgia 13: Snap Judgments

Well well well.  That was about the strangest game I've ever seen.  We completely dominated the 1st half but didn't have a big lead to show for it because we kept stalling out when we got close to the end zone.  We developed a power running game, spotty as it was, but the offense still struggled.  Here are my snap judgments:

  • You just can't say enough about how good A.J. Green is.  We did a good job of holding him down, and he still had 5 catches for 99 yards and 1 spectacular touchdown catch that could have been a game-winner.  He is obviously the best wide receiver in the conference.  It's not even close.  I think the world of Brandon Lafell, and Julio Jones is outstanding as well, but A.J. Green is the best of them all.  He is probably the best offensive player in the conference right now.  Tim Tebow is bigger because he touches the ball every play, but I don't think Tebow is a better quarterback than Green is a wide receiver.
  • On Green's touchdown, Hawkins had perfect coverage.  To do any better, he would have needed to be bigger and stronger.  I just can't fault a guy who does everything right and gets victimized by someone who is just too good of an athlete.
  • Jordan Jefferson is still not quite there as a quarterback.  He got baited into his interception, and he went through one of his big lulls in the second half.  Georgia got a lot of sacks that half, but it really wasn't entirely the line's fault.  Jefferson just would not get rid of the ball.  He'd hold it too long and the rush would get to him.  
  • The defense really played well all night.  Sure, it wasn't nearly as dominant in the second half, and we gave up that big 18 play drive, but other than that drive and the 2-minute drill that ended with Green's great catch, they were fantastic.
  • So LSU showed a power running game and Georgia only had one turnover.  Who could have predicted that?  Peterson was close to one or two interceptions but had the ball batted away at the last moment.  
  • Patrick Peterson did a really good job on A.J. Green.  He got beat a couple times, but also made a big play a couple times to beat Green.  And on one of the occasions when Green got the best of Peterson, Cox failed to make an accurate throw and so it went for nothing.
  • Overall, I thought the playcalling was better in this game than in previous games.  We changed them up a little by running Scott on options, which was effective except when Jefferson failed to properly execute them.
  • Speaking of, Jordan Jefferson is still uncomfortable running the option.  He is just not a natural at it, and appears to not want to set himself up for the hit from the contain man, but he HAS to make that man commit to tackling him or the play cannot have success.  That means taking a hit.  The strange thing is that Jefferson has been so averse to sliding and is willing to take hits in other situations, situations in which he should not take the hits.
  • Our receiver corps had a drop or two tonight, but they are really good.  Terrance Toliver has emerged as a real playmaker, and he made a good football move at one point to turn a 3rd down catch into a first down, despite making the catch and getting hit short of the first down yardage.
  • I liked the decision to go for it on 4th and inches at the 9 yard line.  I know it didn't work, but it was a good gamble.  Our power running game had generally been working up to that point, and you had to anticipate we could get one foot.  It was a good calculated risk, and when Les Miles is at his best, he makes good calculated risks.  The thing is, sometimes when you make a calculated risk, you come out on the wrong end of it.  It's hard to criticize the play choice of going with a QB sneak.  Those usually get you a yard reliably.
  • Then again, the sequence showed why it is good to go for it on 4th down and short near the goal line.  We ended up giving the ball to Georgia, but they were in bad field position, couldn't do anything with it, and gave it back to us with an opportunity to get more points.
  • Which brings us to the last possession of the 1st half.  Things were going well.  We ended up with 3rd and 1 around the 40 with the clock around 30 seconds.  I liked calling a running play, but I would have went with a draw from the spread instead of a power run at that point.  I think it would have worked, but we'll never know.  The big problem was that the coaches had NO PLAN for if it didn't work.  They could not stop the clock, and they took entirely too long to decide to bring the FG unit out, which was futile anyway.  The only choice at that point was to snap the ball with a second or 2 on the clock and heave it to the end zone on 4th down.  Rushing the FG unit on the field after talking about it for a while revealed a complete lack of plan on that play.  It was a coaching error that was on display for all to see, and I don't like it.
  • The offense was on the field for 6 plays in the 3rd quarter.  4 of those 6 plays went for a loss or for no gain.  We had -11 yards of offense that quarter.
  • The celebration penalty on A.J. Green was completely bogus.  The celebration penalty on Charles Scott was within the parameters of what we know they call.  The thing is, Green's penalty had a much bigger impact on the game.  It gave us the ball in such good field position that we did not have to pass, which would not have been the case if we had been 15 yards further back.  The 5 yards we got for the illegal procedure penalty also helped.
  • Speaking of field position on that last drive, that was a very nice return by Trindon Holliday, who had a couple of those on the night.  
  • The defensive line was really quiet all night, and did not get much pressure on Joe Cox for most of the game, but the linebackers were everywhere.  I have to single out Kelvin Sheppard for having a very nice game.  In general, our tackling was much better tonight than it had been previously.
  • I said before that any win here is a good win, and I mean that.  This was a huge win for us.  It makes the Florida game virtually a no-lose situation.  No matter what happens against Florida, we control our destiny.  A win lifts us, and a loss doesn't really hurt us.  Of course, there will be more on that game in the coming week.
  • That's all for now.  I'll watch the game again tomorrow morning.
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