I just isn't the same when the game is not on regular television. ESPN360 just doesn't give you the options that television gives you, and the picture is not as clear. That's not even getting into the whole problem of the connection to ESPN360 crashing and not being able to get a picture, missing several plays throughout the game, including Russell Shepard's touchdown run.
Anyway, here are some snap judgments:
- I would like to take us back to what Poseur said in the Roundtable discussion:
What would you like to see this Saturday versus Tulane?
A win. That's it.
I don't need to see fireworks and I don't need to see new wrinkles. I just want a quiet and uneventful win that serves as a nice appetizer for Bama.
Well, that's exactly what you got. The game was uncompetitive, uneventful, lacking in fireworks, and generally quite dull. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We came out and scored early and Tulane, though they put up a couple nice drives, never did anything that even resembled getting into the game.
- I can't say we didn't see any new wrinkles though. After LSU had struggled to get good support from the fullback position from James Stampley and Richard Dugas early in the season, and inserting freshman Dominique Allen into the rotation last week met with mised results, Les Miles and Gary Crowton took a different approach and moved reserve scholarship offensive lineman Thomas Parsons to the fullback position. This experiment seemed to work well, as Parsons was effective getting to the defenders and blocking them.
- We also had our most effective power running game yet. It's hard to know if that's because Parsons was added to the I-formation roster or if it's just because we were playing overmatched competition. However, I think it's worth pointing out that we rushed more than 100 yards more against Tulane than we did against UL-Lafayette, with a higher yard per attempt average as well.
- By the numbers, LSU had 267 yards rushing, though Stevan Ridley's 73 rushing yards on the final drive of the game perhaps skews that number a little. Then again, Charles Scott had his most effective game of the season, rushing for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. All together, LSU had 455 total yards, plus a ton of punt return yards.
- Jordan Jefferson also had a pretty nice game, averaging over 9 yards per attempt and throwing two nice touchdown passes to Brandon Lafell, who had 85 yards receiving on 4 catches. Things didn't look good for him early, as he took a quick sack and then threw an interception, but he rebounded to have a very productive day.
- And what to say about the defense? It was LSU's first shutout since beating Middle Tennessee State 44-0 on September 15, 2007.
- At first blush, it was not exactly a dominating performance. Tulane had 216 total yards, including two substantially long drives, one of which ended in a missed field goal and the other of which ended in an interception. Tulane got nothing going on the ground, however, getting credit for only 26 rushing yards on 20 attempts, helped along by 3 sacks of Ryan Griffin for -22 yards.
- Tulane's passing game was a little better, averaging just over 5 yards per attempt. It's not surprising that senior wide receiver Jeremy Williams was Tulane's most effective offensive player, with 78 yards receiving and 21 yards rushing. He probably has an NFL future. Andre Anderson led Tulane in rushing with 27 yards, but averaged only 2.5 yards per attempt.
- Tulane was able to have some of its most successful plays when they exploited our aggressiveness with screens or dump-offs. LSU will sometimes have problems chasing down a running back, particularly when they flare out to the left side of our defensive line. The left-side defensive end triumvirate of Pep Levingston, Lavar Edwards, and Chancey Aghayere just don't seem to be quick enough to keep up with a running back who gets a release to the outside, and those plays sometimes get big yards. It's been going on since the Washington game.
- Kelvin Sheppard had another outstanding game. It's hard to say that there's a "great" linebacker out there for us, but Kelvin Sheppard, Harry Coleman, and Perry Riley sure seem to work very well together as a group, and they are productive as all get out. We may not have one Rolando McClain or Brandon Spikes out there, but we have 3 very good linebackers who do a lot of good for us.
- Special teams did not get much action against Tulane, but we did get a nice blocked punt by Daniel Graff and a couple nice returns on punts from Trindon Holliday. Trindon sometimes struggles to be productive in the SEC, but when we face a weaker team, Holliday usually gashes them. He has been a useful and productive player for us over the years, but he could have become a legend in the Sun Belt or another conference.
- It was great to see the second team get some time in the game. I think this was the first time all season the 2nd team offensive line got a chance. They got in the game with the ball on the 2 yard line and they opened rushing lanes for Stevan Ridley all the way down the field, for one of the most impressive touchdown drives in recent LSU history. Jarrett Lee completed 2 passes along the way on that drive, one to Reuben Randle and the other to John Williams, who I think was seeing his first game action of his career. Another pass was in the direction of Chris Tolliver, who was well-covered.
- Defensively, we saw a lot of 2nd team cornerback Morris Claiborne, who is definitely the most surprising member of the freshman class. He got into the game in place of Patrick Peterson long before other starters were subbed out. They are clearly grooming him for important playing time next year, perhaps as Chris Hawkins' replacement on the other side of Peterson.
- Richard Dickson went down with a scary-looking injury in the first half, but returned later in the game. As far as I can tell, we escaped the with no significant injury to any player. That satisfies me.
- Obviously, things ramp up a bit this week.