"Think I should tell McNeese that we didn't watch the game footage they sent us because we don't have VCRs anymore? Naaaa, I'll just let this one play out. Just another day in the SEC."(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
LSU wins by three TDs and all anyone can point to are the negatives. LSU beats Florida on the road and all people can talk about... are the negatives. LSU beats a top 25 WVU team by six, and all anyone can talk about... the negatives. LSU beats a very underrated and good Mississippi State team by 22, and all people can talk about... negatives.
It's not just the media, we tend to eat our own. We've feasted on this team's weaknesses for weeks now. Some places drastically worse than others (I say those here continue to remain optimistic). Obviously we have yet to look like the best team in college football. But here's the rub: we're 7-0 and one of a handful of remaining teams that can actually control our own destiny. The only team that gets to decide what happens to the rest of our season is... us. So rationalize, complain and explain away 7-0 in any way you want, at the end of the day, it is still 7-0.
I must admit, I watched this game about as intensely as LSU played it, which means, not at all. With company in town, the want to entertain superseded the desire to watch, and that's certainly something I'll review in the coming weeks. Anyways, let's quit bitching about our 12 oz. roll of sausage and enjoy how delicious it is, while we can.
We're just a "fly in the ointment... monkey in a wrench... a pain in the ass." Come to think of it, I see a ton of John McClane in this team, needless explosions and all.It's not surprising, really. Hell, Florida fans are feasting on Addazio, and even Meyer to an extent, right now. I've seen quite a few suggest that Urban should have just "stayed retired." I find those feelings comical at best. For me, I'm taking to calling this season, "Perspective." At least for me personally. I used to be that guy who flew off the handle at every loss or anytime LSU played less than impressively, jumping to rash conclusions and making bold, stupid assertions that rarely ever panned out. Frankly, that's a whole lot easier than actually keeping perspective of what is happening.
So what exactly IS happening? And what happened tonight?
Let's take a look at the good.
We've found a back-up RB. Games one through six were an audition of sorts that reeked of continual failure (first Murphy, then Blue. Not that those guys won't both continue to have roles on this team, but it won't be as our main, go-to back-up RB. That man is Michael Ford. He's the guy we thought it would be coming out of the Spring Game but at some point he hit a wall or just didn't backup the Spring Game performance that got many of us so excited. I don't care that his only extended action thus far is against McNeese State. He ripped a nice one on Florida. He's got long speed that no other running back we have possesses. And he fits the zone blocking, cutback model we've experienced so much success with this season. Except when Ford cuts back... he's going to go 60, not 20. Additionally, Spencer Ware's role in this offense continues to grow by the week. This guy will be a major player in our stretch run.
Our defense could stand still and hold an opponent to 250 yards. Honestly, this was about as much of a you cover this guy, I cover this guy and tackle backyard defensive gameplan as you'll ever see. No reason to get exotic. Drake Nevis is playing at an unheard of level right now. He scored us points tonight. Auburn is a tall order (6'6, 250 lbs.) offensively. Their one-man wrecking show is rolling points up and back down defenses each week. Gus Malzahn is waving the flag of signature assistant coach in the nation right now. The Cameron Newton Heisman-Hypetrain is about the leave the station. Despite the fact that they've been every bit as unimpressive as us in most games (against lesser caliber opponents), the media applauds their "ability to win close ones." Look, Auburn is certainly a good football team, but it's downright foolish to say they win close games 'cause they are a "tough, disciplined well-coached" football team and we do because "a few lucky bounces." Next weekend will be a clash of the titans. Our impotent offense against their impotent defense. Our stout defense against their stout offense.
Back to McNeese and positivity. Our 2nd corner is probably better than most team's no. 1. Lost in the all the praise for Peterson, Nevis and Sheppard, Claiborne keeps trucking along, making big plays. He gets another INT tonight, perhaps fortunate bounce... but the ball doesn't just "fortunately" find people on a week-to-week basis. He's putting himself in tremendous position to make great plays. Don't buy that? His three pass break ups say otherwise. Mo/Zod/Mathieu make it VERY difficult for opposing offenses to throw the football on us.
Even with the loss of Montgomery, our DL continues to get pressure. Three TFL (two of which were sacks) and four QB hurries tonight. Having a DL that can get consistent pressure frees up your back seven to get creative and fun.
With Rueben Randle's finger on the mend, it was important to get Shepard back involved into this gameplan. And we did it. His big catch was called back, but he still finished with 78 yards of offense on 10 touches. Not a bad night at the office. We need the threat (or at least the idea that he is a threat) to remain in our offense.
Zod returned the hell out of the ball again. Thank Zod, because some of us were worried he'd lost it.
It's one game. Why anyone would jump to conclusions about one game in one direction or the other is beyond me. Just like beating Florida didn't make us the best team in the SEC, beating McNeese didn't make us the worst. So we didn't blow them away. It happens.
Look, I don't want to talk about the offense(ive) right now. Everyone watched it struggle tonight. There's only so much you can say about a lackadaisical performance. *Insert cliche phrase here.* Trap game. Let down game. Overlooking. Whatever, call it whatever makes you feel better, I s'pose. We won by 22 points. Could we have won by more? Sure. But we also could have lost. And we're 7-0. Give up on your silly expectations and enjoy your reality. The only thing that stands in the way of LSU right now is LSU.
See, that wasn't so hard, was it? I didn't even say one negative thing.