We probably shouldn't be surprised by this performance. We all assumed LSU could throw their jock-straps and that would be enough to beat McNeese State. Clearly the players and coaches agreed, and it would be tough to argue. The Tigers just out-athleted the Cowboys without much thought or effort.
But on that note, here are a few observations to watch in the Sunday replay:
- Game plan and play-calling were more vanilla than a Hanson concert in Salt Lake City. Run game was dedicated to the basics - Ridley/Ford/Ware on inside zone runs and zone toss plays, with a little of Russell Shepard outside. Very little deep passing, very few intermediate throws either.
- How big of a stamp would a half-ton of beef require? Almost the entire offensive line mailed this game in. Even with the conservative game plan, it would have been nice to see them play angry though.
- Michael Ford's playing time was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. He and Spencer Ware work as backups to Stevan Ridley because they have similar styles. Downhill, tough runners but with quick feet and body control that make them even tougher to tackle. The offensive staff would be wise to keep working them in down the stretch. Keep sending them at opponents in waves and you can wear them down in the fourth.
- On defense, something to watch - McNeese made a conscious effort to attack LSU's linebackers and safeties in coverage. Not a lot of direct throws at the cornerbacks. That may be something to watch for the defense going forward. Auburn thrives on using misdirection to create space with linebackers, and Alabama likes to try and match tight ends and slot receivers in the passing game.
- Ken Adams saw one of his better games with five tackles, and really did get on the field a lot (it seemed like giving Barkevious Mingo a rest was a priority). He's clearly a better athlete than Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards, but looks like he's still learning the defensive end position. He hesitates at times, and bites on misdirection a good bit. Not totally a surprise - he played a lot of offense in high school and junior college. I believe Auburn even tried to recruit him as a TE.
- Josh Jasper might have been emblematic of the night in general for LSU. Missed a chip-shot field goal and an extra point, but still ran another successful fake kick, this time on a punt.
- Speaking of the fake punt, my guess is that was a check from Jasper himself. On the punt before McNeese had completely bailed out for the return, barely even paying attention to the kick. Oddly enough, my thought was "he gets the first down easy if he just takes off." Clearly Jasper had the same thought.
- Finally, on to the quarterbacks. I'm not sure on what to add. Jordan Jefferson, at this point isn't providing much more than window dressing and I have a feeling that may be all he is at this point. Something else for an opponent to prepare for. And for the time being, he's going to stay in the starter role for that very reason. With him only getting the first few plays (and there as very of the play-calling that worked for Jefferson against Florida), the title of "starter" doesn't mean much more than "the guy who takes the first snap." Jarrett Lee actually did get some consecutive series, and still wasn't amazing - but the play-calling played a role in that. At the very least, don't expect any announced change in the rotation. The coaches want Auburn preparing for both.