Forgive me for making a broad generalization, but after perusing LSU message boards the last couple of days, is it bad for me to label many of you a bunch of Jessie Spano's? Ok, so not the brilliant, regular readers of ATVS, but all those other assclowns that cannot seem to have any response to Saturday other than "FIREZZZZ LES MILEZZZZZ!!!!"
Look, even I can admit I am not always the biggest Les Miles fan. I don't think he's god's gift to coaching or even among the best ten coaches in the nation. But until someone can give substantial evidence as to how a man can win 80% of his games because of another coach and luck, I'll continue to believe. Call me a delusional optimist or whatever, but I see no reason to believe Les Miles is the dumbest, worst coach to ever grace Baton Rouge. Believe it or not, there's a lot more to coaching than simply showing up and letting your talent win for you.
So go away, all you cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed, sacks of monkey shit... Hallelujah! HOLY SHIT! Where's the Tylenol?
Okay, glad I got that out of my system. Now let's talk some football.
We continue to be able to run the football on every opponent in sight. Is it possible that in all our Zod-ur-bating we overlooked our true Heisman candidate, Stevan Ridley? Okay, Ridley has almost zero chance at the Heisman realistically, but if I had a vote, this kid is team MVP. Why? Well, we have my strong defensive players contributing to an outstanding unit. But on offense the one constant through four games? Mr. Stevan Ridley. If Finding Nemo could be in any way a menacing reference, I would drop it here. "Just keep swimming... just keep swimming." Can I start calling him the Piston? His legs never seem to stop churning. Thank you, Mr. Ridley. You've been a joy to watch this season.
Did we... could it be... have we... maybe... found a passing game? Somehow on Saturday we finally proved we are actually capable of completing a forward pass? Kidding aside, Jarrett Lee definitely brought the passing game to life. There's no denying that he takes that element of our game to another level and should be the starting QB from here on out (I think?).
Losing Sam Montgomery is killer. However, last year, losing a player of Sam's would have meant the end of good defense for LSU. This year, it just hurts our depth. Sam was probably our most complete end, and a tremendous run stopper. The block on him wasn't dirty. It was just unfortunate. However, if you haven't been paying attention, that guy everyone said was "too skinny" to play every down yatta yatta yatta has been an absolute menace in the past few weeks. Yeah, Barkevious Mingo. Keep your eye on him. WVU triple-teamed him once. Tennessee didn't know what to do with him. This kid could be scary good...
Tennessee didn't do much on offense all day. 37 of their 217 total yards came on one, well-defended play. I keep seeing people saying we don't have a defense "as good as Alabama." I think they are crazy. The only worrisome detail from the game is that Tauren Poole ran it pretty well against our front. Honestly, upon re-watching, he manufactured most of it himself. Twice they hit us with good play calls, and that's just going to happen from time to time. Poole ran tough and hard... if I had helmet sticker to give to an opponent, I'd give him one.
5 opponents. None of them can block Drake Nevis. Nevis 5. Opponents 0.
WR play was much higher in this one. JJ must throw a highly un-catchable ball. On one play, he rolled out and threw a great pass (in terms of it hit TT right where it should, though a bit wobbly), and TT dropped it. It's the only drop I can remember all day. It would have been a first down too. Unfortunate for JJ, but his ball must be tough to hang on to.
Speaking of unfortunate for JJ... we threw routes with Lee we NEVER threw with JJ. Is that because he can't throw it? Lee's first few throws were simple passes parallel to the L.O.S. that got the ball to the WRs and let them make a move in space. Could we not have done this with JJ to let him get comfortable? I guess he really struggled to throw those "routes"...
I keep seeing people say... "We don't win that game Saturday without Jarrett Lee." Well I agree. But we also don't win that game without Jordan Jefferson. You know, the guy who rushed for 100 yards? The guy who was on the field for both TDs we scored? Look, I know Lee did the work on that last drive. But the fact is... we need both these guys to win. Neither one of them is good enough to carry this team on their own. I'd be glad to be proven wrong, but for the first time I can remember, I'm semi-advocating a two-QB system. Except, I want JJ to play a role similar to RP in 2007. He gives us something in the running game, and that should not be ignored.
Brandon Taylor is the unsung hero of our defense. I see a ton of praise for Peterson, Sheppard, Nevis and the like. But Taylor does soooo much for our defense. *stands up and claps for BT15*
1) From the look of it, we wanted to start the game safe. We came out in our two TE set, that I've only seen us run inside the red zone to date. JJ ran the zone/read option that he runs so well, the left side of the line opened a nice hole and he did the rest of the work. His stutter step froze Louisiana-native Prentiss Waggner in his tracks and because of the way they stuffed the box, JJ was off to the races. He flashed better speed than I suspect many believed he had.
2) Well, not much to say about this. Chris Faulk was in as an extra tackle and after completely dominating his man on the failed JJ option keeper, he completely came off his block on this one. This was a run made entirely by Ridley. Besides the fact that he jump-cut away from Reveiz (who played a helluva game by the way), he then took on Faulk's unmanned guy and drove himself into the end zone. MVP! MVP! MVP! His ass better have gotten a game ball.
Lee: Well, let's start here. Lee played an up and down game. I'm impressed with him for the intangibles he seemed to exhibit on the field. He played with a take-charge mentality and emotion. I'm not big on judging body language and all that jazz, but Lee looked like a QB out there (whereas JJ really hasn't this season).
Made a great throw on the 47-yarder to Randle. Stood in the pocket, stepped into and laid it in there nicely. It was slightly underthrown... but not horribly so. Yet, he followed that up with a pick. The pick was entirely his fault... awful throw. Except, the play call was horrible as well. The design of the play was nice, but in that situation, it just wasn't appropriate (Crowton seems to have no concept of situational playcalling).Also made a poor throw on a drive where we ended up missing a FG. Had a wide open Randle on at the 8... he's probably hit that throw 1,000 times in practice, but he just floated it
Took a bad delay of game on the final drive. We just can't have that. He seemed upset with himself, at least. Watching the replay, I didn't think the "illegal forward pass" where he passed the L.O.S. was the correct call. The grounding was also questionable.
Overall, he stood up and made some tough throws on that final drive. He showed "moxie." Go to the 7:05 mark on this video. I can't exactly make out his words, but it does look a lot like he's chiding the coaching staff saying... "Run the ball!" That's the kind of edge I think everyone wants to see.
JJ: Well, the opening play was nice. After that, it was mostly downhill. He finished out with 100 yards rushing, which is nice. Both of his interceptions were entirely his fault. The first is a mistake I've seen 1,000 QBs make, even the best. He got baited by Janzen Jackson (even Steve Beuerlein proclaimed... "He's got him wide open..." only to later chastize JJ), and threw it into over the top coverage. On the 2nd one... I really don't know what to say. Just a horrendous throw. He either sailed it on Peterson or short armed it to Randle. I'll let you decide. All that being said, I hope he keeps a roll as a running QB, because I think that gives our offense a little something different.
Ridley (Piston): What else can you say about this guy? He comes to work every day. He turns negative plays into positive ones. He's been our MVP. He's leading the SEC in rushing. He's [insert positive statement here].
Murph: Eh. Not a great game. I keep seeing people asking why Murphy plays... Well, he's our best blocker. That's about all I can see. Had one catch that he didn't do anything with. Also dropped a toss sweep that turned into a 15-yard loss on what could have been a four-yard gain. Killed a drive. May put him in the dog house.
Ware: Had a really nice catch early, but never got to touch the ball again. All this kid has done is good things when he gets in... if we're gonna burn the redshirt and continue to hunt for a back to relieve Ridley...why not give him a go?
Ford: I thought the Earth might burst apart when I saw him running, but it did, in fact, remain together. Looked good on his first carry cutting it up the field and picking up six. Second carry he didn't have a chance.
Blue: I think I saw him in a time or two. He didn't get any carries. Laid a nice block on one of PP's returns.
Stamp: Got a couple tremendous blocks on a few of Ridley's left side runs. Stamp is a mystery to me. When he hits people... he knocks them silly. But he tends to whiff quite a bit. He seems to keep improving by the game, however.
TT: Finished with three catches for 52 yards. Did a nice job at settling into the hole in the zone on the 4th and 13 we converted on last drive.Nice block on early Randle catch.
RR: Made the big 46 yard catch. Laid a great block to spring Shep for a nice 9-yard catch and run. He's so sneaky quick. Made a nice grab and just danced his way up the field for his first catch. Moves very well for a big man. Owned Teague and drew a PI on the final drive. Missed when wide open down near the goal line.
Shep: Finished with two rushes for 12 yards and three catches for 26 yards. Shep isn't ready to be a down the field receiver yet, but he's dangerous if you just get him the ball in the open field. Throw it to him short and let him do some damage. Made a really nice block on a Ridley run... best I've seen of him yet.
D-LO: Finished with five catches for 45 yards. Made a crucial fumble inside the 30 that killed our chance for points. Not a smart play. D-LO is still working his way into rhythm, but he looked pretty good. He laid a few nice blocks, but missed on some others. Great block on JJ's TD run. I'd like to see him play "stronger." The play where Lee got called for intentional grounding, I'm pretty sure was designed to him, but he got easily pushed off his route and just sorta got lost in the pile. He needs to exert his strength consistently. He's not always the most aggressive player.
Clement: Got wide open on one play, not seen by JJ. Mostly quiet.
Bark: I've seen a lot of people complaining about him lately. Okay, the penalties are annoying, but if you aren't watching, he's been dominating. We pretty much ran off the left side all day long due to the fact that he was blowing his man off the ball. Very good game. Never challenged in pass pro. Dominant in run blocking. If he gets the recent penalty trouble out of the way, he's playing at an All-American type level.
Josh D.: Solid game. Completely blown up on one pass play. Didn't sink his hips and anchor. Caused Lee to have to get rid of a pass early. Otherwise, did well in run blocking. He's not a powerful drive blocker, but he's athletic and gets to the next level better than just about anybody else on the team.
PJ: Up and down game. PJ's been very good this year, and the staff really trusts him. He's asked to do a lot of reach blocking, which takes some real athleticism. He missed a few blocks this game. Sometimes looked excellent, other times struggled.
T-Bob: Decent game. Like Josh D... he's not exactly a powerful blocker, but he wins on craftiness and effort. Does a really good job of getting to the second level and taking out his man. Of course made the "snap that saved the game."
Hurst: Honestly, if the play isn't to a lineman's side, I tend not to watch them as much. We ran left almost every time this game, so I didn't notice Hurst much. Did provide really good pass pro on several plays. Kept a very talented end, Chris Walker, quiet all day. So he must have been doing something right. I read somewhere he was credited with 10 knock down blocks and played every snap. That's a pretty good day.
Williford: Every time I looked up, T-Bob was in the game. He started, but I hardly noticed him good or bad.
Faulk: Came in on that final series as a TE or extra blocker. On the JJ option, he completely destroyed his man and buried him in the end zone. On the game-winning play he fell off his block and landed on the ground. So one great play, one not so great play.
Sam: sad face emoticon
Cookie Monster: As I stated above, no one has figured out how to block this guy yet. Double teams aren't sufficient. He's playing at an extremely high level right now. Blows through blockers. We actually move him around quite a bit, which is interesting. Credited with only four tackles, but could routinely be seen in the backfield disrupting plays.
Pep: After a nice week this week, didn't show as well this week. Nothing spectacular about his play, but he did eat blocks well. Got in the backfield on one play but missed the tackle. Quiet day.
Brockers: Boy oh boy. This guy is probably the best "backup" DT in the SEC. At one point he completely blew up a double team and disrupted a play. The next play, he bullrushed up the middle and landed a huge hit on Simms. Went to the ground on another play, but he's such a strong force with surprising quickness in the middle.
Mingo: Facemask penalty was an honest mistake, just like last week. Speed rushed by to record a sack and deliver a huge shot on Simms. This guy is borderline unblockable at times. I know people continue to worry about his weight and whether or not he "can play every down" but I'm telling you, he really battles. Finished with 1.5 sacks and three tackles. He flashes some pass rush moves. His speed catches OL off guard... he just blows by people at times. He's not the strongest at the point of attack, but when he comes off low he uses his hands to separate and can string out plays. He's got five sacks now. I'll take one a game, thank you. Great game.
Edwards: Recorded a sack on a pure speed rush. Played discipline in the run game. Made an EXCELLENT play on the key 4th and 1 stop in the game. Crashed down the end, got underneath the fullback and delivered the first blow which was later cleaned up by KShepp and Taylor. Diagnosed a rollout well, tipped the pass which almost lead to an interception. Edwards isn't Sam, but he's a very solid end.
Ag: Best game I've seen him play for us. Played a lot with Adams on the shelf. Finished with three tackles. Recorded a TFL on a running play where he stunted inside and blew up Poole. Stunt was the perfect call, but Ag showed a burst and quickness I haven't seen from him. Very nice game.
Downs: Played some snaps, but nothing notable. Was in on the 4th and 1 play.
KShepp: Easily his worst game of the season. Routinely caught in traffic all day. Over ran a play on Poole that turned into an 11-yard gain. UT paid a lot of attention to blocking him up. Still recorded a sack and seven tackles. Was caught in the trash a lot... he usually does a good job of getting out of it and making the tackle.
Baker: Poor coverage on Stocker lead to a first down for Tennessee. Simms threw it well off his back foot but Baker was out of position, so it was an easy pitch and catch. Recorded a big sack on a well designed blitz. Did a good job of applying pressure on some blitzes. Only finished with two tackles.
Francois: Quiet game. Finished with four tackles, but I think three are pile-ons. Nothing notable.
Zod: Quiet game. Made a poor decision fielding a punt that he let drop. He dribbled it around in the backfield and was fortunate to be able to pick it up and pick up a couple yards. Got juked horribly by Poole and lost contain on the play that ended up putting Tennessee at the three. That's the play that cost us points on that drive, as it was a third down... not the big pass play that set up the drive.
Mathieu: His worst game thus far. Beat on the long play to Hunter, but his coverage was good. Missed a tackle that would have been a short gainer instead turned into an 11 or 12 yarder. He got beat by Jones (who is a very good receiver) a couple times. May not have ended up with a big play, but still remained a force as a blitzer.
Claiborne: Great block to spring early PP punt return. They seemed to stay away from our corners. That's a compliment. Almost got a pick six on a bad throw created by Nevis pressure.
Loston: Dropped the easy interception. Unfortunately, that was his only memorable play.
Hatcher: Not a great game. Came up in run support. Tackled Poole man up early in the game... impressive. Missed some tackles as well.
Jai: Nothing notable.
BT15: I've said it before, but this is our "Eraser." BT15 diagnoses plays in a hurries and crashes down extremely well. This game he broke up a pass in the end zone that nearly ended up a pick... excellent play. They ran a pick on the goal line trying to get Jones off of Peterson, but Taylor read it perfect and burst forward to break it up. He crashed down and tackled Poole on another play.
Graff: Another ST tackle. That's a weekly occurrence for him.