I've been asked to compare this LSU team to the past, and the words generally fail me, partly because the story still has to end and there are a few major plot points to be resolved. But also partly because, to be honest, I've never seen an LSU team be this boringly dominant. The 2003 and 2007 teams had their fits and starts and their moments of good fortune. Nothing was ever boring.
The 2011 Tigers, on the field at least, are boring. See target, swing war club, rinse the brains and skull fragments off and repeat.
This week was no different, and now we have two weeks to prepare for ZOMG BIGGEST GAME OF THE CENTURY OF THE YEAR EVAAAAA!!!11!!!1 Which, I will add, was just announced for 7 p.m. CST on CBS.
- The impact of the suspensions? Backups Kenny Hilliard and Ron Brooks combined for three touchdowns. That, sir, is a TEAM.
- Speaking of Hilliard, I have to admit I did not see his playing time coming, but if there's a back that can match Spencer Ware for physicality, it is the freshman from Patterson. That first touchdown was 100-percent pure leg drive.
- By the way, who else loved that crossbuck inside trap play to set up Hilliard's second touchdown?
- Fantastic day from the offensive line, especially along the interior. Will Blackwell, T-Bob Hebert and Josh Williford absolutely mashed the Auburn front. Williford in particular was squashing grapes on his pulls and traps.
- Another strong day from Jarrett Lee. Nothing fancy, but keeping it simple and just distributing the ball is all we ask. The long touchdown before the half was fantastic read -- it was clear almost right after Rueben Randle got off the line of scrimmage that Auburn's Neiko Thorpe wouldn't be able to get over the top, and Lee delivered. The only complaint would be the slant a few plays earlier that was nearly picked. Lee was bailed out by a pass-interference penalty, but he can't afford to stare down those plays so heavily, especially in two weeks. But when we're talking about almost-picks that didn't happen, we know we're getting strong quarterback play.
- With the interior run working so well, there're wasn't much need for Jordan Jefferson, and as a result we didn't see much of him, aside from the one series in the second quarter and after the game was secured. His touchdown pass was one hell of a throw though, given that he had to short arm the ball slightly with a pass-rusher bearing down.
- Rueben Randle is beginning to develop into the best wide receiver in this league. He is the total package, with the size and hands for the possession routes and the deep speed to take the top off a defense.
- On defense, the player of the game has to be Sam Montgomery, who was everywhere on the field and finished with six tackles and 1.5 TFLs. He's flying to the ball against both the run and pass, and if he wasn't making the play he was often setting it up for another teammate. Make no mistake, the Tigers will need him to anchor against Alabama's stretch running game. On the other side, Barkevious Mingo continues to do what he does best, fly off of the line of scrimmage and affect everything with his speed. When an offense rolls the pocket away from an end, he's not supposed to be able to still close on the QB.
- Pretty solid Badger impersonation by Ron Brooks, with 4 tackles, a half a tackle-for-loss, a pick-six, a breakup of a sure touchdown pass and a forced fumble.
- At linebacker, Tahj Jones really showed up as well in the rotation, and you can expect to see him on the field a lot in Tuscaloosa. He's not all that big, but neither are any of the other SAM linebackers on this team, and he seems to play with much more intensity.
- I'd like to take a moment to single out Brandon Taylor, who had a pedestrian day on the stat sheet (4 tackles), but really was the table-setter for the secondary, manning up on both Philip Lutzenkirchen and Onterrio McCalebb and all but erasing them from the game in the second half. By being able to slide down in coverage, he allowed the defense to keep three linebackers on at times, and at others he manned the nickel spot in place of Tyrann Mathieu. That sort of flexibility is invaluable.
- On a random note, did anybody notice how many players went doing John Randle-style with the eye-black? Gave some contrast to the storm trooper unis.
- Special teams -- methinks Auburn's return men might want to try some of synthetic weed for themselves this week. Might get the ringing out of their ears.