September 15, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) goes back for a pass against the Idaho Vandals during the second half at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Idaho 63-14. Mandatory Credit: Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE
I can search for any other way of putting it, but nothing really comes to mind: it says something about your team that you can win 63-14 in a game in which you still played fairly flat and disinterested at times.
Overall, this game reminded me a lot of LSU's opener. Sloppy at times. Not really bad. Even saying LSU really struggled would be a bit disingenuous here, because the first 60-point scoring output since 1997 came without much effort. Just...sloppy. The Tigers played like they knew they could drop the hammer on this team at any moment -- and while we'd all like to see a rampaging Mongol horde in purple & gold every week, the reality is we're still watching 85 college students -- if they get through a disinterested blowout without injury, then really the mission is accomplished. At the risk of an incredible cliché, the coaching staff will still have plenty to harp on over the next week.
- And once again, Zach Mettenberger sort of embodied the overall effort. Not a bad showing at all -- 17-22, with a couple of outstanding reads and check-downs while still averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt. His deep ball flutters on him just a bit, though that could be due to some pressure problems popping up once again. His interception was a classic stare-down, allowing a linebacker to jump down onto a double-slant attempt. What's sad is, if he hitches up he probably had a very open receiver somewhere else on that play.
- Run blocking was again stout, and again the pass protection could use some work. Josh Dworaczyk came back to Earth a little bit after a fantastic game last week. He'll probably need some help next week versus Auburn's Corey Lemonier. Don't be surprised if we see more of the Alex Hurst/Vadal Alexander swap -- being able to pound d-ends with that twosome will slow down most pass-rushes.
- Four of 10 on third down, and eight penalties, mostly of the pointless variety. Sloppy.
- Seeing Poseur's notes on Russell Sheppard, I can't help but have a slightly more mixed review. A few sloppy routes and at least one drop. The more I watch him, the more I feel like his best place is the backfield, both fielding handoffs and catching passes out of.
- Kevin Minter continued his emergence as a big-time player with six tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss, while Ronald Martin made a major push for some more playing time at safety. He got caught peaking in the backfield on one of Idaho's touchdown passes, but showed a real knack for getting his hands on the ball otherwise, while pulling in five tackles himself. Having another versatile safety would really free up Eric Reid, who has spent a whole lot of time near the line of scrimmage the last two weeks.
- Special teams notes -- loved Michael Ford on kick returns. Plays into his running style and his speed very well, and having somebody that can steal a couple yards on deep kicks could come in very handy later on, even if he can't take kicks back the full 100. Corey Thompson is really developing into one of the kickoff team's top kamikazes.
- Do you ever think Brad Wing watches other punters and says "That? That ain't a punt...THIS...is a punt..."?
- Funny thing, I totally expected to look at the box score and see a huge stat line for Lavar Edwards. The guy was just all over the field, subbing in at both end and tackle and being incredibly active. Just one tackle and a half a TFL, despite his incredibly athletic interception and touchdown return. Edwards has always been one heck of an athlete out there, with some real size as an end too. If he can continue to play consistently, the rest of the league will have a whole lot to stop than just Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo at d-end.
- Credit Idaho for a game effort, and credit Dominique Blackman for likely being more talented than couple of the QBs we'll be seeing over the next few weeks. There isn't a whole lot more to say here. Ugly game, yet dominant in a way that's still really hard to complain about. SEC play starts this week, against an Auburn team that just looks brutally overmatched right now.