I still think it sucks to be a Florida Gator, but we're over and done with the Orange and Blue, for now at least. As I mentioned in Upon Further Review... it was a different style game for this LSU team, grinding out first downs and keeping Florida off the scoreboard, rather than racing out t a big time lead, relenting a little, then pouring it on again. But these are the types of games that make teams battle tested.
If you had told me last week at this time that LSU would lose time of possession by nearly 10 minutes, Zach Mettenberger wouldn't throw a touchdown and the game was played in a clock-eating style, I'd have known immediately that LSU lost. Except, all of those things happened and we still pulled out a healthy victory. If Florida truly is a proving grounds game, how much did we learn?
1) The Attitude Era
About the only thing missing from last Saturday was Zach Mettenberger running over to the sideline, dumping a couple of High Lifes down his throat and giving the Albert the Gator the Stone Cold Stunner. Of course, then he'd methodically stand up, peer over in the direction of Albert's beloved mascot wife, Alberta, and as she cowered in terror, he'd give her a good Stone Cold Stunner too.
Ok, that's a wild exaggeration of how edgy LSU played, but the mentality should persist. We could use a little more Steve Austin in our DNA, I think. Illustrating that we can beat an opponent by going score for score, or by slugging it out and knocking through FGs, LSU is proving just how damn good they are.
2) Can You Cover?
While it's clear we saw improvements from the LSU defense in the Florida game, most notably a consistent pass rush, we're still unclear on whether our back seven can really cover back there. Florida's offense isn't engineered for big play strikes and Murphy wasn't the type of QB that would thrive in those types of plays.
Bo Wallace, on the other hand, is a guy that can make things happen down field. He's struggled with the deep passing game some this year, seemingly playing less like a gambler while striving for greater efficiency, but the ability is there. Tre White got benched for his efforts against Georgia. He struggled some against Mississippi State and then didn' thave many chanced against Florida.How will he handle matching up with the much bigger WRs Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell? Can Corey Thompson handle the load in coverage? What about Rashard Robinson in the nickel? This should be his biggest challenge yet.
3) Tidying Up
With all due respect to the merry bunch of Rebels that Freeze will be leading into battle, the current state of their defense PLUS all the injuries means this should be little more than a tune up for Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense. I was surprised that we unveiled more Anthony Jennings plays against Florida. I'm not sure Ole Miss is the team to pull out the bag of tricks against.
Instead, we should focus on tidying up. The OL should continue to build upon the strong outing from last week, including improved communication. Let's try and go a game without turning the ball over, okay guys? Show up, clean house, get out.
4) Red Rover, Red Rover, Send the Freshman On Over
When I think about this game, I picture a big kid with his hand on a littler kids forehead, keeping him at bay, unable to be harmed. Ole Miss is simply outmatched, primarily due to the serious number of injuries sustained.
As is the case, young players should see a lot of playing time this week, both on offense and defense. It's a good time to sprinkle those guys into the lineup without being overly selective to pick your spots. I'm not saying we start the game with Anthony Jennings at QB and a host of back-up OL. But I am saying that young players should see the field early and often in this one, because LSU can very likely be the big kid with his hand on the littler kid's forehead in this one. Even if Ole Miss "threatens," it's not likely to be enough to put the game in doubt.
5) Break All the Records
Forget everything I just said, let's drop 90 on these pukes.