In order to get you prepared for the MSU game, I exchanged emails with fellow SB Nation blogger jeremyflint of For Whom the Cowbell Tolls (great blog name, by the way). Jeremy graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me, and I'm sure he'll post my answers to his questions a little bit later.
Question One: First off, congrats on the win. I went to LSU during the Dark Days of Hallman (or as you like to think of them, "The Glory Days"), so I know when you're trying to rebuild a program, every win counts. What's your early impression of Dan Mullen and what are your expectations this year and then over the next five?
I think Dan Mullen has brought some excitement back to the program that we haven't had in a long time. Even during the Croom tenure, we seemed to be stuck in the same offensive rut of run it up the middle twice, pass and punt. It is great to see our offense actually scoring some points and even better to see our special teams perform so well after the low spot they hit under the previous coaching staff.
I think as long as we can win the games we are supposed to win this year and keep improving from week to week, this season will be considered a success. As we start recruiting more players that fit into Mullen's system, we will get better, and hopefully be back in the upper ranks of the SEC West in a few years.
Question Two: I haven't seen much of the Bulldogs this year. Help me out. What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?
Suprisingly, our biggest strength seems to be our special teams. We are making field goals, providing excellent coverage on kick-offs and punts, and having some decent returns.
Our running game is also a big strength. We have a 4-pack of backs starting with Anthony Dixon. He is lighter this year by about 20 pounds, which gives him better shiftiness, but he can also still pound it up the middle for the yardage when needed. Christian Ducre is an excellent back that is also a passing threat on short routes. Then you can round it out with Robert Elliott and Arnil Stallworth.
At QB, we have been using a 2-man system, rotating between Tyson Lee and Chris Relf. Tyson is our more accurate passing QB. He doesn't have as much pure arm strength as Relf does, but he is more accurate, so you will often see him in the game when we are in passing mode. Chris Relf is more of a "Tebow" type QB, but not as accurate on passing. He has great arm strength, but can also let passes get away from him. His biggest feature is his ability to scramble for yardage when the passing options break down.
On defense, our line and linebackers are our strongest features there. We are slower on the outside and in the secondary after losing Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh, but Zack Smith is filling in nicely. He just doesn't have the top-end speed that we were used to seeing out of Pegues.
Question Three: All right, time to get down to the game. Tyson Lee and Chris Relf don't exactly scare anyone, and MSU seems to be relying primarily on the run in SEC play. Do you think the running game is going to get going on Saturday? Why or why not?
Yeah, the running game will definitely get going. Looking at the season stats, LSU is allowing just shy of 130 yards on the ground. Our offensive line is playing better this year, especially in the spread formations where the defense can't stack up in the box as much.
Question Four: 589 yards allowed to Auburn. 157 yards allowed to Vandy. Pick the yards allowed by MSU against LSU and why.
I would say somewhere in the middle - 300 - 350. Our defense was totally shell shocked by Auburn and looked completely lost out there. Our coaches have taken the blame for that. Vandy has a terrible offense - they haven't even racked up 400 yards over 3 games yet.
LSU has a powerhouse running in Charles Scott, and then you throw Brandon LaFell and Trindon Holiday into the mix. I look for the Tigers to be able to roll up about 350 yards on us.
Question Five: Let's say you're charging the field en route to tear down the goalposts after a huge upset over a top ten LSU team. What has to happen for this joyous event (for you, at least) to occur?
With a 9-game winning streak over the us, we would definitely rush the field after a victory over LSU. it would also be a nice signature win for Mullen's first year at the helm. Its not just the fact that LSU has won 9 in a row, it is way they have done it, blowing us out every time. So whether its a win by 1 or a win by 14, I think you will see lots of Bulldog fans rushing the field if we can pull off a win over a top-10 LSU team.
Hey, thanks for dropping by, jeremy. Good luck to your Dogs, they are gonna need it.