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The Hangover

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Well, it could've been worse.  We could have lost that game. 

The question for me is whether I would be this bothered by the game had we not had the experience of last year.  If LSU was coming off a 10-2 campaign, getting an ugly win against a Pac-10 team in a game that ended well past midnight wouldn't bother me in the least.  But our antennae are up for any sign of disaster.

I'm not checking the boxscore yet, as I like to have a full "Behind the Numbers" post during the week.  So this is all off observation and gut.  It's a good starting point before we actually look at the numbers in a cold, clinical manner. This was definitely a win that felt like a loss.

In that vein, let's just talk about all of the bad stuff right now and we'll take you back to the shire over the course of the week.  Because, all in all, I'm not too unhappy with a sloppy win.  Sloppy wins in week one don't bother me as a rule, especially wins that were never seriously in doubt.  Let's not lose sight of the fact UW only touched the ball once in the second half with a chance to tie the game, and that was their first possession of the third quarter. 

OK, that was a long lead up to the griping, so it comes after the break.

The pass rush was terrible.  Absolutely worthless.  Richard made apologies for it in his initial thoughts, but I completely and whole heartedly disagree.  The pass rush was almost completely non-existent.  Locker had all day to pass and even worse, when his protection broke down after what seemed like ten seconds in the pocket, he consistently was able to scramble for five to ten yards.  To review, no pass rush AND no containment.  It was the worst of both worlds. 

The offensive line must be pretty happy with how terrible the defensive line played because it took some of the focus off of their performance.  I'm going to let the fact Ciron Black apparently is on a different snap count as everyone else slide as first game jitters, but the line was unable to get any sort of push for the running game after the first drive.  Jefferson didn't have a whole lot of time in the pocket. 

Admittedly, the play calling was beyond vanilla.  It was so white bread, Wonder Bread considered suing Crowton for copyright infringement.  The playbook seemed to only have four plays: run middle, option, draw, and out route.  That could certainly contribute to the offensive line looking poor, but they completely failed to fire off the ball.  That's not play calling, that's effort. 

The tackling, of course, was the worst thing about the game.  For a defense that spent most of the offseason being horribly maligned for last season's effort, you'd think they would come out extra motivated to show last season was, well, last season.  Instead, it was the same lethargic effort we got most of last season.  Was the late start on the west coast a factor?  Maybe.  But it was a pretty disturbing sign.  LSU had every reason to be motivated and come out to make a statement, yet they failed to do so, particularly on defense. 

Charles Scott getting blown backwards on the goalline was one of those "oh, crap" moments that I'd rather not get into.  That is the sort of thing that isn't supposed to happen.  I want to blame the line, but Scott also had no forward momentum.  He doesn't look like the same power back from early last year.  That needs to be fixed immediately. 

Hell, even the punting sucked.  It was that sort of game.  But even with all of the poor tackling, poor line play, and unimaginative play calling, LSU won this game with relative ease.  There was never a moment that Washington really had a chance to win.  They hung around all game, they just couldn't make the game interesting.  The truly myopic fans will claim LSU would have lost if not for turnovers.  Maybe that's true, but Scott lost a fumble deep in UW territory and the UW fumble eventually lead to the field position giving the Huskies a field goal anyway.  And it's not like LSU was some passive observer, especially the INT.  Jacob Cutrera made that play happen.  Considering LSU lost so many games last season due to their own self-inflicted wounds, it was nice to see it turned around.  The points don't count any less if the defense scores them.  If you believe LSU was lucky to win because of a pick six, then you must think the team should have be 10-3 last year. 

It's just one game.  And it was still a win.  But it doesn't really feel like it.  I'm going to cure this hangover by drinking some more bourbon and not thinking about it anymore.