It's extremely grey and overcast here in Baton Rouge. Appropriate, since the past 12 hours sounds like some sort of trauma out of an Edgar Allen Poe story. I'm not sure what's worse. The headache, the pit in my stomach, the bewilderment of the reality or the sense of futility. A season that should feel great now feels empty. Like something we should all be glad to be rid of and eager to forget. Which is stupid, because I don't care who you are, undefeated regular seasons and SEC titles are things you should always want to remember. But if this is how it ends, what's the point?
Sure, it occurred to me that LSU could lose this game. Hell, it played out somewhat similar to what I told you all to watch for. But not like that. The party wasn't supposed to end when an 18-wheeler plowed through the center of it.
Right now everybody's angry and lost. Trying to find someone to blame. As usual, there isn't one person or one thing.
- But if we're going to start somewhere, start with the Tiger offensive line. Defensively, Alabama did exactly what I thought they would do. They sat with their safeties back on the hashes and played zone underneath, sure to erase any deep routes, and dared LSU to run the football. And the line simply couldn't get any push. For the entire game Bama's defensive line had the offense playing on their own side of the line of scrimmage, and the linebackers had completely freedom to chase down ball-carriers.
- That said, the coaching staff still completely abandoned its bread-and-butter play, the inside zone-toss. If it was run more than twice I'd be surprised. They spent too much time trying to get the short pass and option game going. The former has never been Jordan Jefferson's forte, and the latter got no traction.
- Speaking of Jefferson, he's getting the bulk of the blame, and while I still think the o-line was a bigger culprit, he was still pretty awful. On the option he was timid, trying to get the corner too often instead of attacking the end man to take him out of the play with the pitch. On the pass, he was too hesitant early and pressing late.
- I'm not sure Jarrett Lee would have made much of a difference with the offensive line and running game struggling that much, but at a certain point you just have to try something different.
- I can't kill the defense, given that they spent most of the night out on the field and kept Bama out of the endzone despite some very bad spots. But credit Jim McElwain for a great gameplan of short passes on first down to get the Tigers playing back on their heels. Ryan Baker in particular probably had the worst game of his career. Missing tackles and getting lost in coverage.
- The d-line tried, but even they got worked over too many times. Four different times Alabama was in second and 10 or longer, a clear running situation for this team, and was still able to rush for five yards or more. Michael Brockers and Barkevious Mingo made some nice hustle plays, but usually after they got blown off the ball.
- Overall, the team just looked completely listless. Something I haven't really seen out of an LSU team since the 2008 Troy game. No aggression. From anybody. They all just kept looking around like they were waiting for somebody else to make a play. And when the whole team does that, a play never comes.