“I’m just gonna tell you one thing men, a change is fixin’ to come...”-Ed Orgeron
In case you missed it, and I don’t know how you could, last week Dwayne Thomas made some pretty bold statements about Alabama.
The statement has been semi-retracted by other members of the team including Coach Orgeron, who said he will have “a talk” with Thomas, but I think that’s bullshit.
Outside of the “BREAKING: Competitive Athlete Thinks He Will Win Game” headline, Thomas’ comments are exactly the comments that need to be made in this rivalry. I’ve long since said that Alabama has been living in LSU’s head rent-free and I don’t see how anybody can disagree with that at this point. Since the meltdown in January, LSU has had Alabama on the ropes twice and allowed the Crimson Tide to come off of it both times and steal a win. In 2012 Zach Mettenberger came from nowhere to light Bama up, but with a late lead the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds and a screen pass beat LSU’s prevent defense. Vadal Alexander pushing LSU out of touchdown territory after a huge turnover with a personal foul. And last year was worse, when undefeated LSU thought that running right at them for 60 minutes would be enough.
But the rent is always due eventually.
To understand Thomas’ comments, you need to understand the national picture and how the rest of the nation will perceive this game. If LSU does the damn thing and brings down the red menace, then the nation will adorn them and Coach O with praise, and LSU will be rewarded accordingly with a bolstered poll ranking and playoff buzz if they can survive the rest of the schedule and win in Atlanta. If LSU loses, then the expected outcome was produced and nothing changes. Nobody will think any less of LSU for losing a close one to Alabama. In addition to that, if LSU beats Alabama Ed Orgeron is all but going to be named head coach of LSU. If he doesn’t, then he still has the best shot of getting the job, as nobody expects an interim coach to step in and go undefeated, much less in the SEC West. This is the definition of playing with house money.
The movie 300 was pretty much an ode to testosterone: slow motion footage of graphic shots pinned to a (highly fictionalized) underdog story. I’ve always avoided comparisons to 300 because of it’s highly fictionalized nature, but there’s one aspect of the story that I highly enjoyed: the death of Leonidas. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story, an army of 300 Spartans fighting valiantly against an army of Persians that dwarfs them in size and strength blah blah blah. For much of the movie, the Spartans are victorious, but eventually the Persians win and Leonidas is forced to kneel to Xerxes. While he is kneeling, Leonidas grabs a spear and throws it at Xerxes, an action that kills Leonidas. Leonidas fails to kill Xerxes as the spear only cuts his face, but killing him wasn’t the point of the action. By cutting Xerxes, Leonidas has shown the Persian army, as well as the Spartans that Xerxes can bleed and is not a god as he and his masses claim.
Dwayne Thomas is LSU’s Leonidas. He is not the best player in the secondary, but he said what desperately needed to be said by somebody in purple and gold. He may get picked on, he may get beaten, he may get run over, he may get juked out of his shoes, but before that he stood to Alabama. LSU may lose to Alabama, but not before they let them know that they will not be resigned to simply accepting a loss. It doesn’t matter whether the spear cuts or kills, the message was sent.
Just like Dwayne, I don’t care if Bama posts that in their locker room. In fact, I prefer it. I hope some Bama wide receiver prints it out and uses it as a bookmark. If it gets to them that much, then they know we’re not going to take living in their shadow any longer and they will have to fight to the last man to beat LSU.
Alabama is in the midst of one of the greatest dynasties of all time. There’s no denying that fact and it sucks that it coincides with one of the greatest upswings of LSU football. But if you want to see them fall, then stop treating them like gods. We’re not trapped in the SEC West with Alabama, Alabama is trapped in the SEC West with us.
You want a win? Come and take it.
Dwayne has it right. Call them out. If they walk over you, then make sure they only did so after they earned it. Hit them first and make sure that even if they hit you back harder, that you return the favor. Don’t give them anything, especially a mental advantage. Whatever Alabama gets on the field is the result of them putting 100% effort into each play and making sure that every single play is the perfect call in that situation. The days of giving free passes to Alabama are over.
Are you going to live on your knees or die on your feet?