Monday, September 27, 2010

LSU vs. West Virginia Recap

After a 20-14 win against West Virginia the LSU Tigers are 4-0, but even with an untarnished record there is still plenty to talk about.

In Week 1 LSU surrendered 24 points to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Since then the defense had been in lockdown mode. Against Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and West Virginia, LSU has given up a COMBINED 24 points. The offense needs work (we will get there), but for now let's focus on the excellent job Miles has done on getting this defensive unit together. After the nightmare 2008 campaign, Miles hired long time Tennessee Volunteer defensive coordinator John Chavis. In 2009, the unit looked okay. This season Chavis's crew has taken the next step. Against West Virginia, one of the Big East's premier offenses, LSU shut down the Mountaineers to a measly 177 yards of total offense. The one thing about this unit I am liking more and more each game is there tackling. There are no missed tackles. Guys make the tackle on attempt one. I am also starting to see a young Laron Landry in Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu is a guarantee for at least one big time play a game whether that's a sack, forced fumble or whatever, Mathieu, even as a freshman, has a knack for disturbing an offense's flow.

Equally as impressive as the defense was the special teams. In a game that featured little offense having LSU score off a punt return and block a field goal might of been the difference for the Tigers. As each week passes more and more people across the country are beginning to see the superhuman himself, Mr. Patrick Peterson. Peterson's punt return seemed so effortless; he moves at a different pace. I know it let West Virginia back in the game, but I have to admit Peterson's Heisman pose was worth it. The only thing holding No. 7 back from making even more plays is the cramps he frequently gets in the second half of games.

Now on to the bad news. The offense.

The word "suck" is thrown out a lot these days. Someone may say there team sucks, but truly not understand the meaning of the word. Well, in the case of the LSU offense, their offense did indeed suck. For the third straight week Jordan Jefferson threw for less than 100 yards. This week he threw for 76. On a team with a great secondary, a great defensive line, a solid offensive line, a good running back corps, a good wide receiver corps, the Tigers have an inefficient quarterback. I stood by Jefferson all last year. I believed he would mature from his mistakes in 2009. I believed Miles this summer and I believed Jefferson when he said things would change. But after four games I have say there needs to be some sort of change. There has to be some accountability. Jefferson looks worse than last year. His presence in the pocket has taken a nose dive and his inability to make simple downfield throws seems to have gotten worse. The booing does not help and if you participate in that I am certain you are an idiot. Les Miles needs to give Jarrett Lee a chance this year. Lee needs to be given more snaps.

(Call me crazy but Jarrett Lee in 2008 is better than Jordan Jefferson in 2010. Lee was good for lets say 24 points a game. And every other game he was good for a pick six. Lee had some games where he put up more than 24. With LSU's current defense a couple interceptions would not be the end of the world. I will take that over LSU's current situation. Wow I can't believe I said that, but that is how bad the quarterback situation has gotten.)

I really do hope Jefferson turns it around. I hope the light goes off in his head, but from what I am seeing he is hurting the team by being on the field. Miles needs to realize this and give more snaps to Lee. If Lee does not get on the field anymore, honestly what must happen for it to ever happen?

The quarterback of the 2010 LSU Tigers does not have to throw for 300 yards a game along with two touchdowns. Simply put, the quarterback just needs to be a game manager. Jefferson is not succeeding at this. The LSU defense and the special teams seem more and more like LSU's best chance to score. I am dead serious.

But all the blame can not be placed on Jefferson alone.

The play calling for the LSU offense is abyssal to say the least. Once again the game plan stunk and the creativity we all loved about Miles's offensive play calls was no where to be seen. What frustrates me the most is Miles and Crowton's insistence to continue to run plays that have NEVER worked. For instance, the short side of the field option. If I told you that every Saturday morning Gary Crowton shows up with six pieces of notebooks with six plays written on them in crayon you might believe me, right? That's how bad the offensive game plan is.

And this leads me to my final point. Does Les Miles adapt or is he arrogant? Right now the defense is leading LSU to victories, but with the meat of the schedule coming up the Tigers offense must get better. Will Miles, after weeks of the unit struggling, realize a change must be made, new plays must be put in, Lee needs to be given a chance or will he simply stick to his guns and insist upon the same, ineffective, wasteful offensive game plan?

I hope the offense turns it around. I hope the unit gels and gets the ball rolling, but I am skeptical to believe that Miles will adapt. He is who he is and Les Miles has rarely been one to change his approach.

Regardless of the outcome.

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