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blacksaint 08-31-2007 01:54 PM

Rabalais: Tigers not impressive
 
By SCOTT RABALAIS
Advocate sportswriter
Published: Aug 31, 2007


Win aside, Tigers not impressive

STARKVILLE, Miss. — If you were hoping No. 2-ranked LSU was going to open the 2007 season with an exclamation point Thursday against Mississippi State, you were still left with question marks.

If you were expecting explosions, the Tigers’ powder got wet on a soggy Mississippi night. If you hoped LSU would have all the answers, then you are the kind of person who flips straight to the last page to see how the novel turns out.

The grade on the Tigers after one game: incomplete. They are a work in progress, their 45-0 domination of the Bulldogs besides.

If that seems like a harsh judgment after such a lopsided victory, perhaps so. The Tigers have created an environment of Rocky Mountain high expectations, so when their play dips into the valley of disappointment on occasion, it leaves reason for doubt.

LSU at times was creaky on offense, driving the field for a score only once. Of course, the fact State kept handing LSU prime Starkville real estate with turnover after turnover tilted that field considerably. There were no LSU turn-overs, but eight penalties, making LSU have to work extra hard for its yards.

In short, LSU looked like a team with a retooled offensive line. And a new starting quarterback. And a mostly new fleet of receivers. And no dominant tailback. And three new offensive coaches.

The game plan seemed pretty darned conservative first time out under new coordinator Gary Crowton, running the ball on 27 of 32 first-down plays. Some of those, of course, came close to the goal line or late in the game after the matter was well decided. But aside from some new wrinkles — four wide receivers to block for one, misdirection plays and option, option, option — vanilla was the featured flavor of the night.

All of the gum in LSU’s gears wasn’t put there by the Tigers themselves. Mississippi State has a strong defense and running game. If the Bulldogs didn’t have to settle for Michael Henig, quite probably the SEC’s worst starting quarterback, State might be dangerous.

Instead, the Bulldogs only hurt themselves. LSU scored 38 points off State turnovers. If the Tigers had difficulty mounting multiple sustained scoring drives born on their end of the field, at least you have to credit them for being opportunistic. An outclassed team like Mississippi State hands you a knife, you have to drive it home. LSU did.

It’s unlikely that any LSU opponent will be so generous again this season. Certainly not Virginia Tech, a formidable top-10 opponent many times better than State.

As tests go, the Hokies will be quantitative business analysis. Beating the Bulldogs was 1 plus 2. There was nothing really to set off alarm bells for the Tigers. Also nothing to make an LSU fan want to rip a cowbell from a State fan and start clanging away in delight.

The Tigers were good enough. But LSU’s continued reign in the rain over State didn’t prove anything except that two Saturdays from now, the Tigers will have to be better than this.

2theadvocate.com | LSU Sports | Rabalais: Tigers not impressive -- Baton Rouge, LA

blacksaint 08-31-2007 02:09 PM

Re: Rabalais: Tigers not impressive
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blacksaint (Post 137300)
By SCOTT RABALAIS
Advocate sportswriter
Published: Aug 31, 2007


Win aside, Tigers not impressive

STARKVILLE, Miss. — If you were hoping No. 2-ranked LSU was going to open the 2007 season with an exclamation point Thursday against Mississippi State, you were still left with question marks.

If you were expecting explosions, the Tigers’ powder got wet on a soggy Mississippi night. If you hoped LSU would have all the answers, then you are the kind of person who flips straight to the last page to see how the novel turns out.

The grade on the Tigers after one game: incomplete. They are a work in progress, their 45-0 domination of the Bulldogs besides.

If that seems like a harsh judgment after such a lopsided victory, perhaps so. The Tigers have created an environment of Rocky Mountain high expectations, so when their play dips into the valley of disappointment on occasion, it leaves reason for doubt.

LSU at times was creaky on offense, driving the field for a score only once. Of course, the fact State kept handing LSU prime Starkville real estate with turnover after turnover tilted that field considerably. There were no LSU turn-overs, but eight penalties, making LSU have to work extra hard for its yards.

In short, LSU looked like a team with a retooled offensive line. And a new starting quarterback. And a mostly new fleet of receivers. And no dominant tailback. And three new offensive coaches.

The game plan seemed pretty darned conservative first time out under new coordinator Gary Crowton, running the ball on 27 of 32 first-down plays. Some of those, of course, came close to the goal line or late in the game after the matter was well decided. But aside from some new wrinkles — four wide receivers to block for one, misdirection plays and option, option, option — vanilla was the featured flavor of the night.

All of the gum in LSU’s gears wasn’t put there by the Tigers themselves. Mississippi State has a strong defense and running game. If the Bulldogs didn’t have to settle for Michael Henig, quite probably the SEC’s worst starting quarterback, State might be dangerous.

Instead, the Bulldogs only hurt themselves. LSU scored 38 points off State turnovers. If the Tigers had difficulty mounting multiple sustained scoring drives born on their end of the field, at least you have to credit them for being opportunistic. An outclassed team like Mississippi State hands you a knife, you have to drive it home. LSU did.

It’s unlikely that any LSU opponent will be so generous again this season. Certainly not Virginia Tech, a formidable top-10 opponent many times better than State.

As tests go, the Hokies will be quantitative business analysis. Beating the Bulldogs was 1 plus 2. There was nothing really to set off alarm bells for the Tigers. Also nothing to make an LSU fan want to rip a cowbell from a State fan and start clanging away in delight.

The Tigers were good enough. But LSU’s continued reign in the rain over State didn’t prove anything except that two Saturdays from now, the Tigers will have to be better than this.

2theadvocate.com | LSU Sports | Rabalais: Tigers not impressive -- Baton Rouge, LA

Seems like Scott Rabalais should know why the Tigers were so vanilla last night, being that he is a Baton Rouge reporter and all. Why should expose their entire playbook on an inferior opponent that they know don't stand a chance of beating them. The Tigers next game against Virginia Tech will be a lot more difficult than the Miss St. game, so why would you go deep into your playbook and give VTech something to build on. The Tigers accomplished just what they wanted to do, beat the Bulldogs convincingly without exposing any of their secrets, and not getting any significant injuries to key players. So I say that's a Tiger's victory in more ways than one.

papz 08-31-2007 03:35 PM

Re: Rabalais: Tigers not impressive
 
That first half was... actually I have no idea what that was. What we did in the second half gave everyone a peak at what we're going to do against Virginia Tech. Whether it was the rain, crowd, or not wanting to let Tech have good game tape against our offense... we will not be that "bland" again.

LongTimeFan 09-01-2007 08:58 PM

Re: Rabalais: Tigers not impressive
 
Some are saying that the Tigers looked weak on offense, my take on it is that they didn't have to show their upper hand playing against Mississippi because it was a fairly easy game going into the game, you'll see how strong the Tigers really are next week when we play VT...
Our defense looked very impressive, the Tigers will shut down some of the better offenses in college this year, they looked scary.
"the Tigers were so vainilla last night", yes they sure were.


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