'03 Season....Without P&G Glasses......

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by Hub, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. Hub

    Hub Founding Member

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    Alot of peoples thoughts, including my own, on the season are slanted that things are going to be better with essentially the same people from last year.

    So I'm taking a shot at pulling off the purple and gold glasses and be totally objective. Not going to speculate as to how any frosh is going to perform since they have practiced college football as of now 1 time. Look at the team based on what they did last year.

    1) QB - Scares the $hit out of me. Based on what we saw last year, unless there is drastic improvement by Mauck and/or Randall, we shouldn't expect much better than last year. Both had 1 good game......Fla/S. Carolina and a couple of decent half's. Both had plenty of half-ass or bad games.

    2) RB - I'm a big fan of Addai and think he will do well based on his performance last year. But, can he hold on to the ball better, can he handle being the feature back. Depth, a huge concern, hopefully someone steps up. Carey, etc. have no experience at all.

    3) WR - No question oustanding top 3....MC, DH, SG. Again need depth, some of the frosh need to step up. If they don't, then better pray for no injuries.

    4) OL - This is suppose to be one of the best lines in year. Funny though, it's almost the same guys from last year, except McGill, and last years line wasn't exactly dominant by any stretch. Supposed more depth......we'll see.

    5) Defense - Rather than a position by position breakdown, i feel it easier to think of it as a whole. In my eyes, the defenses stats that gave them lofty rankings last year were skewed. The first half of the season is where the great stats came from. Which is also where all the cupcakes fell on the schedule. Yes, the D played well against Va Tech and Fla and the 2nd half of S. Car....so there was some competition but for the most part the great #'s came from holding the ULL's to 100 yds of offense, etc.

    As for the 2nd half of the season, for the most part they get steam rolled. Ala and Aub games........a top notch defense would not have given up those kinda yards in any situation.

    So returning you have almost the same DL, CBs, and S's. Have to replace almost the entire LB corp.

    If some last year starters, back-ups or newcomers don't step up, the D could be bad.

    6) Special Teams - Punter in good shape; Kicker - no one that has ever kicked in college.....that's scary. Return and Coverage teams seemed to do well except for the penalties......typically a new group every year so we'll just have to see.

    I would expect that players, units, etc. would improve one year to the next. But when you look at where we let off, things don't look great.

    Ok, let the bashing begin.......I'm ready
     
  2. JustinTI

    JustinTI Founding Member

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    Not a bash but, the reason last years O-line didnt appear to be good was because we couldnt throw the ball. Teams would put 8 or 9 people in the box, and even if you had a pro o-line in there there is no way you can run the ball against an 9 man box. If we can throw the ball this year, which I believe we will be able to with a healthy Mauck, teams will have to respect the pass and then we will see how good our O-line is.
     
  3. lsu99

    lsu99 whashappenin

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    Fair assessment

    I thought the concerns are valid. I do expect (hope for) some of the returning starters to play better this year. For instance, hopefully the new O-line coach will improve the unit some and our D-line will be healthier. If the DEs aren't aggressive enough, play Oliver more. Kyle Williams played well in spot duty last year and we have Torran Williams for one more year to prove he isn't a bust. I'm still a little worried about the LB's but I think they can get the job done. Bottom line is that we were beginning to gell as a team when the Mauck/D. James events happened and it set us back. We are fortunate with our early season schedule this year. If we continue to improve each game, we'll be alright.
     
  4. red55

    red55 curmudgeon Staff Member

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    I'll never bash anybody for having an opinion, Hub. I agree that last years offensive line underperformed. It's true that they faced the 8-man box all year and they had some key injuries, but that's part of the game and all teams have to deal with it.

    Also these guys are playing under the third OL coach in 3 years, thats a tough situation. I don't think Nick liked the job that coach Yarno did last year and he "moved on". If the new OL coach works out and the line gets consistency in coaching, I think they will be much improved.

    This is the best-looking line in terms of potential since the "Root Hogs" of the 1970's, LSU's most distinguished offensive line.
     
  5. MobileBengal

    MobileBengal Founding Member

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    All valid points, Hub, but there were a lot of extenuating circumstances last year. So heres my rebuttal:

    1) QB- Im not worried about Mauck at all. All the reports are saying he has improved, and he wasnt that bad last year. The VT game would have been very winnable, had our WRs not dropped 7 or 8 well thrown passes. That was the only game he lost. He also had an excellent game against Miami (I know, not exactly SEC quality defense) going 15 of 26 for 215 yards and 3 TDs. He can only be better this year, and he wont be green. Randall lost more games, but this is more because of our defensive drop off (which I'll get to) than anything else. Randall had several good, if not great games. Everyone talks about the USC game as his one good game, but he was only 12 for 23 for 183 yards and 0 TDs, though he did rush 6 times for 36 yards and a TD. Our defense carried us through that game. The defense allowed only 275 yards, and had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD. This was Damien James last game. After that, Randall had two dismal performances against AU and UA, but went a combined 37-68 for 646 yards, 6 TDs, and no INTs against Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Arkansas. Thats 215 yards and 2 TDs on average for those 3 games. All this, and I still think Mauck is better. There was just a LOT of pressure put on a young QB after our defense started to faulter.

    2) RB- Im with you here. I have full confidence in Addai, but dont quite buy into Carey, at this point. I know you pruposely omitted freshmen, but I just cant ignore how talented our new guys are supposed to be. I dont think depth is a problem.

    3) WR- Agreed. Im not worried about these guys.

    4) OL- True, they werent overly dominating, but some of them were a little inexperienced, as well. Also, Wilkerson had some nagging injuries throughout the year, and he is the anchor of this line. This years line will be returning with a lot more experience and at least more depth, if not better depth. Peterman has been and will be the best pulling gaurd in the SEC. To me, they are obviously extraordinary.

    5) Defense- You are absolutely right about how and when the defense received their lofty ranking, but I think youre overlooking part of the reason for their mid-season collapse. I think the loss of DJ was more profound than some would like to admit. This isnt necessarily a good thing (remember Saban's comment about less sheep and more wolves?). I think the loss of his talent, the loss of his leadership, and the manner in which he left the team really hurt the unity and morale of the defense. Being at the Auburn game, I saw first hand how flat the D was in the first DJ-less game. It never got better. The DL was injured, too. LB is a concern, though.

    6) Special Teams- I think youre right on with this one. DD and Corbello were great.

    Overall, I think we are in much better shape than we were at this time last year. And remember, even with all the adversity, we were still 2 consecutive hail marry's away from being 9-3 and going back to Atlanta. The defense may not be as good as it was the first half of last season, but I dont see them being any worse than they were the second half. The offense is another story. This offense is going to be good. I have every bit of faith in Mauck. Saban says hes better, and in better shape. He also said that in terms of strength and conditioning, this is the best squad he has ever had, including the 2001 squad...and by a lot.
     
  6. RCD IV

    RCD IV Founding Member

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    Many good points, but a few counter-points:

    It is not a good argument to say that the o-line wasn't very good last year, so the same unit returning intact won't be good this year. If you follow college football (and LSU, specifically) at all, you know that o-line units rarely get to play together for extended lengths of time, due to injuries, graduation, and the lenght of time it takes to become big/strong enough to start in the SEC. The fact that these guys have extensive experience, have played together for a long of time, and have had another year of weight training, point to the fact that they will be much better. Aside from that, I think they were pretty damn good last year. This is the single most important part of a football team, and is the reason that we will be very good.

    While I am not totally confident in our QB situation, I do think Mauck will be good enough. I think he was improving throughout '02, and gaining confidence. I think the team believes in him, and his supporting cast (OL/skill players), will make him shine.

    I think the RB situation is totally being blown out of proportion. This is one position where a true frosh can contribute. Does anyone remember Dalton Hilliard or Kevin Faulk? Aside from this point, Addai is a stud.

    Finally, defense. This is the area of greatest concern. I cannot believe how short we are at FS and SS, considering the athletes that we sign. I hope that Jack Hunt is as wiley and tough as we hear that he is. What about Jeff Cook? We kept hearing that he was an impact player that we would not soon forget. Oh well, I hope U La La gets more out of him than we did. And, what about LB??? I think we will be OK, but hope we do not have any injuries. The only saving grace about this d, is the obviously the line. However, it may be the most important aspect. If our horses on the d-line can prevent stuff the good running teams (especially AU), and provide a good 4-man pass rush, the defense may surprise us. If not, I hope the offense is even better than I expect.

    9/2, 10/1 reg season (losses to AU, or GA/AU)??
     
  7. MobileBengal

    MobileBengal Founding Member

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    No faith in the CBs? I think Gay and Webster may be the best duo in the SEC, and Im not the only one. Several of these preseason outlooks have made similar comments. Otherwise, I agree with everything you said. I think the LBs and safeties will surprise us, though. Its just a matter of time before Cameron Vaughn becomes our next superstar at LB. I think Ken Hollis will contribute right away, and Dave Peterson, Jason LeDoux, and Lionel Turner will all push for time. I am concerned about safety more than any other position, so Im really hoping Jack Hunt plays well. He certainly has the heart.
     
  8. RCD IV

    RCD IV Founding Member

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    I didn't say anything about CB's... I agree we are in good shape on the corners.
     
  9. MobileBengal

    MobileBengal Founding Member

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    Oh, I gotcha. Just a little clarification on what I posted above...I dont know why I said Lionel Turner will "push for time". Obviously, he will be starting. Otherwise, I think I typed everything how I meant it. :shock:
     
  10. ChuckE

    ChuckE Founding Member

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    Each of you has made excellent points. I will add my two cents and hope I don’t offend anyone. I know there were many reasons for the breakdown of the defense after the UF game. Pass rush was basically non-existent last season for whatever combination of reasons.

    If we don’t have consistent pressure on the opposing QB and our D-line keep the opposing OL off our linebackers, at least early on, we can be in trouble. I don’t care how good our secondary is, if the opposing QB has all day to throw the ball, they can only cover so long. The key is the DL. Reference the Arkansas game. One of very few games that we had a real pass rush until the final Arkansas possession. No pressure at all and the QB lit us up. We can all say the receiver was not covered or blown coverage, but the DL IMO is responsible for that.

    I believe if you count the number of times LSU went 3 and out putting the defense back on the field game in & out, must account for some of the drop off by the D. Playing FB in the type of weather that the SEC plays, takes a toll regardless of the conditioning and when depth is minimal, it really hurts a team and with that many 3 and outs, our D was back on the field. Reference the Auburn game.

    Matt will be much better than average. I believe this with all my heart wearing no P&G glasses. I know it’s early, but reading the reports so far, Matt and Randall is not even close. I think the deeper into practice we get, the more separation we will see. Remember, Matt has not played since the UF game (other than the spring game). This young man is going to lead his team and no freshman is going to unseat him this year. The offense will move the ball giving our D the needed rest and we will be a much better team. “Addai is a stud” 3rd string RB, nagging injuries and gained almost 500 yards. My only concern is Addai holding onto the ball. OL concern is penalties “drive killers”.

    Special teams will be okay. We will have someone to return punts and KO’s. I believe 9-3 or 10-2 is very possible. Don’t be surprised if the record is better. Reference “Ohio State, Iowa” I know Iowa was blown out against USC, but that was there Auburn game. (Playing flat)
     

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