LSU Mississippi State Report Card - Late Due to Hurrican Lili

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by Sabertooth, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Founding Member

    Jun 6, 2002
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    I ‘m a little delayed with the report due to the hurricane.

    Where do I start? Saturday’s game felt like a heavy weight fight in which the champion comes out offensively aggressive the first couple of rounds and the challenger counters with a surprise aggressive defensive stance. The champion then realizes in order to win the fight he does not have to hit the challenger with that quick surprise powerful uppercut. He can methodically jab the challenger into the ground thus beating the dog #### out of him. On Saturday, LSU realized mid-way through the second quarter that its semi-aggressive offensive game plan was not working. A combination of poor pass blocking, bad play selection and poor quarterback performance coupled with an intense aggressive Mississippi State defense correlated to a running bumbling fumbling LSU offensive in the first quarter and a half. At that point, the LSU coaches realized that they could run the ball at will against a worn down Mississippi State defense. During one stretch, LSU ran 16 straight running plays controlling and dominating the line of scrimmage. Mississippi State knew LSU was running the ball and could not do anything to counter. It brought back bad memories the night that Ole Miss came into Tiger Stadium and did the same thing to us. They constantly were running over their big tackle Wade, who now plays in the NFL, and we could not do anything to combat it.

    Quarterback: Grade: D-

    At this point, we have a nonexistent passing attack. Statistically 4 for 14 and 52 yards will not win you many ball games. We did on Saturday but on the benefit of a poorly coached, unconditioned Mississippi State team. I would be extremely surprise with this past week’s passing performance duplicated in any of the remaining games with the exception of ULL that LSU would win. One observation, all season long Matt Muack cannot throw the ball while on the move. He is a much better pocket passer. Much of that was pretty evident in the Miami of Ohio game (his most successful game to date) and the lone touchdown completion to Henderson on Saturday. Yet, LSU still insist on calling plays that move that pocket and have him on rollouts with the option to run. Most of the time when Mauck is on the run trying to throw the ball, the results are not even close to a completion. Part of this play calling could be attributed to LSU’s inability to pass block in the first couple of games against quality opponents. The bottom line is LSU must get better passing ball if they expect to win more games than they lose for the remaining of the season. I did not give him an F because he did throw one touchdown and 0 interceptions and LSU did win the game. Also, sometimes it’s hard to find any timing or rhythm if you only throw 12 times in a game. Saban said that actually 17 passing plays were called. The other 5 resulted in runs by the quarterback, a sack and two forced fumbles.

    Running Backs: Grade: A

    What a performance by Davis. I have been critical of Davis all season long of not holding on to the ball and not stepping up. He stepped up this game. LSU rushed the ball for 256 yards with Davis collecting 122 and Toefield 73. Davis has that rare ability to cut on a dime and side step tackles which is beautiful to watch. Is Toefield 100%? My guess is he is not but is real close.

    Wide Receivers: Grade: F

    It’s pretty harsh but LSU continues to put the ball on the carpet and mental errors are running rampant. I do not have the details but what I gather from listening to Saban talk this is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the team to him. Saban continues to suggest that mental breakdowns are occurring way too often. From what I gather, too many routes are being run wrong and too many missed blocking assignments not to mention the dropped passes and fumbles. I do not recall any dropped passes in Saturday’s game but they only had 12 opportunities to drop any. The real critical turnover was Henderson’s fumble on a bubble screen that setup Mississippi State’s only towndown.

    Offensive Line:
    Run Blocking: A
    Pass Blocking: F

    We are talking about two extremes here. What a tremendous job of run blocking. When the opposing team knows you are going to run the ball and they cannot do anything to stop you is nothing but pure domination. On LSU’s second towndown before halftime, I believe LSU ran the ball 10 straight times averaging around 7 yards a carry. On the flip side, pass blocking was pretty bad which probably contributed to LSU succumbing to running the football. The pass blocking is also credited with one broken chart board from the wrath of offensive line coach George Yarno. At one point in the first half, I saw Yarno sprint onto the field after a third down failure. My first thought was he was hollering at an official but further review showed him ranting at all the offensive line. Sideline reports clarified Yarno’s displeasure with the offensive line due to mass confusion, missed blocking assignments and lack of intensity by dragging butts back to the huddle after plays.

    Defensive Line: Grade: B+

    I think this was the best performance for the defensive line to date. Lavalaise had a tremendous game recording 8 unassisted tackles and one assisted. Marquis Hill has been improving week to week. He recorded another sack this week increasing his season total to 2 sacks. Marcus Spears also had a nice game. From my viewpoint, he had a lot of penetration on both run and pass plays. Although the pressure was good, sack production will need increase as the seasons wears on. We only recorded one sack for the game. Some people might ask why sacks are important. Simple, it usually puts the offense in long yardage situations.

    Linebackers: Grade A-

    B James had another solid game. His only mishap was probably on the coin toss when LSU had to kick off in both the first and second half. He led the team again in tackles with 5 unassisted and 7 assisted tackles. Both Lawrence and Turner had solid games probably their best to date. However, we did lose containment a couple of times on the outside in which Mississippi State running backs picked up large gains. Statistically Turner and Lawrence combined for 7 unassisted tackles and 1 unassisted tackle.

    Defensive Backs: Grade: A-

    Another tremendous effort turned in by the defensive backs. Both Gay and Webster had outstanding games. Gay’s interception that was nullify because of an offside penalty was probably as fine of an interception that I seen in a while. He made a great defensive play on the ball. In one game, Webster has demonstrated that he should be starting over Hookfin. He plays the ball very well and his technique allows him to be in position to make plays on the ball. Now don’t get me wrong, Hookfin did not have that bad of a game but he did not have that great of a game either. Mississippi State could have easily had two or three more touchdowns on passes that were either overthrown or receivers dropped ball all which Hookfin was badly beaten. He also committed another pass interference penalty in the end zone - his third or fourth of the season. This could have easily been a closer game on those plays. Hookfin redeemed himself with an interception late in the game with a good aggressive play on the ball. There is no way Saban will replace the senior Hookfin with Webster before the season ends. LSU fans don’t be surprise too see Hookfin give up many big plays especially with quarterbacks like Grossman and Manning left on the schedule. All the quarterbacks this season have picked on Hookfin predominantly and are you surprise. Both D James and Lejeune had good games. However, Saban was pretty adamant late in the fourth quarter with the play of the safeties on playing for 60 minutes. One incident came before the interception by Webster in the end zone. A defensive play was called for Lejeune to blitz from the strong safety position thus allowing Hunt free reign at the quarterback. Saban thought Lejeuene gave up on the play and was real vocal as evident from the TV cameras on Saturday.

    Special Teams: Grade: B-

    If I were grading solely on Davis’s performance, it would be an A. Davis had 4 punt returns for 122 yards which one included a 78-yard touchdown. He averaged 30.5 yards a punt return. He had one kickoff return for 36 yards. Corbello was good on his one field goal attempt. On the flip side, kick off coverage was bad. After every kickoff it seem Mississippi St started no worse than the 35 with the exception of the second half kickoff which was aided by a 15 yard penalty. Blame can be place on both Corbello and the kick off coverage. None of Corbello’s kicks reached the end zone, in fact his deepest kick was to the 5-yard line that I could recall. In my opinion, Jones has not performed well this year. I know he injured his leg against Miami of Ohio. He has not punted well to aid LSU in field position. Typically when LSU is backed up in their own territory, Jones does not punt well. His efforts usually average around 35 yards a punt. When we need him to punt for position to pin opponents inside the 20 he booms it 8 yards deep in the end zone or out of the end zone. Sidelines reports had coach Hayworth livid during the Mississippi St game with Jones’ inability to pin opponents inside the 20.

    Coaching: Grade: B

    Overall, I think the coaches did a pretty good job this game. I’m still a little disappointed on the development of our passing game which some of the blame should fall back on the coaches. I thought Saban did a good job with game day adjustments realizing that he could run the ball at will and did. I thought we had another solid defensive game plan and the players really looked prepared on defense.
  2. BRETT

    BRETT LSU FAN Staff Member

    Aug 4, 2001
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    Thanks Sabertooth.

    I always look forward to your in-depth reports. Your post game reviews are another reason is the best Tiger Fan site on the web.

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