Hello Tiger fans. Wow. I hope y’all were as impressed as I was by Saturday night’s performance by our beloved bengal tigers. What does an optimist say about such a flawless game?
LSU entered the game as a 12.5 point favorite. Not only did they double that prediction, they put on a more convincing win than I had even hoped for. The final score doesn’t tell us half of what LSU accomplished. The stats are unbelievable on both sides of the ball.
The game was non-competitive from the start thanks to Dave Aranda and our Tiger defense. BYU never crossed the fifty-yard line. (I am not going to mention the last time that happened in the Superdome, but it did, unfortunately, involve LSU) BYU had less rushing yards then they did points (hint: they had -5 rushing yards). Nola.com reported that the only time LSU ever held an opponent to less than that was in 1982 under the same D-line coach Pete Jenkins. That should show you just how much legacy is behind our defensive line. With only five first downs, BYU only possessed the ball for 18 total minutes.
Going into the game, there were thirteen suspensions which tells you a lot about Coach O’s tight line of discipline. Because of this 23 players played their first down in Purple & Gold uniforms, 17 of whom were true freshman. Two of the suspensions were Kevin Toliver and Donnie Alexander, both starters at key positions. Also, Arden Key continued to be sidelined due to injury. It turns out, our defense was deeper and more talented than we had imagined. Think about what we’ll do when we have our full team back!
LSU’s young defense adapted well to Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme. We saw a lot of our linebackers plugging up holes and making tackles in the run game or keeping up with tight ends in coverage. Our freshman played like a veteran crew. Outside linebacker, K’Laivon Chaisson (who led the freshman in tackles with three), as well as fellow defenders Tyler Taylor and Grant Delpit all started and made a huge difference. Not to mention sophomore Devin White, who led the team in tackles with five, or redshirt freshman Andreaz “Greedy” Williams who snagged the only interception on either side of the ball. He was in playing in place of suspended starter Kevin Toliver. I would be worried about losing my starting job if I was Toliver.
As Brock Huard and Bob Wischusen pointed out while covering LSU’s game on Saturday, “LSU’s DBs are running the routes for the wide receivers.” From what I saw, the BYU had no desire to keep testing our defensive backs. I don’t blame him. There was never a busted assignment on LSU’s part or even one big play for BYU. Besides letting BYU slip in a few passes to their tight end, LSU’s defense was near perfect.
I can’t wait to see how our defense does in conference play.
Our offense did better than I expected, even if the score doesn’t show it. We ran it up the middle almost the whole game, but we got 7 or 8 yards each time. That points to a dominating offensive line (two true freshman started on the offensive line, Ed Ingram and Saahdiq Charles).
Our critics might say we looked the same as last year and that we can’t get 295 yards rushing against Bama’s D-line. But I will argue that this offense is different from last year’s in many ways. We didn’t run a stacked I-formation the whole game, advertising to BYU that we were going to run. We passed and ran the ball out of similar formations, making it difficult to predict what we were going to do. Our play action passes were actually legitimate run fakes before throwing the ball.
Furthermore, Danny Etling was 14/17 for 171 yards and each pass was as beautiful as the one before it. His only incompletions were two smart throw aways and an easy drop by a tight end. Going into the season many wanted LSU to utilize more offensive weapons in the passing game. Over a third of Etling’s passes were to non-wide receivers. Isn’t this the type of offensive performance Tiger fans have longed for over so many recent years?
LSU was not completely perfect on the night. There were a couple aspects of the game that concerned me.
All offseason Coach O preached about how we were going to be 50/50 on our run-pass ratio. We couldn’t have been farther from that. 76% of the offensive plays were running the ball. According to Danny Etling “We just took what the defense gave to us.” Although I would like to see a 50/50 ratio vs. Chattanooga this Saturday.
Red Zone offense was a struggle LSU had last year too. We remain too predictable in this aspect of our game. Just a simple five-yard Tight End pass would have worked and at least kept the defense off-balance. Next week I don’t want to see placekicker Connor Culp ever step onto the field to kick a field goal within the red zone.
Finally, our special teams were less than spectacular. Donté Jackson was supposed to return punts but due to the lack of depth at cornerback on Saturday, Coach O did not want to take a chance on injuring him. Furthermore, we let BYU get way too many yards on kickoff returns. This is most concerning because we don’t have a special teams coach and it showed. I hope Bébé has a good plan to fix this potentially weak link in our game.
All in all, Saturday night was a wonderful intro to the 2017 LSU Football season. And yes, WE ARE UNDEFEATED!
I just now found your site and really enjoyed your comments. Keep up the great work. I’ll be checking frequently to see what new insights you’ll have for your followers.
A little before your time, but I attended a basketball clinic that featured Coach Knight of Indiana. He closed his session with a statement that I’ve adopted through my life. I hope it may serve you well my new friend. He said, “the great ones, the truly great ones, do the things they don’t like to do and do them extremely well”.
Keep working through your strengths and attack your areas that need polishing.
This old Marine and former high school football and basketball coach is honored to be able to read your well written and thoughtful posts. Keep up the GREAT work. You have a new fan!!
God bless and Geaux Tigers.
Thanks for following Mr. Phil and thank you for your service! I’ll take that advice to heart.
Very thoughtful analysis. I always love your optimism and also your well thought out honest concerns.
I loved your statement, “And yes we are undefeated.” I hope that’s an indication of “things to come!” I loved the article in the Baton Rouge Advocate about you!
Great insights Micah! I was also encouraged by the stats the young D put up. I share your special teams and red zone concerns. Not as concerned about the run/pass ratio at this point in the season (although I too would like to see it closer to the middle vs. Chattanooga). It looked like Canada was using the run to control the entire game by controlling the game clock (as you pointed out, BYU only had possession for 18 minutes). I like Etling’s comment of taking what was given. I suspect if future teams are not giving away runs like candy at your bother’s birthday party Canada will not hesitate to see if they are willing to give away passes to some very talented wideouts. I was happy to see a short passing game to the inside receivers effective on the few 3rd and long situations (Derrick Dillion representing Washington Parish!). The short passing game did not seem to click on past LSU offenses and could add balance if they keep that up. However, I do like the idea of Canada not revealing any more of his playbook than he has to before playing the heavy weights, especially Alabama (Clemson had a few tricks buried up their sleeve that were key to winning the championship game). Geaux Tigers!!
Thanks for your comments Jake! My dad actually had to by a sling box for us to watch Saturday’s game. I wish we could still all watch it together! No Tiger love on our new street!
Sorry to hear that; no Tiger love on our new street either. We also miss the company, but glad we were able to introduce you to the magic sling box!
“Undefeated” love the ending to this blog. That was a wonderful article about YOU in the BR paper. I am proud to be related to such a fine young man. And, I am thankful LSU has a coach that is not afraid to be in command, even to the point of suspending players for the 1st game of the season!
Thanks Aunt Becky for all of your support!
I just read the article in The Advocate about your blog and thought I would check it out. What a fantastic way to share your passion and purposely stay in touch with your Louisiana roots. I found your blog to be well written and informative. I will definitely check it out as the season progresses. Your story of flying the LSU flan brings back memories of a time when I lived in Florida for three years surrounded by Gators. Keep showing your colors. Geaux Tigers!
Micah! I was looking through some old pictures of your class, which reminded me of your blog. I’m so proud of you and your writing… even though I seriously question your taste in football teams! 🙂
I miss you guys and hope you’re doing well! Tell your parents I said hello! 🙂
Hello Mrs. Seyfried. The teachers in sixth grade aren’t as kind as the ones in elementary. Maybe because they see us less often and don’t think it necessary to know us very well. I have too say I was very surprised too see a comment from you. Although I very much enjoyed it. This blog has been going great. A few weeks ago I reached out too my favorite LSU website, and they published one of my human interest stories along with a link to my website. In two days I had gotten 5,000 views. Also, just this week I had a small article written about me in the Baton Rouge newspaper. The steelers went undefeated in the preseason but that doesn’t mean anything. I hope the school year goes great, or better than it was with my class. Thanks for commenting. GEAUX TIGERS!