FEINSWOG: LSU needs to find new "mode"

Getting in the mode.

There went the undefeated season and a perfect record on Mondays.

 

In the blurring madness that followed Tennessee's defeat of LSU, on one side a heartwarming story of persistence by Rick Clausen but on the other a tale of frustration for the home team, here are thoughts:

 

JaMarcus Russell is a terminator. He can terminate for either team. This is not what you want from your quarterback.

 

A wise man I know likened him to a shortstop who makes the great play in the hole with a remarkable throw, but with runners on and two out in a crucial situation boots the easy grounder.

 

Monday his bonehead run late in the first half in which he failed to get out of bounds, subsequently costing his team a shot at field-goal try, proved remarkably costly.

 

"I was in the mode of playing," he told The Advocate. "I really wasn't thinking about getting out of bounds."

 

Oh.

 

Well, I'm in the mode of writing and I'm still thinking of him getting out of bounds.

 

LSU fans showed remarkable resolve getting to the game and nearly filling Tiger Stadium. Three hours before kickoff looked like 12 hours before kickoff on a normal Saturday, but this was not a normal Monday. But in the last few minutes before the game began, the place got crowded and loud and, considering the circumstances of the weekend, that was pretty impressive.

 

What was not impressive were the LSU fans who rocked the Tennessee buses upon their arrival on campus and knowing that they threw beer bottles at the last of four buses, cracking windows. That bus included UT athletic director Mike Hamilton and his school's cheerleaders. That is unforgivable by the LSU fans who participated.

Cramping hurt LSU. It did not seem to hurt Tennessee. On the surface it doesn't make sense, but consider the cumulative effects – or lack thereof – of our conditions in the days leading up to Monday.

 

The LSU players, who had practiced for nearly seven weeks and played one game, live in this ridiculously hot and humid climate. When I moved here nearly 21 years ago someone told me I'd get used to the summers.

 

Hasn't happened yet. Conversely, the thought here is that Tennessee benefited from practicing in the nice climate of Knoxville and then flying to Baton Rouge on game day. That had to work to the Vols' advantage.

 

I'm not a trainer, but I know I'm still hurting from working outside Sunday cleaning up after Rita. I imagine practicing football here week after week has gotten real old.

 

LSU is 1-1 and has to go to Mississippi State on Saturday. The turnaround is short. It was evident in Les Miles' postgame news conference that he's very, very concerned, not only about having lost to UT but knowing what a short week could bring.

 

Me, I'm still tired from a really late Monday night and an early Tuesday. I'd run out of bounds, but I'm in the mode of writing.

 

So I would write that LSU appeared to get awfully banged up by Tennessee. But Miles isn't in the mode of talking about injuries.

 

Saturday in Starkville will be here before you know it.

 

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Lee Feinswog is the author of "Tales From The LSU Sidelines," a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.


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