Aside from shoring up who would play quarterback, plugging some holes on the offensive and defensive lines and developing some depth at linebacker, the Tigers were – for the most part – loaded at every spot.
But after two games, back to back
45-3 victories, some think the Tigers may be better than previously advertised.
While the level of competition has been well below that of SEC quality, the way
in which LSU beat up on Louisiana-Lafayette and
There was little no doubt going
into either contest that the Cajuns of Wildcats could even stay on the field
with the Tigers. It was pretty obvious coach Les Miles and his team weren't as
much playing their opponents as they were fine-tuning things to make sure all
cylinders are clicking when hey head to
Miles was asked after Saturday's
game how did he feel about his team's approach to the first two games knowing
Sure it's coachspeak. Of course,
Miles is going to say that knowing everyone has
All of that brings the question, is this possibly the best team ever at LSU?
Sure that is a pretty broad question and to pose it after just two wins over a couple of patsies may seem a bit premature, but it is a question that will be asked many times this year.
Thinking back to the 2003 national championship team, those Tigers won with a killer defense. They were average at best on offense, Matt Mauck was an adequate quarterback, they played running back by committee and the only real star was Michael Clayton, that is until Justin Vincent blew up in the last two games.
Looking at the 2006 version of the Tigers, LSU is again loaded defensively, and now they have a ridiculously high-powered offense at its disposal as well. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell is by far at his best. The running backs are playing well and LSU's receivers are big, fast and physical.
The Tigers are going to learn a lot
about themselves after the trip to
But before the focus turns to
While all eyes have been focused on the quarterback race and the right arm of JaMarcus Russell, running back Jacob Hester stood up and grabbed everyone's attention against the Wildcats.
The junior from
Over the summer, Miles said Hester was challenging for playing time at tailback. However, no one thought the multi-talented fullback would actually get legitimate snaps at the position, especially with the talent back there. But Hester got plenty of looks on Saturday and projects to be a regular contributor on offense.
Justin Vincent looked much better running the ball versus the Wildcats with eights carries for 31 yards. Alley Broussard also chipped in eight carries for 30 yards, including a tackle-breaking 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Charles Scott burst onto the scene with a 38-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Jimbo Fisher inserted a couple of end-around formations and Trindon Holliday broke the first one for 34 yards on LSU's third play of the game.
The offensive line played well not
allowing a single sack. However, Peter Dyakowski broke a bone in his hand, but
is not expected to miss the
Russell threw his first interception of the season just before halftime. But the junior signal caller did complete 13 of 20 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns including a 29-yard beauty to Dwayne Bowe.
LSU did cough up the pigskin twice, both of which could have led to touchdowns. Broussard and Early Doucet each put the ball on the ground. Doucet's fumble came after picking up 31 yards on a catch from Russell.
Overall, though, the offensive was nearly flawless.
Mike Stoops, the former defensive coordinator of the Oklahoma Sooners, is developing the Wildcats into a defensive-minded program in the highly offensive Pac-10.
But Stoops was the one who got schooled on Saturday as Bo Pelini showed him a thing or two.
The Tigers limited the Wildcats to
152 total yards of offense, including all of 28 yards on 26 plays in the first
half. LSU hit, harassed and finally knocked
Darry Beckwith, who was on the
delivery end of a couple of vicious hits on
The Tigers' streak of not allowing
a touchdown remains in tact as it has now reached 14 quarters. LSU held
The return game was the biggest concern coming out of the ULL game.
The Tigers fumbled two punts in the
season opener, a hiccup that could prove costly in a big game, like the one this
weekend. But versus
Colt David converted a 21-yard field goal on LSU's first drive and he banged through six extra points raising his streak to 47 consecutive extra points made. That ties David with John Corbello for the third longest streak in school history.
The only blemish on the Tigers'
special teams resume' was a partially-blocked punt, which was Chris Jackson's
only punt of the game.
You can bet
The final score isn't indicative of how well Miles and his coaches led the team and the players played in the game.
Miles came into the game wanting to effectively run the ball and establish some balance in the offense. With 431 total yards, including 231 rushing and 230 passing, that alone proves Miles accomplished that goal.
Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini had a good plan in terms of pressuring Tuitama, forcing him to throw three interceptions and shutting down anything the Wildcats attempted.
As far as Miles' past history with Stoops, the second-year Tiger coach conducted himself with the utmost class and chose not to run the score up on his former Big XII nemesis.