MULE': Tigers approach opponents differently

Did that litany of LSU miscues in Gainesville Saturday jog your memory?

Remember those old comic book advertisements for Charles Atlas' body-building instructions?


Think about it.


Once again, the Tigers brought to mind the image of the bully kicking sand in the face of the 100-pound weakling, the same bully that could never handle a bulked-up, stronger opponent.


Where did all this talk we've heard since the preseason about LSU being a Top-5 team, manned with elite talent, and contending for the national championship come from? We haven't seen a demonstration of any of that on the field, where it counts. . . . unless you put much weight on the victories LSU rolled up against football's 100-pound weaklings.


All the discussion about "domination'' and nation-leading stats all came from LSU's deceiving outings against Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona, Tulane and Mississippi State, opponents that have cobbled a cumulative 8-14 record. The Tigers are, of course, 4-0 against them.


The stark reality of this so-far sad season comes against Auburn and Florida, two teams that measure up to LSU in ability and talent. They are a combined 10-1, and, of course, LSU is a telling 0-2 against them.


Look, anybody can stumble, and the ball has been known to take strange bounces. But the frustrating part of watching this LSU squad play is consistency. Against the aforementioned patsies, the Tigers have scored 187 points and averaged a 46-7 victory against each. Against their two quality opponents the Tigers have scored a total of 13 points, including (italics) one (end italics) touchdown, and averages a 15-6 defeat.


Does anyone have any guarantees that this team of Bayou Bengals can do any better against Tennessee in Knoxville, Arkansas in Little Rock, or even Alabama in Baton Rouge?


I thought not.


For all its supposed talent, against better competition, LSU can't seem to match up. We all know there is almost no running game, because of a suspect offensive line; there is also minimal special teams; there is a depth problem everywhere but quarterback and receiver. It's hard to see where anyone thought this was a program poised to challenge for No. 1.


There's more: Something is askew about the set-up at LSU right now that changes the complexion of the Tigers – and their games. When it lines up against better opponents LSU seems to be playing with its cleats tied together. The game seems to slow down with the Tigers' lack of aggressiveness. They don't play in the same attacking mode they do against the weak sisters.


Think about it in terms of the last two regular-seasons. A year ago, a year in which this coaching staff deserves major kudos for holding the team together in the face of unprecedented adversity, every patsy was overrun, and every big game was played with the deliberation of a chess match.


It was that way in the meltdown against Tennessee (a Top 10 team when LSU played the Vols), in the overtime victories against Auburn and Alabama, and in the blowout in the SEC Championship game.


Obviously, this season is a replay of 2005 – and a disappointment.


                                                            *     *     *


Florida coach Urban Meyer had the quote of the day after his freshman quarterback Tim Tebow helped the Gators victory with a double-clutch jump pass for a touchdown. "Did they have video in 1913,'' Meyer quipped with a smile of the old-time offensive gimmick.


Of course the jump pass was never anyone's major weapon, except for Harry Gilmer of Alabama in the 1940s. In the 1945 Sugar Bowl Gilmer bowled over America's most renown sportswriter Grantland Rice, who wrote Gilmer put on "the greatest passing exhibition I've ever seen.'' Gilmer threw a total of eight passes. . . . The autobiography of LSU broadcaster Jim Hawthorne, "The Man Behind the Mike,'' is now in its second printing.




Marty Mule' can be reached at

Tiger Blitz Top Stories