REPORT CARD: LSU vs. South Carolina

LSU's third consecutive home game was a bit reminiscent of its season opener on the road against Mississippi State.

There was rain, the offense struggled at times, and the defense carried the team until the offense could get somewhat on track.


Thankfully, the rain didn't come from the perfect storm. LSU didn't put together a perfect storm of its own to inundate South Carolina, but it also had not been challenged like this in any of its three previous games. Taking everything into consideration, it is difficult to try and be disappointed with beating a coach who had only lost to the Tigers as a coach and a player a combined total of one time in his career while "eking out" 11 victories as a coach alone. (See the historical record of LSU versus Florida for further details.)


There was enough to be concerned about, though. Certainly enough that will show up on film and have to be corrected if LSU's winning ways are to continue.


Luckily for the Tigers, they have what will probably amount to a glorified scrimmage coming up this Saturday against Tulane to work out a few kinks before returning to Baton Rouge for what will likely be a contest between the nation's No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams when Florida comes to the capital city.





Spurrier had the "Fun-n-Gun" at Florida and is looking to implement the "Cock and Fire" at South Carolina. LSU's answer, at least last Saturday, was "The Revolving Door."


With Matt Flynn still recovering from an ankle injury, he and Ryan Perrilloux took turns taking snaps on every other down, it seemed. Flynn's limited mobility took away the rushing aspect of his game, and the injury seemed to affect his throwing capabilities. He was intercepted for the first time this year, and there were indeed other passes that South Carolina had great opportunities to pick off.


A monster ground game that amassed 290 yards made up the difference as the aerial assault accounted for only 70 yards on the day, as did a trick play that resulted in a touchdown. The passing game fault doesn't rest entirely with Flynn, though. Dropped passes doomed drives, and it was a good thing that Richard Dickson stepped up with four receptions for 39 yards to lead the receiving corps.


Is it possible that Trindon Holliday is faster on water?







Again LSU's defense didn't allow an opposing starting quarterback to finish a game, and South Carolina averaged a miserable 0.6 yards per carry on the ground. That's just not a winning combination.


Even with the wet turf, LSU's defenders broke up 10 passes, intercepted two, forced and recovered a fumble, and denied the Gamecocks twice on failed fourth-down conversion attempts. It could have been a lot worse, however, if the Tigers could have held on to some more potential interceptions. The only real letdown was South Carolina's 244 yards through the air, but even that took 19 completions to accomplish. There were a multitude of three-and-outs, and holding a Spurrier-coached team to just 16 points, regardless of the circumstances, is no easy task.







Quoting Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities," "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."


Colt David's first touchdown in organized football was perfectly executed, a thing of beauty, and the thing highlight reels are made of, to be sure. Along the way, unfortunately, there was also a missed field goal, short kickoffs, a partially blocked punt, a muffed punt by Jared Mitchell, and scores of illegal block-in-the-back penalties. The latter two came on the same play.


Fears about the Tigers punt formation returned with a vengeance last Saturday, as the gasps from the crowd were audibly heard each time LSU's up-backs were nearly rammed into punter Patrick Fisher. Even with the blocked kick, however, he did manage to average 38.1 yards per kick. The good news is that the coverage on punts was okay.


LSU's longest punt return was for 6 yards, and it averaged 16.7 yards per kickoff return.


GRADE: B -         





After having their team knocked on its heels for the first time this season, the coaching staff got the players to rebound quickly and answer the bell when it was necessary.  Last Saturday certainly wasn't a game that will sell well on DVD, but it was a reminder that this coaching staff can see what is working, what isn't, and that opponents will exploit weaknesses when they are apparent.


If nothing else, the coaches have seemingly gotten the Tigers to maintain a consistency of attitude in their week-to-week approach, and not coming out flat is obviously an important aspect of dominating your opponent.


For his part, LSU head coach Les Miles is doing what appears to be his strong suit – allowing the coordinators to do their respective jobs without much interference on game day. That certainly looked to be the case against South Carolina.



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