At some point you knew that LSU's inexperienced quarterbacks were going to be in over their head so it’s only fitting that it came in the Swamp. The crowd noise definitely affected Jarrett Lee in the beginning, but he wasn’t the only Tiger to have that deer in the headlights look. Lee was a respectable 23 of 38 for 209 yards with two scores to go with two picks. He forced several throws and locked in on his primary receiver way too much though. As the game went on it did look as if Lee settled down and he went to his second and third option a couple of times. Give the redshirt freshman credit for driving LSU 60 yards on 6 plays to get the Tigers into the endzone before the end of the first half, and also for combining with Andrew Hatch to march down the field and making it 20-14 before Florida pulled away. However, on his next three drives Lee was only 1 for 6 with the big interception that Brandon Spikes returned for a score to make it 40-14.
The lack of a running game can not be blamed solely on the running backs because they had absolutely no room to run, but Charles Scott looked a step slower and more unsure of himself than he did in the first four games. The fumble by Scott had more to do with Andrew Hatch putting the ball too high. The only bright spot was seeing Trindon Holliday get a couple of carries for 26 yards, but it would have been nice to see him get a chance early on rather than LSU trying to pound the ball between the tackles. Hopefully, LSU will take a page out of Florida’s playbook going forward and use Holliday a little more in the backfield.
Wide Receivers and Tight ends
Brandon LaFell had some success motioning out of the backfield because of the mismatch it caused. The receivers dropped a few passes but Florida did a good job of taking LSU out of the game early. Chris Mitchell’s touchdown before the half was big for the Tigers and gave them hope heading into the locker room but the offense bogged down after pulling to within six points with 8:41 left in the third period.
Florida dominated the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball, but it was shocking to see LSU's o-line pushed around. The pass protection was okay as Lee was sacked twice and hurried once, but there was more pressure coming, Lee just got rid of the ball so quickly because he knew where he was going with it. Florida loaded up the box with defenders and was going to force Lee to beat them which worked perfectly for the Gators. Too many times there were multiple Florida defenders in the backfield with LSU linemen standing and looking around.
Drake Nevis was very active, making the start in place of Ricky Jean-Francois, and he finished with five solo tackles and two tackles for loss. The push up the middle and LSU’s four-man rush were going to be keys for LSU to win, but the Tigers were neutralized by Florida’s speed and the great game that offensive coordinator Dan Mullen called. LSU sacked Tim Tebow three times with Tyson Jackson getting two of them but he had way too much time to sit back and let his speedy receivers get open. The Tigers seemed to be too complacent and not aggressive enough on defense, even before fatigue set in after being on the field for more than 11 minutes of the first quarter.
It’s time for Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory to come up with something because LSU's linebackers are getting caught too many times, either out of position or in a mismatch. Florida averaged 6.4 yards a carry and there were too many missed tackles that factored into that average. Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey have a lot of speed, but I would have never thought that they would be able to run at will between the tackles.
Some changes are going to have to be made in the secondary because guys are in position to make a play but they aren’t making them. Danny McCray misjudged the pass from Tim Tebow to Percy Harvin that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown, and teams are going after McCray non-stop. The safeties are making too many mental mistakes and it is affecting their range where they aren’t able to provide good support in coverage. The Tigers didn’t give up a lot of big plays other than the Harvin touchdown and the 37-yard completion to Louis Murphy where Chris Hawkins got beat. There were too many holes in the zone and the defensive backs looked slow to react.
If there was a bright spot with LSU's trip to the Swamp then it had to be the punting with Josh Jasper averaging 42 yards on two rugby-style kicks, and then Brady Dalfrey with two punts of 51 and 47 yards. Punt coverage was not great as Brandon James broke one for 40 yards, and then Chad Jones misplayed a punt that could have been downed inside the 5-yard line, but instead it went into the endzone for a touchback. Trindon Holliday did return a kickoff 41 yards but at that point it was 44-21 with just under 7 minutes left.
Les Miles and the coaches will go back to the drawing board after this loss and some things will need to be worked out on the defensive side of the ball. LSU's secondary needs help and it’s not getting a lot of assistance in the form of a pass rush. Add in the matchup problems with the linebackers and some things need to be tweaked by the co-defensive coordinators.
LSU has forced only four turnovers and the defense has nine sacks in five games. It’s not been the aggressive style of defense that the Tigers have been known for and some changes will have to be made because the competition isn’t getting easier with South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas waiting in the wings.