Grading the loss

Back during the summer, there were more than a few Tiger fans out there that made reservations to spend some time in Atlanta in December. The problem is they were booking a trip to the SEC championship game.

The championship game hopes went out the window with the overtime loss to No. 1 Alabama.

 

But, who would have thought that LSU's season would head south so quickly following that narrow loss to the Crimson Tide?

 

For LSU to even find itself down 31-3 to Troy is embarrassing. Give the players and coaches some credit for scoring 37 unanswered points and pulling out the victory, but it certainly was not the kind of effort that should prompt anyone to stand up and beat their chest.

 

If the situation LSU found itself in against Troy was embarrassing then anyone from the Tiger Nation that caught a glimpse of the scoreboard on Saturday had to feel humiliated.

 

If they need a reminder, it read Ole Miss 31, LSU 13. It could have been worse, but Houston Nutt had some compassion.

 

Now the question is where does it go from here?

 

After the game Les Miles said that "It's time to make some strong adjustments and get it done right, make big plays and right this thing.”

 

Along with those strong adjustments there will be some very tough decisions that the headman will have to make. Those decisions could very well be the biggest and most important that Miles will have to make in all of his years of coaching.

 

And for those who made those reservations in Atlanta.

 

Well, you still may get to visit the Georgia Dome, but it’s certainly not what you were hoping for.

 

After reviewing the film from Saturday’s debacle against Ole Miss here are our thoughts on what transpired.

 

 

Quarterbacks

 

Jarrett Lee was what we have grown accustomed to seeing this season with an interception and 49 yards on 4-of-12 passing.

 

Lee still gives LSU the best chance to win and Tiger fans will understand that on Friday if the redshirt freshman can’t go because of his ankle sprain.

 

Give Jordan Jefferson kudos because he was one of the few players on the offensive side of the ball that played with any kind of fire against the Rebels.

 

The true freshman ran for 51 yards, although he lost 28 on sacks, and threw for 129 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-20 passing.

 

Jefferson gave the offense a much needed spark with his ability to make plays with his feet when things broke down.

 

He was, however, confused when Ole Miss disguised its defense and to expect the young man to look any different on Friday is asking too much.

 

But for his first significant playing time on the season, Jefferson showed some promise. Overall, the quarterbacks would be lucky to get a “D” on this test, but Jefferson gets some bonus points.

 

Grade: C-

 

Running Backs and Offensive Line

 

Giving the running backs their own grade would be a grave injustice because you can’t give them a passing grade when they run 18 times for 21 yards.

 

However, the offensive line was as bad as one could ever imagine. They were outplayed by an Ole Miss front that clearly wanted it more than this group that consists of two seniors in Herman Johnson and Brett Helms, and a junior in Ciron Black, who had to have thoughts that it could be his final game in Tiger Stadium.

 

Some will say that Ole Miss loaded up the box so it wasn’t all the offensive line’s fault, but I say different. It’s one thing to get beat and then another to get completely destroyed.

 

Grades: F

 

Wide receivers and Tight Ends

 

Just like the running backs did not get any help, the same goes for the receivers. However, when they had a chance to make plays, there were several drops which have become the norm for this group.

 

Demetrius Byrd dropped passes again and they don’t even seem to bother the senior wide out any longer.

 

The bright spot was Terrance Toliver and his five grabs for 35 yards and a touchdown, and Brandon LaFell’s four catches for 82 yards.

 

Jared Mitchell had a big grab for 21 yards, but the receiving corps has been a huge disappointment this year.

 

Whatever happened to looking for Richard Dickson? Sure, the junior tight end had a big drop, but he should be getting more balls thrown his way.

 

Grade: C

 

Defensive Line

 

If the receiving corps has been a disappointment this season then I don’t know what you could say about the defensive line. The only thing you can say is it has been a disaster all year long with the exception of Rahim Alem.

 

At times, Alem looks like the only player on the front that shows any emotion outside of Marlon Favorite when he makes a play.

 

Alem’s four tackles, a sack and 1.5 TFL’s, was right on par with what he’s done all year and he gives fans some hope at looking ahead to next year.

 

Marlon Favorite added a sack, but other than that Jevan Snead had pretty much all day to light up the LSU secondary.

 

Ricky Jean-Francois’ two assisted tackles was about what you would expect at this point of the season from him based on his junior campaign.

 

The Wild Rebel did not burn LSU as much as some anticipated, but several times LSU's defensive linemen did not play their assignment which resulted in big plays for the Rebels.

 

The Rebels only tallied 102 yards on the ground, but they didn’t need to run with Snead looking like a Heisman Trophy quarterback back there – another alarming trend.

 

Grade: D- 

 

Linebackers

 

The linebackers struggled with the crossing routes, but played okay against the run. Kelvin Sheppard’s 17 tackles was a career-high, but only one was behind the line of scrimmage and only three were solos.

 

Darry Beckwith had eight tackles, but none were solo. LSU's linebackers logged six solo stops all day, but at least they were around the ball.

 

At some point, this group has got to play smarter in pass coverage.

 

Grade: C

 

Secondary

 

The defensive backs broke up three passes on the day and were torched all day long by Snead.

 

Snead is a good quarterback and could even be a great one next year, but it was way too easy on Saturday.

 

You knew it was going to be a long day when Ole Miss scored twice on the Tigers on the opening drive.

 

Chad Jones and Harry Coleman missed tackles on Snead’s 26-yard touchdown that was wiped out by a penalty and Patrick Peterson didn’t even attempt to make the stop.

 

Two plays later the secondary broke down again on a busted coverage by Chris Hawkins that resulted in a touchdown.

 

Chad Jones forced a fumble and had six stops.

 

The secondary didn’t get any help from the defensive line or from the gameplan, but guys got beat too easily.

 

Entirely too much celebrating from a defense that has played so poorly in 2008.

 

Grade: F

 

Special Teams

 

Brady Dalfrey’s 42.3 yards a punt was a bright spot and so were Colt David’s 52 and 46-yard field goal.

 

Other than that and a big hit by Ron Brooks there wasn’t much to smile about.

 

Grade: C-


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