There is plenty of blame to go around from the coaches all the way down to the players. I’m sure some will even blame it on Gustav. But at the end of the day it’s the players and coaches that must look in the mirror and accept the fact that they failed miserably in 2008.
This was a team effort and we’ve all heard that there is no “I” in team so everyone shoulders the blame for a dismal finish to a dismal season.
The fact that LSU went from a 12-2 team that won the BCS national championship to a squad that finished 7-5, and for all practical purposes should have finished 6-6 counting the Troy debacle, is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.
The questions that will never get answered are endless.
If Trindon Holliday is such a dangerous threat with the ball in his hands then why did he get such few touches on offense?
Whatever happened to players having to make the early morning runs due to crucial bonehead mistakes?
How did LSU go from having one of the top defensive lines in the country to having one of the biggest underachieving units in the land?
Why were the linebackers out of position so much when there was a supposed upgrade in speed and athleticism?
Did LSU's defensive backs forget the technique and cover skills that Bo Pelini taught them?
Why did so many true freshmen burn a redshirt year only to play on special teams when the veterans weren’t getting the job done?
The most mind-boggling of all has to be why Jefferson didn’t get more action in the middle of the season when the passing game was falling apart.
It’s hard to fathom that the true freshman couldn’t have done some of the same things he did against Ole Miss and Arkansas earlier in the year. He gave the offense a spark with his ability to make plays with his feet and he had enough composure to take the sack rather than throw the ball into coverage.
The more perplexing issue is why did the play-calling seem to change more with Jefferson? I’m not talking about the quarterback runs and the bootlegs, but the throwing to the middle of the field.
Lee was picked off over and over and over again by linebackers and safeties in the middle of the field. That’s one of the many strategies on the offensive side of the ball that has many scratching their head.
Another head-scratcher is the use of Holliday. He got 19 carries on offense including only 12 after Florida gave LSU a blueprint of how to use the diminutive running back after Jon Demps ran for 129 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries back on Oct. 11.
Demps (5-8, 176) is a little bigger than Holliday (5-5, 165), but Florida gave him the ball 55 times out of the backfield and he used his world-class speed to eat up 529 yards for six touchdowns. If you’re wondering, Holliday finished with 95 yards and averaged five yards a pop, which put him ahead of Keiland Williams’ 4.8 yards per carry.
The costly penalties that haunted LSU last season reared their ugly head again at Arkansas, and if you take a drive on Nicholson Drive this morning then you should still see Tremaine Johnson and Rahim Alem running.
Johnson’s penalty as inexcusable as it was, at least was in the heat of battle. Alem’s kicking of the ball was one of the stupidest acts that could have been committed on a football field. That lack of discipline must be corrected and there needs to be a lot of tough love coming from the headman himself.
The list goes on and on, from the poor technique and poor scheming on defense to the mismanagement of the true freshmen.
Some want to only blame the coaches, but the players themselves need to man up to the fact that many of them did not fulfill their end of the bargain in 2008. It’s as simple as that.
There are concerns that Les Miles must address and “strong adjustments” that he must make because, let’s face it, 7-5 will not be tolerated in Baton Rouge for long.
The bad thing for Miles is that he has to make changes now.
The good thing, though, is that the crack that this season has left can be easily filled and the foundation can be stronger than it could have been in 2008.
There is still plenty of talent for the future, and if this 2009 recruiting class stays on its current course then there are several players that could make an immediate impact next season.
Now, everyone has to sit back and see who will be coaching that talent and what changes are on the horizon.
Because one thing is certain: change is imminent.