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LSU Grades
Posted by Woody Woodruff on Monday November 11 2013 @ 02:25PM CST
[ The Commissioner's Blog ]
WVOL: Travis in Crossville, welcome to Vol Calls.

Travis: Butch Jones is a [bleep] joke, man. He should have been fired at the start of the 4th quarter yesterday. I can't [bleep] believe that we hired that Bamer-[bleep] Dave Hart to be athletics director. What the [bleep] man! What do you [bleep] expect? Hart brings in [bleep] Jones and Auburn hangs 55 points on us in Neyland [bleep] Stadium! That is some [bleep]...

WVOL: Coach Jones is just in his first season.....

Travis: Do I give a [bleep] about first seasons? Gus [bleep] Malzahn is a first year coach and he treated Butch Jones like his [bleep]. What game were you watching?

WVOL: OK, Travis, you want Butch Jones fired?

Travis: [bleep] yeah! Send his [bleep] packing!

WVOL: And who would you replace him with?..........Travis?.......Travis?.......

Travis: Lane Kiffin is available. He still owns property in Knoxville and he can recruit like a [bleep]. You guys are as big a joke as [bleep] Jones. How do you [bleep] keep your [bleep] job?

WVOL: OK Travis, thanks for calling. We always enjoy it.

Travis: No problem, man. Talk to you next week. GO VOLS!

...

WGTR: Stan on a cell phone, you're on the air with the Gator Nation, what's on your mind?

Stan: Is anybody in charge of the Florida football program? I mean, for the love of God, you can throw a rock in any direction from Gainesville and hit a 5 star recruit. Florida football was on auto-pilot so we bring in Will Muschamp because he was once in the same room with Nick Saban and we get beat in the Swamp by Vanderbilt for the first time since 1945....

WGTR: We understand your frustration.....

Stan: "Frustration?" You don't know "frustration." Frustration is losing a close game to that preening incompetent Mark Richt. Getting beat by Vanderbilt in a game where we can't even score 20 points is a disaster that only a coaching change can repair.

WGTR: OK, we hear you, but who do you think is out there that would be a viable alternative?

Stan: Helloooooo. Doesn't somebody have Urban Meyer's cell phone number on speed dial?

WGTR: Uh..... Urban Meyer?...

Stan: Yes, Urban Meyer. Two BCS Championships, Urban Meyer; two SEC Championships, Urban Meyer; one Heisman Trophy, Urban Meyer. What's so hard about this?

WGTR: Uh, well Nick Saban is still the head coach at Alabama......Stan?.......Stan?......I think we lost him.

...

WNPR: Welcome back to "What In The World" I'm Terry Gross. Our guest today is Mia Foshee-Kumbaya-Guevara, Professor of Critical Studies at New York's New School. Mia, that was a very interesting discussion of your new monograph, "From Hugo Chavez to Barack Obama: The Complete Political Spectrum." Let's go to the phones, we actually have a caller today. Hello Justin in Nashville, what in the world do you want to talk about?

Justin: Hi, Terry and Mia....love your show.

WNPR: Thanks, Justin, so do we.

Justin: I just wanted to ask Mia if she thinks that Vanderbilt risks losing James Franklin to Texas, what with Mack Brown in free-all and the 'Dores looking like they are poised to make it three in-a-row for bowl appearances?.......Hello?......Am I still on?.....Terry?

WNPR: Justin, I.....we....you...I'm sorry, but I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to, would you like to elaborate on that for us?

Justin: Yeah, sure thing. You see, the head football coach here at Vanderbilt is James Franklin and he's like the best coach we have had in like forever, and the head coach at Texas, Mack Brown, is on the hot-seat, so my friends and I were thinking that it might be that Texas tries to hire Franklin away unless there is any truth to the rumors about Nick Saban being interested in the UT job.

WNPR: ........

Justin; Hello?

WNPR: ......Thanks for calling, Justin, I'm sure our listeners found that very interesting....so,Mia what is your next project?......Well, Terry, I have been thinking about writing a paper on gender inequity in math and physics faculties in universities located in states that comprised the former Confederacy, and I think Justin's call helps illustrate the urgency of my research..

Two of those universities located in the deepest regions of the Deep South played a college football game Saturday night, and while Terry Gross and Prof. Froshee-Kumbaya-Guevara might not appreciate what happened over the span of three-plus hours at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the 100,000 plus fans who witnessed Alabama's 38-17 victory over LSU certainly did. They manifested that appreciation by arriving early and staying late; by not letting an unpredicted rainfall dampen their enthusiasm; and by wishing the Bayou Bengals a safe homeward journey by four....count 'em, four....complete verses of Rammer Jammer.

OK, each verse of Rammer Jammer is identical, but the opponents that the Tide has dispatched so far this season usually have provoked only one perfunctory post-game taunt. LSU was on the receiving end of four. And if the Million Dollar Band had not needed to take a well-deserved rest, the crowd was in a mood to keep the love going a little longer.

In Friday's CW Game Day special, Sports Editor, Marc Torrence, had a piece about the Bama-LSU rivalry. It was titled "Toe To Toe" and argued that LSU achieved dominance over Alabama when Saban was coaching the Tigers, and Les Miles has managed to maintain at least parity, if not a slight edge in the rivalry. That thesis was left in tatters after Alabama thoroughly dominated LSU in the second half, breaking the Tigers' will with a smothering defense and a punishing offense.

How badly did the Tide dominate the Tigers in the second half? Consider this: In the second half, LSU gained only 52 yards of total offense. In the 4th quarter, LSU had -29 yards rushing and only 20 yards passing, for a total offensive gain of -9. In the second half, LSU converted only 1 of 5 third downs, and twice turned the ball over on downs. Meanwhile, Alabama ran 35 offensive plays in the second half to LSU's 22, and three of the Tide's 35 plays were out of the victory formation. Alabama gained 228 yards of total offense on the first three possessions after intermission, scoring a touchdown on each. And, Alabama had three times more rushing yards in the second half [122] than LSU had for the entire game [43].

At intermission, the Tide held only a 3 point lead [17-14] which evaporated when LSU kicked a field goal on its opening possession of the second half. Those were LSU's last points in the game as Alabama scored 21 points in its next three possessions, drained the clock, and crushed the life out of LSU.

Here's how I grade the game:

Offense: A In the first quarter, AJ found himself under constant pressure, and his passing accuracy suffered. The second quarter saw dramatic improvement and by the second half, Alabama was throwing only when it chose to, not when it needed to. AJ completed 14 of 20 pass attempts for 179 yards and 3 TDs. He was sacked once. His 179 passing yards secured AJ the Alabama record for career passing yardage.

Kevin Norwood caught 4 passes for 38 yards and a TD. Amari Cooper made 3 catches for 46 yards, and DeAndrew White gained 17 yards on 2 receptions. O.J. Howard caught 1 pass for 52 yards and a TD. Eight different players caught passes, including Jalston Fowler whose lone reception scored a touchdown. [He would have had another TD reception but for an illegal procedure penalty.]

TJ Yeldon gained 133 yards on 25 rushes and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Kenyan Drake gained 65 yards on 10 runs and Jarrick Williams gained 6 yards on his single rushing attempt; a fake punt that converted a 4th down, keeping the Tide's initial second half possession alive and snatching momentum away from the Tigers.

Alabama's five touchdowns came on long drives [78, 80, 79, 71, 78] and the Tide converted 5 of its 10 third downs; however, the meaningful statistic is 5 of 9 since Bama's 10th third down of the game was on the final "victory" possession. Bama punted only twice and had no turnovers.

Defense: A For the first 30 minutes, the Tide Defense had no answer for LSU's tandem of talented receivers, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr., as Zach Mettenberger had plenty of time to throw precision strikes to open receivers. LSU gashed the Alabama Defense for 232 yards in the first half, and would have taken the lead into the locker room at intermission but for a fumble forced by Tana Patrick at the Alabama goal line. The second half-as they say-was a different story.

The Stop Troops surrendered a field goal on LSU's opening third quarter possession, on a flukey drive that included a near interception that ricocheted into the hands of an LSU receiver. For the balance of the game, the Tide defense harassed Mettenberger, throttled LSU's Jeremy Hill, and imposed its will.

CJ Mosley made 12 tackles and broke up 2 passes. Trey DePriest had 6 tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack. Cyrus Jones and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix each were credited with 5 tackles. Bama defenders recorded 8 tackles for lost yardage including 4 sacks, and broke up 4 passes.

LSU only ran 22 offensive plays in the second half and only converted a single second half third down.

Special Teams

Punting: B+ Cody Mandel averaged 43.7 yards per punt on two punts and LSU managed only a single punt return for 8 yards. Alabama did not return a punt.

Place Kicking: A Cade Foster was good from 42 yards on his only field goal attempt and Bama converted each of 5 PATs.

Kickoffs: D Foster and Mandel shared kicking duties and averaged 64 yards per kick. Christion Jones and DeAndrew White collectively returned 4 LSU kicks for 83 yards. The coverage unit, however, allowed Odell Beckham, to return a third-quarter kick 82 yards and surrendered a total of 174 yards on four returns.

Coaching: A The resilience of the team to compete at a very high level in the second half is a reflection of the coaching job and is the quintessence of The Process. Only 47 players are listed in the participation report, the Tide was penalized 4 times for 35 yards, and Alabama gained 455 all-purpose yards.

Les Miles' post-game comments acknowledged that Alabama has separated itself from the parity that Marc Torrence wrote of in the CW. The columnists at the Time Picayune are remarkably restrained in their criticism of Miles considering the curb-stomping Alabama delivered Saturday night. They recognize what was on display in the second half: Alabama is a better team, with better players, who are better coached, than any other team in the SEC; maybe even the country. There are no calls for Miles' head coming from the Big Easy.

Late in the fourth quarter, the student section, mocking pretenders like Oregon and Ohio State, began chanting: "We want Bama......We want Bama....."

Some people argue that with the defeat of LSU, the only team that can derail Alabama's quest for its 16th national championship is Alabama itself. But, I am not persuaded. There is no room for error in the remaining games. Mississippi State is next. Alabama has two remaining conference games, both to be played on the road. Auburn has a single loss, is nationally ranked and has its offense playing at a very high level. The right to play in the SEC CG has not yet been secured.

Alabama must stay focused. So should the fans. But with all the agony going on around the league and fans calling talk radio about replacing coaches, one Alabama partisan, seeing a jubilant Nick Saban leap into the arms of AJ McCarron at game's end, emailed his chat-thread: "Who is that happy short guy.....and what did he do with our head coach?"

The Commissioner

< Tennessee Grades | History in the Making >

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