LSU vs. Florida: Breaking Down What's Wrong with Les Miles and the 2012 Tigers
It's the pass blocking one week, dropping passes the next week and then the fumbles come back into play.
The running game is near unstoppable all season, and then it disappears against a 2-2 Towson team that plays in the CAA Conference—the same team that tackled a Kent State player when he was running the wrong way on a muffed punt return.
Field-goal kicking looks inconsistent, and then it looks perfect. The run defense stuffs the line of scrimmage making one big play after another, and then it gives up a near 100-yard rushing performance to Towson's quarterback.
LSU is an undefeated football team and the No. 4-ranked squad in the nation after Saturday's unconvincing 38-22 win over Towson. The Tigers offense showed glimpses of why fans were so excited about this unit heading into the 2012 college football season, but the bottom line here is that this team still has plenty of flaws to work out before Saturday's SEC showdown against Florida.
Perhaps motivation is needed to get this team over its early season struggles.
For starters, the Tigers have dropped two spots in the Associated Press rankings over the past two weeks. The team fell from No. 2 to 3 after squeaking out an ugly 12-10 win over Auburn last week, and then dropped from No. 3 to 4 after this past weekend's uninspiring victory over Towson.
This is the first time Les Miles' team has been ranked outside of the top three in the nation since their opening game against Oregon to kick off the 2011 season.
The Tigers did some positive things against a far less superior Towson team this past weekend, but they have yet to hit that stride with both the passing and running game in the same contest.
After rushing for a season-high 90 yards against a rugged Auburn defense last week, junior tailback Spencer Ware followed that up with a 36-yard outing against Towson. Russell Shepard, who is a wide receiver, led the Tigers in rushing this past week with 78 yards, and it all came on one carry.
Michael Ford, who was LSU's top rusher last season, ranked second with 76 yards, but he also coughed the ball up early on in the third quarter when it was still a one-possession game.
LSU's top back this season, sophomore Kenny Hilliard, also fumbled himself late in the first quarter, which led to a Towson field goal. To think that a team like Florida isn't going to capitalize on those silly mistakes is just downright foolish.
The defense, on the other hand, gave up a field goal and a touchdown in the second quarter, but then clamped down and held Towson scoreless for the next 26-plus minutes of the football game.
The Tigers don't seem far away from playing the type of football that can lead them to another SEC Championship and back to the national title game. But before traveling to Gainesville this weekend, Les Miles' team is going to have to shore up these little mistakes that have stopped them from playing their best football this season.
It may be as simple as having one of the players step up and provide some much-needed leadership for this young LSU team.
Last week it was junior defensive end Sam Montgomery, so whose turn is it now?
Whoever it may be, it needs to happen soon.
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