"If you would have told me on Friday LSU's defense held Florida's offense to 357 yards and 13 points, I would have said LSU would have won by at least 14."
That's what I told my friend in our first class on Monday after the Florida game.
Obviously that was not the case in the 13-3 loss in Baton Rouge to the No. 1 ranked Gators. The defense was phenominal on Saturday, even on Florida's lone touchdown, the defense was good until the "rocket grab" when Riley Cooper lached on to Brian Hawkins jersey and launched himself into the back of the endzone.
But enough about the defense. LSU fans were left with so many questions after the offense just never really showed up. I have to give some credit to the Gator defense, they played great, but were aided by a poor performance on LSU's offensive side of the ball.
First, I want to answer some of the complaints LSU fans had about the offense.
The biggest complain I heard after that game is that Russell Shepard did not play a down. Well, according to both the team website and a colleague, Shepard was sick during the bye week, and somewhat sick during the game. Les Miles also said it was difficult to work Shepard into the game plan.
Complaint two, why did Jefferson not throw the ball to Rueben Randle? With the lack of blocking and a good Florida pass rush, Jefferson barely had time to look to his No. 2 reciever much less Randle who is LSU's third or fourth reciever.
I also am sick of people blaming all the offensive woes on Jefferson. Just go watch the tape, three or four Gator rushers were constantly beating five or even six LSU blockers.
So where does LSU stand going into this weekend's game against Auburn?
They need a lot of work on the offensive side of the ball, that much is obvious.
Defensively, the Tigers showed just how good they could be againt the mighty Gators, and could very well be the reason LSU stays in a lot of games this season.
Lucky for LSU, Auburn's rush defense is not good, they rank 82nd nationally and 10th in the SEC against the run. Expect to see a lot of Chuck the Truck to keep pressure off of Jefferson this weekend.
Also, expect to see the return of Shepard in a limited role. I am still waiting for Les Miles to call the play that he ran with Ryan Perriloux where he would take the snap sell the run and then drop back to pass to a wide open reciever.
Is this LSU team a national championship contender?
Record wise, absolutely. Based on what they have showed in their games, not so much. Only time will tell what this LSU team will do. The schedule is tough, and the Tigers are just reaching the meat of it.
Just wait and see to make your judgements about how good this Tiger team is until after they play Auburn. Don't freak out about one loss, especially to the No. 1 team in the nation. LSU has a good football team, they find ways to win, which is key in college football.
Prediction for Auburn: The Tigers beat the War Eagles 27-21
To answer to headline question: Just cohesion, they are talented at most, if not all offensive positions. They just have to learn to work together as a unit. If they can figure that out then this Tiger team has a lot of potential in this 2009-2010 season.