Should the LSU Tigers Be on Upset Alert vs. the Visiting Tennessee Vols?

Joseph GelisCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2010

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Lavar Edwards #89, Michael Brockers #90 and Josh Downs #77 of the LSU Tigers against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The LSU Tigers entertain the Tennessee Vols this Saturday in Tiger Stadium in what would seem to be a fairly certain win for the home team, given their respective records.

The Vols have struggled thus far to a 2–2 record, all while not having to leave the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium. After a cakewalk past Tennessee-Martin, they were easily handled by Oregon and then Florida and then had to squeeze out a win against UAB in OT this past Saturday.

This is their first road game of the season and Tiger Stadium is certainly not the place that a new coach (Derek Dooley) wants to bring his young team into for their first tilt away from home. It is fraught with all sorts of negative possibilities for the visitors.

However, this is the SEC where strange things can and do happen every year and although the Tigers are solid favorites, nagging questions at quarterback causes one to take pause in picking this one.

Oh, LSU is the better team, with the superior overall talent and the edge on experience. The Tiger defense has been very impressive, displaying tremendous speed and athleticism, special teams have been, well, special, and the running game has been solid.

It is the play at quarterback, by Jordan Jefferson, that has been lacking, to put it kindly. In fact, it has been bad, inconsistent, sporadic and at times, outright putrid.

The junior QB, with a year-plus under his belt, was hoped to be much further along in his abilities and comfort zone at this point, by the Tiger Nation.

If anything, it appears as though he may have regressed a bit. There is no rhythm in his play, little sync with his receivers and a perception that he would be more comfortable spending the night with Mike the Tiger in his lair than under center. But, of course JJ is not going to walk away from the challenge.

The head coach will have to solve this problem and the obvious solution is to try Jarrett Lee for more than 3 downs and see if he has overcome his pick 6 tendencies. He, no doubt has the arm and he just may have the spark to wake up the passing game and give the Tigers a complete offense.

Comments heard on the radio suggests that Les Miles wants to stick with Jefferson because of the “option” option, which he provides. What?? Has anyone seen the option run with any consistent success this year?

I would be happy to just have a passing game to go along with the running game, you know to provide some sense of balance and loosen up those defensive fronts a bit.

With this being said, I believe Tennessee has just enough talent to hang around with the Tigers and make a game of it, especially if the offense really bogs down.

The defense and special teams, especially with Patrick Peterson on the field, has been the difference between the Tigers being 4–0 and 2–2. And with this small margin of error, the Vols could surprise.

It is time for the offense to become complete and exploit the talent that it possesses at wide receiver. A successful and respected passing game would put a huge smile on Stevan Ridley’s face as those defensive fronts are forced to loosen up and spread out.

And time is rapidly running out for this happen as those dates with defensive heavy weights Florida, Alabama, and Auburn are fast approaching.

By the way, one thought to take with you as you prepare to watch the Tigers and Vols mix it up; Derek Dooley brought an outmanned, underdog Louisiana Tech team into Tiger Stadium last year and gave the Tigers more than they really cared for.

I thought Coach Dooley out coached Miles and had his Bulldogs, at times, outplaying the Tigers. LSU, with their overwhelming talent advantage, pulled out a 24–16 win in the end, but it was not pretty for most of those in attendance that night.

All the Tiger faithful can do at this point is hope that Les Miles gives his players their best chance to win in all three phase of the game and pray that the second time is not the charm for Derek Dooley.