College Football: LSU Tiger 2010 Mid-Season Report Card
The LSU Tigers have been a very frustrating team in the first half of 2010. The Tigers are loaded with talent in all positions, with the exception of quarterback. They consistently jump out ahead of teams in the first half and then seem to get conservative in the second half allowing the opponent to gain confidence and mount a comeback.
Luck has been on the side of the Tigers so far and Tiger fans can only hope that it does not run out at a critical time in the season.
LSU has gotten past several potential hurdles in their schedule, beating three ranked teams in their first six games.
Even though it has not been pretty, Tiger fans can still be satisfied by a 6-0 start to a season in which they were expected to be mediocre.
Not many people predicted the Tigers to be any better than 4-2 at this point in their schedule but tremendous defense and special teams play led by All-SEC cornerback Patrick Peterson have helped the Tigers overcome poor offensive performances and questionable coaching.
Generously speaking, the LSU offense has been poor in the first six games. The offense has been stagnant and has had no success moving the chains with Jordan Jefferson under center.
Jefferson has made poor decisions and has displayed a tendency to stare down receivers before throwing to them.
Turnovers and an abundance of three-and-outs have put the Tiger defense in situations that not many other defenses could handle, but the Tigers have fared well.
The Tiger offense has had some success with Jarrett Lee taking the snaps but head coach Les Miles seems insistent on playing Jefferson.
Lee has moved the chains and converted in key situations and hopefully for Tiger fans Miles will understand that Lee is the better quarterback right now and make the change before it is too late.
The LSU defense is in my opinion the best in the nation. Statistically they are not ranked as the best but this is due in large part to being put in tough situations by turnovers and three-and-outs by the Tiger offense.
The Tigers have shown dominance in the first half of every ball game, but play calling changes to a more conservative style in the second half which allows the opposing offenses to get some easy yardage and gain confidence.
The statistics are skewed by coaching and offensive lack of production, but the Tigers still are one of the most dominant defenses in the Southeastern Conference and the nation.
Led by Patrick Peterson and Kelvin Sheppard, the Tigers have the speed and athleticism to match up with any offense.
The secondary can play one-on-one with any receiving group in the nation which allows the Tigers to send blitzes at key times from every angle.
Opposing quarterbacks are being dominated in the first half of every game and the Tigers are also stuffing every opponent’s run game.
If the Tiger coaching staff lets this group play all 60 minutes like they do the first 30, the Tigers will have no problem winning every game even with a mediocre offense.
Probably the biggest surprise of the first half of the 2010 season has been the special teams play of Patrick Peterson.
Peterson took on the return role late in the off season and has played the position like he has been at it for years.
Peterson has returns for touchdowns that have saved the Tigers in games when the offense could not get points on the board.
The new look special teams of the Tigers has led to points and most of all great starting field position almost every time they touch the ball.
The kicking game has been outstanding as usual with reliable Josh Jasper handling the field goals and extra points.
Jasper has been consistent and reliable and like Peterson, has put up points when the offense was struggling to do so.
Jasper is also responsible for the win versus Florida as he scrambled for a first down on a botched fake field goal. The Tigers went on the score the game-winning touchdown a few plays later and keep their undefeated season alive.
Special Teams: A
The only thing that has been worse for the Tigers than their offense has been their coaching.
Head coach Les Miles has side-stepped addressing the quarterback issue most of the season, seemingly too stubborn to admit that the Jordan Jefferson experiment in Baton Rouge was a failure.
Miles continues to play Jefferson at random and critical times in the game and Jefferson has not been successful.
The Tigers have been lucky thus far and have narrowly escaped defeat on several occasions despite the poor coaching decisions. Tiger fans can only hope that changes are made before the luck of the “Mad Hatter” runs out.
Coaching on defense has been questionable as well, mainly in the second half of every ball game.
Whether it is Miles or defensive coordinator John Chavis, the conservative play calling in the second half of the game has nearly cost the Tigers their undefeated season.
The Tigers go from dominant to average during the halftime break and it’s due solely to play calling.
The Tigers fast blitzing defense converts into a base defense with no blitzes, turning scared and scrambling quarterbacks into a confident field generals.
Poor clock management, questionable play calling and bad personnel choices at quarterback are making an LSU team that could be very dominant into an average team that the media has a field day with each and every week.
The Tigers are 6-0 so it is hard to be upset, especially when they have gotten wins over three ranked opponents and are definitely ahead of preseason predictions. However, when you know the potential on this team and the multitude of talent at almost every position, it is hard to be satisfied with barely winning.
LSU has wasted the talented wide receiving group thus far in the season because of poor coaching and the refusal to replace a struggling quarterback in Jordan Jefferson.
There is no reason why the Tiger offense should not be one of the most explosive in the nation.
The running game is finally coming together after a poor 2009 campaign, but the Tigers have not found an answer in the passing game yet.
Well here’s a hint Les Miles…..Jarrett Lee.
Lee has move the ball efficiently and effectively in his limited action this season. Give the chance to be in the game consistently and gain chemistry with his receivers, Lee could be the answer to the Tigers’ offensive woes.
If the Tigers can make the corrections on offense, there is really no reason why they will not be undefeated and playing for a national championship (Hopefully not against Boise State).
Overall grade: B-