What To Look For Against Tulane

Michael BarnesContributor INovember 1, 2008

What a time to choose to write my first article on B/R. I am apparently walking into a hailstorm of baiting from Alabama fans!

But in case you were wondering, each team has an actual game this week. LSU against Tulane, and Alabama against Arkansas State. The phrase that best describes these games is "tune-up", and that is exactly what LSU needs.

So here is what I will be looking for against Tulane this week:

1) Mistake-free football.

Ok ok I realize that it is next to impossible to pull off a mistake-free game, but this LSU team can't get out of its own way. Take last week's game against Georgia, for instance. Lee threw three interceptions that led to 17 points. The defense gave up 14 points on two one play drives. The truth is that LSU is a good team that is a few steps away from being a great team. On several plays a game on defense, says junior Rahim Alem, the defense is not lined up properly.

LSU needs a "complete game". They need to learn what it feels like to play like a champion from beginning to end. For a season and a half, the LSU Tigers have been a slow-starting, play-from-behind team. Last year, they had the leadership to pull it off. This year, they clearly don't. How does a coach remedy this problem? Get your team playing solid football from the opening whistle.

2) A better game plan for Lee.

Now look, Gary Crowton. You have a quarterback that is struggling. You know very well that the kid has a strong arm, but that he tends to overthrow the short stuff. Furthermore, you know that he is leaning heavily on Brandon LaFell. You know that he isn't going through his progressions and that he is staring down his primary receiver.

Why then, do we continue to open games with pre-scripted short passes over the middle or to the outside?

Let Lee throw the ball down the field. That is his strength, and you should play to it and not against it Gary Crowton! This will open up the run, as well as the short passes that you love so much.

3) Fundamentals and Tiger football.

What do I mean when I say "fundamentals"? I mean tackling. I mean wrapping up and bringing a guy down. I mean being in the right place at the right time. I mean not trying to be the hero, just trying to do your job.

Take as an example, Curtis Taylor's non-tackle against Knowshon Moreno against Georgia last week that led to a 68-yard touchdown run. Taylor had Moreno cut-off and shut down, but he went for the Laron Landry-style knockout hit. What happened? Well, you saw the highlights....

What do I mean when I say "Tiger football"? I mean dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. I mean getting to the quarterback. I mean pushing the other team's defensive line off the ball. I'm looking for Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman to up their intensity. If they won't, play Tremaine Johnson and Rahim Alem.


I know what you must be thinking by now. Its Tulane. But a tune-up game is exactly what LSU needs this week. So let's hope the Tigers go out and dominate from start to finish. Let's hope they don't sleep-walk through the first half like they did last year. Let's hope they go out and play LSU football. There will be plenty of time to talk about Alabama in the week to come.