I know it's a 'Bama blog, but hey, it's been almost eight months since the last college football game, so here are some random ramblings on the LSU v. Mississippi State:
- The LSU offense doesn't look particularly good. It's getting going as the night goes on, but if anything it looks as much like the MSU defense is giving up. Basically what I've seen tonight from the LSU has only verified what I wrote about them earlier. They have a lot of raw talent, but a ton of question marks, and production is very uncertain.
- Matt Flynn doesn't look bad, but doesn't look great either. It's very obvious that LSU won't be able to do anywhere near what they did last year with Russell. They could still put up a ton of points, mind you, but they are going to have to do it in a completely different way than a year ago. Even with speedy wide-outs, they don't seem to look like they feel they can stretch the field particularly well.
- Anthony Dixon is a fine tailback, he really is the only bright spot on the MSU offense. He could have went to any school in the country coming out of high school, and I really don't know why he went to MSU. He does well when he has an opportunity, but there is rarely any opening ever there for him.
- Michael Henig is, seriously, I think, the worst non-Vanderbilt quarterback in the history of the conference. He's the worst I've ever seen, to be quite honest, even worse than Spencer Pennington. You have to admire his toughness, but he's just not an SEC quality player. He's had five turnovers thus far, and his four interceptions were right to the LSU defensive backs, no great plays whatsoever needed. If anything, LSU could very well have a couple of more interceptions, and we still have 25 minutes of football left. The fact that he lit us up in the first half last year was reason enough to fire Shula.
- The State defense is playing tough, but by the same token, the LSU offense simply doesn't look that good. The passing game to players not named Early Doucet is almost non-existent, the running game is not doing well, and Flynn has gotten a lot of pressure. Considering that even the State bloggers thought that State's MSU defensive line was going to be absolutely atrocious, and they've -- for the most part -- controlled the LSU offensive line.
- Glenn Dorsey is an absolute stud. Just watch a couple of plays close-up on him, you will be impressed, trust me. He must be a nightmare for centers. Good kid, too, from all that I can tell. It's hard not to pull for him, he's big, talented, and plays hard. What else could you want? I'll just be glad when the Nicktator reals us in a tackle like that.
- Uh oh, Pegues goes down on the punt return. It looks like a left knee injury... you never want to speculate, but this could be very bad. He's one of the few talented players on this squad, and one of the few that could see legitimate playing time on other SEC teams. A torn ACL or something comparable would be devastating to their already slim chances of a half-way decent season. He's putting no weight whatsoever on the left leg. Nothing good ever came out of that.
- Early Doucet headed to the locker room. He looked okay, I guess, walking off under his own power. No clue there. Probably just precautionary, no use in putting him at risk, this game is effectively over now.
- At this point, the MSU sideline looks like they've almost given up. I can't really blame them, honestly, it's 24-0. With the way the MSU offense has played, combined with the strength of the LSU defense, I'm not sure MSU could score 24 points if we played this game for another week.
- Titus Brown is a fine defensive end, and it helps that he usually goes against the opposing team's right tackle, when usually the best lineman is at left tackle. He's going to play on Sunday.
- Okay... this Mississippi State play-action crap is just absolutely pathetic. Earlier, MSU ran a playaction pass on 1st and 20 with the back-up tailback in the game trailing 10-0 (big shock, no one was surprised and no LSU defender bit), and Henig just ran a play-fake with no one in the backfield. I mean seriously, who the hell was he going to hand the ball to, the wind? Even Mike Shula, the king of playaction in obvious passing situations, wouldn't do that.
- And now Henig is hurt, apparent knee injury. Guys are dropping like flies suddenly.
- Flynn goes down, again. He's been sacked at least three times already tonight. As bad as this MSU defensive line was expected to be, they are having no trouble whatsoever getting pressure on Flynn, or clogging running lanes. Truth be told, this Mississippi State defense has controlled the line of scrimmage tonight.
- Ooooooh! Almost picked off by Mississippi State. He grabs that and he scores. Not to be. That's still the closet MSU has gotten to scoring all night long.
- LSU hasn't looked too great tonight... but their special teams unit looks very good. The punter is booming it, and they are covering really well downfield. That only portends good things.
- Henig just fell down trying to avoid Al Woods. Sack. All told, Woods never laid a hand on him. I wonder how that counts in the stat column.
- Another interception. Make that five for Henig. And yet another right at an LSU defensive back. Again... the worst quarterback I've ever seen in this conference. About to be 31-0. Seriously, this kid could well end up with seven or eight interceptions if he's left in, and that's with a couple of dropped interceptions by LSU.
- Apparently the MSU people are leaving. The LSU people are singing, "Hey, hey, hey... goodbye!"
- This has been a very sloppy game thus far. We're not through three quarters yet, and MSU has five turnovers. Both teams have combined for 13 penalties thus far.
- Beautifully executed middle screen by LSU. Honestly, that's the best looking play their offense has had all night long. Nice play-fake by the quarterback and the offensive line, and the fullback does a nice job of getting through the trash and getting open.
- Okay, 31-0 LSU. It's time to get the starters out, Les. Dorsey and others are going in, even though this game is easily over. All of the starters are still in. This is where you get a Brodie Croyle 2004 Western Carolina situation if your luck runs out. For the LSU players' sake, I hope not.
- LSU player of the game: Michael Henig. Congrats, Mr. Henig, a big Geaux Tigers are in order.
- I'll give Croom credit, he's a helluva talker. He gave a fine pep rally talk, but he's apparently not much of a coach. From all I can tell, with Henig looking so awful, it looks like 3-9: Part IV.
- Am I the only one who finds it a disgrace to the memory of Bill Walsh that they refer to MSU's offense as "The West Coast Offense"? I don't know what the hell this is, but the West Coast offense it isn't.
- With the way that Henig is moving around now after he gets up, he's starting to remind me of the guy chasing the girl at the end of Not Another Teen Movie.
- One thing you cannot say, though I'm sure some will, is that LSU played conservative on offense tonight. They most certainly did not. They did about everything you would imagine that they would do. They spread the field with receivers, got in jumbo formations, bunch formations, put Flynn in the shotgun, etc. Aside from that, in terms of play-calls, they did about all that you would imagine. They ran with Hester and everyone else (Williams, Murphy, etc.), draws, wide receiver screens, middle screens, zone option reads, hand-offs to the wide receivers, deep balls, roll outs, designed QB runs, gimmick plays to Trindon Holliday, arrow passes. You name it, they've done it. Regardless of what Craig James or some coonass might tell you, LSU has came out with just about all that they have in the playbook. They haven't been vanilla at all.
- Another interception for Henig. That's six interceptions for Henig tonight. Someone just needs to administer a mercy killing to him. He's not even throwing to receivers, he's just throwing it up downfield.
- Matt Flynn finishes up the night 12-19 for 129 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and I believe 3 sacks. That's not a bad night, but not particularly good considering this will be one of the worst defense's in the conference. Virginia Tech next week will be very interesting.
- Perrilloux comes in for Flynn, but Doucet is still playing. Odd stuff. Perrilloux is going to pad the stats, and that's about it.
- Even with Perrilloux, they are still running the zone option read. You can rest assured that play will be a staple of the LSU playbook this year. And... about to be 38-0.
- There's the Tebow package, except with Perrilloux. Didn't work so well. I swear, you have to give Urban Meyer credit as an innovator. Every damn team in the country with a fairly big, mobile quarterback has that in the playbook now. And there is the QB draw again, touchdown LSU. 38-0.
- Well, I think I'm going to wrap it up about right now. Final thoughts? Sure. Mississippi State is terrible, no two ways about it. At the moment, four wins would be a shock. As for LSU, they are going to win by around 40 points, and it will look lopsided. But the truth is that LSU didn't play very well tonight, and their offensive line in particular was dominated in the trenches. It's early, but if LSU is going to get anywhere near where they want to go, they are going to have to play a lot better than they played tonight. If they play like they did tonight against Virginia Tech next Saturday, they could very well be sitting at 1-1. I'm not particularly sold on Virginia Tech, honestly, but I really wasn't impressed with LSU tonight. With the way the Mississippi State defense played tonight -- and this was expected to be a terrible defense -- the LSU offense could be in very serious trouble next week with one of the, if not the, best defenses in the country in Virginia Tech. They've got a lot of work to do this week. If anything, I think a lot of what I said earlier has been given some legitimacy tonight.
[editor's note, by Nico]:
Apparently Mississippi State didn't look any better on TV than they did in person. Henig threw some of the worst passes I've ever seen. I think he even threw into triple, maybe quadruple coverage once. Mind blowing. Unfortunately, it was raining so I couldn't take my camera in. We were a few minutes late getting there, but I did snap a photo of the nasty grey sky from our parking spot before going into the game.
Hope OTL doesn't mind me tagging this onto his post, but there was no point in creating another post about this game.