Almost 24 hours removed, a few initial impressions from the LSU game:
- First and foremost, it was obviously a huge win for the Tide yesterday. We came in absolutely needing to get the job done, and with LSU giving us their best shot we answered the bell. We played the best we've played since late September, and truth be told there was absolutely what was required. Credit goes to LSU for playing well in their own right, and they made us take our game to the next level to get the win.
- Mark Ingram logged another unreal performance yesterday. LSU was highly physical on the defensive side of the ball, and Ingram racked up 177 total yards. He averaged 6.5 yards per run and the way he powered the opening drive of the second half really changed the game. As I mentioned in a fanshot earlier, the Heisman is an "award" for tools... it's based more on glamor than anything else, and it's given by a collection of idiots. Ingram will probably never win it, but I wouldn't trade him for any other player in the country, and we just need to enjoy him while we have him. He's a three-year player, and someone will be paying him big bucks to do this come 2011.
- Julio Jones had his best performance of the year, and it was very interesting how things were discussed in the post-game. Based on what everyone is saying, it's clear that only in the past week or so has Julio gotten back to near 100%, and he looked very different yesterday than he had the rest of the year. His explosiveness was back, and he was a difference-maker in this game. Even aside from the long touchdown run off the screen, he had a huge first down on the final drive, had a couple of other nice grabs, and the pass interference on Peterson was yet another big play. And, of course, that's not counting the throw in the first half that should have been a touchdown. Nice to have you back, Julio.
- Greg McElroy played the best game in at least a month, and was clearly improved over the course of the past few weeks. We needed every bit of what he did, and we could not have won had he played anything like he had the past three weeks. Unfortunately, McElroy still has a long ways to go, and he left a lot of points on the board today. He did some good things, but he did a lot of bad things too. He missed Julio on an easy touchdown throw, costing us four points, and the dumb interception before halftime cost us at least a field goal. He held onto the football too long on the safety, and he missed an open Smelley on the trick pass out of the Wildcat that could have been a touchdown, and of course that is to say nothing of the terrible decision to try to force the ball to Julio late on the controversial incompletion. Bottom line, McElroy played pretty well and he clearly showed some progress, but he still did some things to cost us a lot of points and he clearly still needs to play better.
- Speaking of passes out of the Wildcat, remember the first Wildcat snap we had that resulted in a fumble? Did you happen to notice who was coming in motion at the time of the snap? It was none other than Earl Alexander, and that was one of the few snaps he saw in the game. And if you will recall correctly, Alexander was a quarterback in high school, and Ingram was very upset after the fumble. I'd about bet the farm that we had a trick play called in that situation with Alexander getting the ball looking to throw a pass.
- The offensive line played an incredible game today. Both James Carpenter and Drew Davis were nothing short of outstanding protecting the edge in pass protection, and we beat up LSU in the trenches in the running game. It was a complete effort by the big uglies, and I don't have any doubt that we played better along the offensive line yesterday than we have at any point in the year. Joe Pendry deserves a lot of credit for what he has done with this group. We don't have any real dominant players out there, but we consistently play good, solid technique and just get the job done.