SEC Week 10 Recap

A month ago, it felt great to see LSU get past mighty Florida in the last minute of the game. Three weeks ago I took the loss to Kentucky”s big offense in stride. Two weeks ago I chalked up the last-four-seconds win over Auburn to life in the SEC. Then Florida lost to Georgia, Kentucky was embarrassed by Florida and Mississippi State and Auburn”s loss to now-unranked South Florida doesn”t make the War Eagles seem like such a strong team.

Apparently, none of these nail-biters were legitimate clashes of the titans. LSU has simply been sliding by on its talent all this time; a fact that came clearly to light Saturday night against Alabama. An unprepared, undisciplined LSU team overcame itself by sheer talent to beat Bama. And just that quickly – a month after lauding the brilliant gameplan against Florida – I”m back off the Leslie bandwagon.

Two plays Saturday night best illustrate my frustrations with Miles and his offensive staff:

- The 4th and inches call. Instead of taking the almost-guaranteed QB sneak for a first down, Leslie and Crowton got cute and tried to leverage the rule book to pull Alabama offside. I”m still not sure LSU committed the “simulating a snap” penalty that was called, but there was no need to resort to trickery there, and the snowball effect of the first penalty and the unsportsmanlike penalty that followed when Carnell Stewart ripped off his helmet might have been catastrophic if LSU wasn”t so loaded with the talent to come back and win the game. And for Stewart – a senior – to pull off his helmet on the field shows a total lack of discipline.

- The Early Doucet option pass to Matt Flynn. Normally no big deal (but not trickery the Tigers needed on this night), but to send your starting quarterback out on a pass route in the first quarter when you”ve suspended your No. 2 quarterback is just plain stupid. Had Flynn been injured on that play, the fallback plan involved the guy who transferred from Harvard and isn”t in the media guide or burning the redshirt of talented freshman Jarrett Lee. Taking that risk in that situation when you”re up 10-3 in the first quarter is simply inexcusable. Just plain stupid.

Putting Flynn in the position to get hammered by an Alabama safety makes you wonder if maybe Miles really didn”t think through the timing of that last pass against Auburn or realize he was going for it on fourth down during the Florida game.

It seems that Miles and Crowton did what I warned against and bought into the “crazy coach” reputation. In this game, simple preparation, discipline (14 penalties for 130 yards) and game planning would have done the job just fine.

LSU should be able to handle La. Tech and Ole Miss in the next two weeks, but the events on the field in Tuscaloosa and Fayetteville Saturday have me concerned about the season closer against Arkansas, not to mention the SEC Championship Game.

I”m not so sure LSU deserves its No. 2 BCS ranking, and I”m not so sure the Tigers will make it to bowl season without another loss.

Elsewhere in the SEC:

Arkansas put an epic 541 rushing yards down on South Carolina, including an SEC-record 323 yards by Darren McFadden (and, by the way, 163 yards by Felix Jones – averaging 13.6 yards a carry). And just when you thought the Hogs were dead. If I would have known Jerry Jones and every other Razorback of note was coming to this game, I might have picked Arkansas. But I didn”t.

And everybody else won as expected.

For the week: 6 – 1

For the season: 63 – 13

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