SEC Week 4 Recap

First things first – I give Jarrett Lee all the credit in the world for hanging tough and leading the team to a win over Auburn after putting LSU in what seemed like an inescapable hole to end the first half. It was a true trial by fire – he had to step up and step in for the quite woozy Andrew Hatch. And he did it.

I just finished watching the TV version of the game (instead of the upper-deck live version I got last night), and I believe now as I did then that Lee still has a long way to go. He was capable the whole second half, but very sharp on a few throws, very lucky on a few throws and very bad on a few throws. The 39-yard touchdown pass to Chris Mitchell, for example, was a true Chucker toss that would have been an easy pick if Auburn had a safety in the neighborhood. Worked out great, though.

I don’t hold on to criticism of Lee to put down on him; but rather to keep proper perspective – he did a great job in leading LSU to a win, but that doesn’t mean he’s Matt Flynn all of a sudden. The win, though, has to give him and the offense a lot of confidence and Les Miles the opportunity to call him the starter. Mr. Hatch, thank you for helping us out. Here’s your clipboard.

The best thing about last night’s game was LSU’s running game. In its first three games, Auburn gave up 84, 37 and 38 yards on the ground. Charles Scott himself laid down 132 of LSU’s 178 yards against the War Eagles. The LSU offensive line is dominant, and Scott is exploiting that really well. Scott still leads the SEC in rushing yards per game and is 7th in the nation. That was huge last night and opened the door for Lee to get his gains with softer coverage and less pressure.

Defensively, LSU’s line was just as dominant. Two of the biggest swings in the game came when LSU crippled itself with personal fouls only to reclaim those yards with sacks and tackles in the backfield. Those series were critical to the win.

The problem for LSU came in several horribly blown coverages that led to big Auburn gains. Time and again Auburn receivers were standing alone deep down the field, and Chris Todd took advantage. In fact, LSU’s interception of a 4th-down Auburn pass late in the third quarter would have been another gimme broken coverage completion had Todd released the pass off before Curtis Taylor got in his face. Todd’s delay to shed Taylor gave Chris Hawkins time to race over to the completely-uncovered Tommy Trott and make the pick.

Auburn was only in the game because of horrendous blown coverages, and LSU was fortunate to have not given up another on that 4th-down play. LSU needs a lot of work on its coverage schemes, and I have a lot of concern about Danny McCray’s ability to stay with wide receivers. It didn’t seem last night that he had the speed, which may be the lingering effect of his ankle injury. Fortunately it’ll be Mississippi State LSU gets to work these problems out against next week.

So coming out of the Auburn game, I feel very good about the running game, good about Lee being able to manage the game, OK about Lee being able to revive the passing game. Defensively, I love the line play, feel OK with the linebackers and have concerns about the secondary.

But we’re still in the driver’s seat in the SEC West, have a good chance to hone things against Mississippi State next week and an off week before Florida. I’ll take it.

Elsewhere in the SEC:

Yay for me with another week of 100% correct picks.

Obviously I didn’t watch the Georgia game, so I’m somewhat confused looking at the stats. Yes, the Dawgs were suitably impressive in dispatching Arizona State, but I’m not sure how 461 yards of offense, no interceptions and no fumbles lost equals just 27 points. I’m guessing the 12 penalties for 104 yards had a good bit to do with that, but the stats look like more of a blowout than 27 – 10. In any case, the Dawgs made the Devils totally one-dimensional (4 rushing yards allowed) and shut them down nicely.

The Florida / Tennessee game was over early, largely because Tennessee killed itself with mistakes and turnovers. The Gators ended with just 243 total yards (to the Vols’ 258 yards), with Tebow going under 100 passing yards. Yet another game Tennessee would like to forget, and I have to imagine Florida fans aren’t feeling great after this one, either.

Alabama rolled up Arkansas as expected. The Tide didn’t need to throw the ball considering they ran the ball almost unopposed (and scored twice on interception returns), but John Parker Wilson now has two games with fewer than 75 passing yards, which is notable as the Tide heads into a matchup with that team that gave up just 4 yards on the ground yesterday.

Vandy did me right and beat Ole Miss. This one was totally the Rebels’ fault, as they committed six turnovers while holding the Dores to 202 yards of offense and ran up 385 yards of their own. So Vandy didn’t deserve the win, but they got it.

I knew Georgia Tech would run all over the SEC’s worst run defense in Mississippi State, but 438 yards on the ground is still pretty shocking. And the Bulldogs managed 407 yards, but sealed the deal with four turnovers.

South Carolina beat Wofford, but just 23 – 13. A moral loss for the Cocks.

For the week: 7-0
For the season: 30-6

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2 Responses to “SEC Week 4 Recap”

  1. Hofo says:

    Cap’n,

    Yes, the penalties hurt the Dawgs a lot, keeping alive a couple of Sun Devil drives that other wise would have died. There were also a couple of ref blown calls (calling a “chop block” penalty on a Georgia player that was sitting on the ground as the Sun Devil player that he supposedly blocked jumped over his legs, for instance), but those will happen in every game. I could have easily been 38-10 but Richt let time expire at the end of the game rather than run another play from inside the 5. ASU has a potent passing game, but they couldn’t get the run established. That’s not new for them this season however, the Bulldog pregame announcers said that prior to Saturday’s game ASU was split evenly 95 running and passing plays each but the overwhelming majority of the gained yardage was on the passing plays.

    I’m of the opinion that if we keep winning games the polls will sort themselves out but I really wanted a decisive, shut-the-door-on-the-naysayers game. I think the passing defense still needs work but I was mostly happy with the Dawgs performance. Now on to the blackout against Bama in Athens!

  2. Cap'n Ken says:

    Pretty smart for Richt not to reveal his 11-point play with time expiring in a game already won … I kid because I love.

    And y’all are doing the stupid black-jersey crap for Alabama? Lovely. And on the polls, everything I saw was giving Georgia big props for dominating ASU – probably a little shine off of that with their UNLV loss, but I think some doubters have been silenced for now.

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