Chavis hire and Chicken Biscuit Bowl preview

I’m looking forward to the Peach-fil-A Bowl tomorrow for one reason – it’s the end of this season. They tell me no national champion has even gone on the next year to lose five conference games. It’s an LSU season to forget, and I’ll be very happy to forget it.

Since closing out the season with the worst four-game stretch I can remember, Les Miles has proven himself to be a very capable human resources director. Leslie has managed to avoid firing Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory by finding them new jobs. Some (me) might prefer that he focus more on LSU’s needs than Peveto and Mallory’s, but Miles will end up Gumping his way around his horrible decision to not have a defensive coordinator this season. Hey, he didn’t fire those great coaches – they earned their way into promotions with other teams, and he’s sorry to see them go.

On its face, this may not end up being a forced shake-up of the defensive staff, but hopefully Miles is not delusional enough to think it’s anything other than that. You screwed up, Leslie.

So LSU will have a defensive coordinator in 2009, and it seems it will be John Chavis of Tennessee. That pick seems like a very Les Miles move. It’s safe, predictable and void of any imagination. Chavis is obviously not a “hot young coach” like Will Muschamp. He’s a veteran SEC defensive coordinator, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Whether he can bring the fire of Muschamp and Pelini and whether that fire really matters remains to be seen.

As far as Chavis’ performance goes, Tennessee finished 4th nationally in total defense this season, which is really strong given the Vols’ lack of an offense. His Vols gave up 30 points to Florida (pre-Tebow pledge), which was the most points given this year. LSU, of course, gave up 50 points twice and 31 points three times.

His longer-term performance is less stellar. Going back to 2000, here is the Tennessee rank in total defense:

2008 – 4
2007 – 70
2006 – 50
2005 – 7
2004 – 45
2003 – 22
2002 – 5
2001 – 13
2000 – 13

Kind of a roller coaster ride of late. Those numbers suggest LSU will be really good in 2011. Until this season (33rd in total defense), LSU had not finished below 8th in total defense since 2002. LSU equals defense, so the optimist would say Chavis has done well with lesser talent at Tennessee and thus will do great with LSU’s talent. The pessimist would say Chavis hasn’t shown the ability to put a consistently-great defense on the field.

But ultimately we got the defensive coordinator position back after Leslie eliminated it last year, and we have an SEC veteran in the role. I’ll take that for now.

And on to the Value-Sized Number One Combo Bowl.

Going in to bowl season, the analysis focused on why Georgia Tech has been successful with their option attack. And the consensus has been that it’s a difficult offense to stop when you just have one week to prepare for it. But give a team a month to get ready and you can shut it down.

I think that’s a very good point, but I wonder how much focused preparation LSU has actually managed. The two guys pretending to be defensive coordinators have been looking for jobs – and they suck anyway – and Miles has been recruiting and looking to hire an actual defensive coordinator. I’m not sure where focused preparation comes in to play in that scenario. But Tech can’t throw the ball (95 yards per game), which is great news for LSU, which gave up an average of 301 passing yards per game in its last three contests.

So, silly me, I’m going to pick LSU. I think the run defense is capable enough to shut down a team that doesn’t throw, especially with time to prepare. Of course, Tech could work more of a passing game in to the mix to take advantage of LSU’s horrible pass coverage, which would mean all bets are off. But I’ll take the mix of a Jefferson-led offense and ability to control Tech’s offense in a bowl that has been good for LSU in the past.

Tigers 31 – 30

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4 Responses to “Chavis hire and Chicken Biscuit Bowl preview”

  1. John says:

    I hope you have the appropriate peach to fillet tomorrow.
    This may be the first time in 15 years LSU doesn’t sell out its allotment of tickets for a bowl game. THAT is a statement about the season for sure.

  2. Cap'n Ken says:

    They’ve been making a big deal now about the whole 15,000-seat allotment being used. Then they go on to say that 2,000 of those tickets have been donated to military and poor people in Atlanta. Hurrah.

  3. John says:

    Well, isn’t that peachy?

  4. Smoove D says:

    Poor people get tickets and bankers get billions. Where the fuck is my bailout?

    Tech’s offense is severely overrated. I watched them play a few games, and I’m still trying to figure out how they’re in a decent bowl. Also, don’t forget that what success they did have was in the ACC, which stands for Always Crappy Conference and lived up to its name this year!

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