The fact is I have been spoiled since around 2005 with the success of Central, LSU and the Saints.
The Central game was the easiest to handle. The Wildcats competed hard in adverse conditions against a quality opponent and came up short. It happens.
The LSU win was not easy to watch, and actually more frustrating than the Central loss. It is hard to watch your team play so far below their capabilities and make so many mistakes. I’ll get to them in more depth in a minute.
As for the Saints, the line of scrimmage is where they have lost each game. The Saints haven’t been efficient in the red zone because they can’t run.
On defense, the line of scrimmage is consistently re-established 2-3 yards toward the Saints linebackers. Once again, it is extremely hard to watch.
Hopefully, Loomis and Payton are watching closely and realizing they need to spend EVERY draft pick finding defensive players in the front 7 that can hold their ground and every once in a while disrupt the offense.
Back to LSU, I can’t remember a team dropping so consistently in the polls while still winning.
The uninspired effort against Towson is actually understandable, yet the bigger concern is that it is getting harder to distinguish whether the mistakes are from lack of concentration or a sign of an average team.
The Tigers are almost halfway through the season and by this point they have spent more time playing sloppy than efficient.
Without a doubt the intensity will be there against Florida. But that won’t be enough because LSU is not THAT much more talented than Florida.
So the game will come down to strategy and execution.
Here are four keys I see:
1. Break tendencies on offense. While LSU should still maintain their identity, they do not have the ability to just line up and move the ball if a team like Florida always knows what is coming. LSU should try to make life easier by doing the unexpected in order to slow down Florida’s defense. Make them think. Catch them off guard.
2. Watch the first play of the Towson game and make it an actual part of the game plan. I have been trying to understand why a team would run something that produces a 78-yard touchdown and never come back to that concept again. Even if it is only to set up another play.
3. LSU has not been a consistent big play team so far, in any of the three phases. Consequently, they have to be a team that doesn’t hurt itself, and takes advantages of opportunities. That means penalties, turnovers, making field goals and converting in the red zone.
4. If option 3 doesn’t come around, then it is time to start making big plays to overcome mistakes. A few trick plays on offense and special teams wouldn’t be a bad place to start in order to steal a possession.
Personally, I think LSU is very talented, but not the most talented team in the country anymore. They might have been when they started fall practice, but they are not now.
Based on some of the quotes this week, it seems as though the team hasn’t realized that last year’s team had more special qualities than just talent.
So this year’s group will have to start doing the things that “regularly” talented teams do to win.