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Coming off of the 2011 season, I was optimistic for the Tigers. With so much talent coming back and a perceived upgrade at the QB position, I thought 12-0 was a real possibility again, with 10-2 as the downside risk. After Mathieu got the boot and Tahj Jones was ruled ineligible, I thought 12-0 was still a slight possibility, but that the downside risk was more like 8-4. Once Faulk went down for the season, I thought was 12-0 was probably out of the picture, but that 8-4 was still the downside risk. After the Florida game, knowing that Hurst and Williford were out, along with Faulk, I didn't know what to expect for the rest of the season.
Overall, I think the team we put on the field this year met expectations - meaning, if you told me in January that Mathieu would be kicked off the team, Jones would miss the entire season, Faulk would miss 11 games and that Hurst and Williford would miss the last half of the season, I would've guess 10-2 was the best the team could hope for in 2012.
Things I liked:
Development of young offensive linemen. I think La'el Collins was as good as any Guard in the SEC the 2nd half of the season and I think he and Trai Turner form the best returning Guard combo in the SEC in 2012. Vadal Alexander FAR exceeded my expectations in 2012. I thought Porter met expectations when he played.
Development of Passing game. I don't put this all on Mettenberger. In fact, I put the majority of it on the maturation of the OL once the injuries were sorted out. The WR's still are a sore spot IMO, but they were good enough late in the season to make some plays.
Development of the LB's. Kwon Alexander was excellent prior to his injury. I think Lamar Louis, Ronnie Feist and Debo Jones all also showed plenty of talent to be excited about going into 2013. Minter was as good as any MLB in the SEC and Lamin Barrow was a very steady performer next to him. If Minter returns, we'll be loaded at LB in 2013 - when was the last time you thought that about an LSU team?
Emergence of Jeremy Hill. Not much more to say. Great player...hope he stays healthy going forward.
Development of Jalen Mills. I think he was the best cover guy we had the 2nd half of the season and is poised to be the next great LSU CB.
Things I didn't like:
Overall performance of the safeties and Tharold Simon. The veterans kind of let the secondary down, particularly the last 4 games of the season.
Disappearance of Kenny Hilliard. This may have been due to having twins, but when he did play, he just didn't play with the same physicality as in 2011.
Lack of speed in the WR corps. OBJ was the only WR we had that threatened defenses deep and he didn't start catching the ball consistently until after the bye week.
Lack of pass rush. We finished with 30 sacks, tied for 26th in the country (with Alabama and Texas A&M, among others), but it seemed like teams had way too much time against our front 4 at times. Part of that is Chavis' strategy against spread teams, which asks DE's to play in their lanes, but we didn't see a lot of pass rush from our DT's
4th down playcalls in Bama game. I didn't have a ton of problems with the decisions at the time they were made, with the exception of the fake FG, which some suggest was an audible by Brad Wing. But it's clear they contributed to the loss.
The "WareCat" short-yardage formation. I just didn't like the formation. For some reason, the OL left a gap between the Guard and Tackle with Copeland lined up off the line in that gap. It seemed teams got penetration in that spot almost everytime. More that that, though, the formation really limited the short-yardage play call options and came up snake-eyes in big situations down the stretch.
Overall, I thought the coaching staff did a pretty good job of holding this team together, particularly when early on it seemed like were losing key players every week. 10-2 isn't what I was hoping for coming into the season, but understanding what the team went through from an injury/attrition standpoint and another brutal SEC schedule (Florida and South Carolina from the East while Bama got Tennessee and Mizzou), I can accept 10-2 from this particular team.
2013 outlook: I'm optimistic, based in large part on the development of the young OL, the passing attack and Jeremy Hill on offense. Defensively it's too early to tell because of the NFL draft, but I expect our starters to be as talented as ever while our depth, particularly at DT, could be a challenge as the season wears on.
I'll be glad when 2012 is over as far as LSU is concerned. The embarrassment in NOLA, the recruiting collapse, losing TM7, losing Tahj, losing Faulk, losing Blue, Hurst defecting, other injuries all over the starting 22, slow start for Mett and the receivers. Ugly 10-2 and we were fortunate that Auburn and Arky were very down, but it is what it is. Hopefully, we'll come out and roll Texas in Dallas in early January, lock up K Beckwith, get to work in March for a title run next year and put the off the field garbage away.
This post was edited by CDCNAM 17 months ago
I totally forgot about Blue. Given his injury happened so early in the season, I fully expect him to be back in the RB rotation in 2012. He'll probably be cleared for non-contact participation wearing a brace in Spring practice, as I was cleared for cutting sports 6 months after ACL reconstruction, and I was overweight in my mid-30's.
Good stuff ne
Tiger NE, very good post. Like you, I really went into this season thinking that LSU would accomplish great things - 12-0 and favored to win the NC. But things happen, all of which you mentioned, so I won't repeat. This year proved one thing to me: when you get to the NC game like we did in '11 you better win it all, because a return trip is never, never guaranteed, no matter what kind of team you have returning. BTW, I like our WRs a lot better than you seem to, but that's why we all have our own opinion, which makes this board valuable.
I think the loss of Faulk was significant, but the biggest loss was TM7.
He was THE guy defensively that opposing teams had to account for, particularly on the blitz. No one could expect him to, but Eugene simply wasn't close to a facsimile of Mathieu.
The fact Auburn and Arkansas (in particular) were down was a huge benefit. I would not want to have faced a Petrino coached offense with that defense, secondary in particular.
Offensively, once again there was just not a (and I'm searching for the word), a smoothness? to the offense. Mettenberger started off slow, came alive vs. Alabama and I think while not regressing, certainly didn't clearly build off the Alabama game. There just does not seem to be that killer instinct or perhaps it is coaching acumen for this offense to make opponents pay EVERY time they turn the ball over or the field is flipped. Way too many red zone appearances end up in 40 yard field goals that Alleman was far from automatic on. When lesser teams and by lesser teams, I pretty much mean every team on our schedule save Alabama and Florida and perhaps Texas A&M and USCE turn the ball over or we start in good field position, we should be able to punch it in for a TD. Far, far too many times, we were fortunate to end up with a field goal. As has been said many times before, I think a change has to be made in playcaller/OC. I don't expect to get an OC who is going to run roughshod over the HC. But we need a guy with the cojones and expertise and resume' that is going to be able to tell Miles that he has a plan to get TD's and first downs instead of saving FG position.
Excellent post, and very close to how I see things.
I do like our wide recievers more than you, and think they really came on as the season progressed. I believe the isue isn't who we have, but who we don't have, that big downfield threat. Can't wait to see if Leslie, Johnson, Dural and others can make an impact.
I agree with Robertdnd that TM7 was a huge reason we had less pressure. Not just his pressure, which was substantial, but that the offense had to worry about him at all times. It disrupted blocking schemes, led to more quarterback hurries and of course, 9 more sacks on the season (though with fewer games included in the stats.)
"I strive to never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. They are companions, not rivals, for our affections." -Lance Paddock
I agree on the wr's. We just have a couple of good slot wr's (OBJ and Landry) and #2 wide outs (Boone and Wright). We lack a true #1 threat at wideout, but that allowed safeties to play a little closer to the LOS all year.
What I liked:
*LSU has finally found a premier back in Jeremy Hill
*The light finally turned on for Mettenberger
*Vadal Alexander and Trai Turner stepped up when Hurst decided to quit on us
*Nic Jacob showed that we may have a TE on the team who isnt stonehanded
*Jalen Mills showed great poise for being just a freshman where we needed him
*Freshman linebackers whether on D or special teams contributed well
What I disliked:
*Being able to sit at home and tell these things about our offense pre snap -
- When Ford or Shep is in the backfield its always a toss to the outside
- When Ware is in the game its always a run up the middle
- Mett will never QB sneak for a needed one yard in his LSU career
- When Ware is in the wildcat its either a toss to Ford or a sneak for no gain
*The fact that our OC and headcoach have no imagination and run the same plays that they show in old college football game on ESPN Classic from 1974.
*The apparent decline of our kicking game and overall special teams
*The lack of a pass rush until the last drive on the 4th quarter
*Chavis's soft cover 2 in the 2nd half of all our games
*Steve Ensminger still on the staff coaching a position LSU cant develop (I wonder Why)
*The Hilliard @ FB counter play or any counter plays that worked great last year but have seemed to been thrown out this year
*Playing down to our opponents and playing not to lose instead of trying to score (My heart cant take it much more)
I could go on and on about what I disliked but Ill just stop
Cant wait till next year like others have said because this season to me has been one big cluster that could have ended in
7-5 or 8-4 but somehow through Miles's luck got us to 10-2
This post was edited by ThePurpleHaze 17 months ago
ThePurpleHaze is a message board "Jackal"
- Mike Scarborough TB.com
Like Lance said, our WR core hurt badly by not having a deep threat... had Dural not been injured, we may have seen our offense mature more earlier in the season
Proud to support everything Louisiana
Well Nic barely played. he isnt on the team rt now and no one seems to be sure of his future. I think we will be better served with the incoming TE class.
And yeah the season could end 7-5 or 8-4 but it didnt. its not just luck. Fans have been saying we should have gone 12-0 and are blaming the coaches.
I wouldnt call losing 4 guys that were most likely going to the nfl after this season luck. Breaking in a new qb, 3-4 dbs, 4-5 new linebackers. 10-2 is what i will take and luck happens, but LSU overcame a lot of bad luck. Last year and this year.
This post was edited by lesticles11 17 months ago
Outstanding post and agree with everything you said
Despit the fact that this team is 10-2 and ranked 7th in the country, you still have a limited list of 7 things you liked but unlimited things you didn't like? Personally, I think there is much more to like about this football program than dislike.
Also, how can you chastise Ensminger for his inability to develop the TE position, yet praise Nic Jacobs for his development? Help me understand: is it that when the players perform well, it's their fault - but when the players perform poorly, it's the coach's fault? I'm not suggesting that Ensminger is some kind of coaching savant or anything, I'm just curious how you justify liking the development of a TE but discrediting the TE Coach's ability to develop TE's.
This post was edited by TigerNE 17 months ago
This year was like many under Miles...so so close but still not there...unlike last year I actually thought this this year team really had a chance and just like every other year except in 2007 when everything fell our way we were unable to push thru and get the wins we needed...some will point to injuries and departures and other will point to a few plays along the way that surely should have been called differently as reason for why we fell short...
Hopefully next year will be our year...senior QB coming back along with a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball...Chavis will have his group ready...all that's missing is a little luck and some creative coaching on the offensive side of the ball and we are there!!!
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