Going into this game, I wrote about LSU’s potential for next season. I still believe we will have one of the most talented and capable (to use a Les-ism) teams out there.
However, Anthony Jennings’ time as the starting quarterback needs to end, and it needs to end now. I was in favor of him starting this game, but when you play two or three quarters and you have 33 passing yards and 0 points, you shouldn’t stay in the game if there is someone with a pulse on the sidelines to take your place.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who was having flashbacks to the BCS title game after the 2011 season. The difference there was the guy on the sidelines had played Alabama two months before and failed. There was no such justification this time.
Jennings seems like a decent person who tries hard and understands the game to an extent, but we’ve seen enough. I don’t care if Harris starts 1 for 10. If he throws for more than 33 yards in the first three quarters, that will be better than this game was. We have a bye week to get him ready for A&M, and we’ll have a few weeks to get him ready for the bowl game. He needs to be given the ball and told he’s the starting quarterback sink or swim for at least a half. If we’re down 17-0 again in the next game, then maybe you put Jennings back in.
I don’t want to disparage Arkansas or suggest they’re undeserving. This was decent team that was desperately trying to get their first SEC win in a long time after a bye week. They absolutely dominated a Texas Tech team that just gave Oklahoma a good game well into the fourth quarter, and of course they were only a point short of beating Alabama. They were only a couple of minutes away from beating LSU last year.
That’s not a justification though, nor is the fact that it was hard to pick ourselves up after the last game. Our defense was ready to play, but they deserved a better offense. I’m not owed anything as a fan—I don’t buy tickets and rarely even buy merchandise (the last thing I bought was the 2013 media guide)—but those players are owed more than they got.
The runners and blockers are there, but I-formation runs up the middle when the other team sees it coming is never going to be a great play, at least not in the SEC. I don’t understand why we reverted to the same offense that we ran so miserably in the first half against Mississippi St. It works late in the game when there is a credible throwing threat. It doesn’t work with no passing offense to speak of and when the ball doesn’t even move around the backfield with any regularity.
To be fair though, the offensive line fell apart due to injuries.
Colby Delahoussaye did miss field goals; and if it had been 10-6 going into the fourth or even 17-6 going into the last 10 minutes, maybe that would have given us some chance. I don’t think there is a long-term problem with the kicker position though. You might remember Alabama missing some field goals in the regular-season game in 2011 and then hitting 5 of them in the BCS championship. I think that will turn around, but regardless, that’s not the primary problem. We were lucky to even have those two chances to score based on the miserable passing offense. One was set up by a targeting penalty, not even a pass interference. The other drive (leading to the miss in the first half) was a decent one, but if there is a good throw at some point, it may have been a touchdown drive.
Then when LSU finally got another drive together in the fourth quarter, Jennings ended it with a fumble. The knock on backup Brandon Harris had been his tendency to turn the ball over, but that argument for Jennings doesn’t seem very strong right now. Jennings also threw three combined interceptions in the previous two games (against only 16 completions).
I’m updating my blog about the Arkansas series. The pattern of frequent wins by the team with the worse season (so far anyway) continues.