LSU is a 3 1/2 point favorite on the road at South Carolina this weekend, so the Tigers still have some faith from the oddsmaking community despite the loss at Florida last Saturday. But in perusing the articles in today’s papers, that Florida loss still seems to pervade LSU’s team a bit.
Or maybe it’s just that the beat writers covering the Tigers won’t let Florida go.
The lead piece in the Advocate has to do with LSU’s offensive backups and how they’re waiting their turn while Charles Scott, Richard Dickson, Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd carry the load in the Tiger offense. Trindon Holliday, Richard Murphy, Keiland Williams, Chris Mitchell, Jared Mitchell and Terrence Toliver have all contributed this year, though, so while LSU’s distribution of the football so far hasn’t quite been as even as it was last year I’m not sure that’s really an issue with this team. Scott’s inability to get going in the Florida game gets a lot of play in the article, which makes the point that the tailback-by-committee arrangement is something of a salve if Scott isn’t able to carry the running game. Of course, when you find yourself far behind somebody you’re not really running the ball much anyway – so what’s the difference.
Meanwhile, the Times-Picayune has a piece focusing on the Tiger offensive line’s struggles against Florida and how they’re vowing it won’t happen again. We’ll see. I’ve noticed that in the last two games Lyle Hitt seems to have had a lot of trouble holding blocks and moving defenders off the ball, and it’s creating some problems running the ball on the interior. Perhaps if this can’t be fixed with technique adjustments it’s time to take a look at a Will Blackwell or Ryan Miller or Josh Dworaczyk. Any of those three will bring a little more size to the right guard position; if Hitt is getting knocked back by bigger, stronger players the personnel is available to put a stop to that. Not that Hitt was the only problem on the line last week, though.
Of course, while there are concerns about the offensive line’s play last week, the center of discussion still involves the defense. Head coach Les Miles’ comments about how there could be some personnel changes there have sparked a good bit of discussion here and in other places; from what the coach is saying now it looks like he’s going to play a whole bunch of people in Columbia Saturday night and we’ll see who produces results. Karnell Hatcher came in for Curtis Taylor a bit in the second half of the Florida game and he looked like he had a lot more speed and was more aggressive in making plays; this might be his opportunity to wrest the free safety job away from Taylor. Again, we’ll see.