Disclaimer: I'm on vacation, in the Kansas City International airport drinking a beer (Boulevard Brewing Company's unfiltered wheat - it's wheatey) waiting for my plane to the Big Easy to begin boarding. If this comes off as if I'm aloof, in a hurry, and a bit off-center at an early-ish hour, it's because I am.
I'm not going to go through this and deliver a ton of platitudes or attempt to eloquently describe what we saw on Saturday. And instead of trying to direct the narrative with longer, efforted explanations, I'm just gonna offer my observations. Do the same and, if you care to, let's really get the discussion going in the comments thread. That's what it's there for anyway.
- Coach Nutt was ready for LSU. Damn him for not putting the same type of effort and intensity into Vanderbilt and Tennessee, but give him credit for yesterday. He kept our team in it. His fourth down attempts were ballsy but effective. His players played hard but dumb (so very, very dumb). His team was ready to knock off the number five team in the country.
- Tyrone Nix, however. Wasn't.
- LSU's offense is one of the worst in this conference, and they scored 43 points on us. Marinade in that one for a little bit and tell me with confidence that State won't hang at least 30 on the Rebels next week. It'll suck.
- There were lots of opinions expressed during and, to a lesser extent, after the game of our defense "showing up" against LSU. Aside from a few key plays, though - most notably the huge redzone stands - the Landsharks were once again gashed by mediocre to bad offensive players. How bad was it? Jordan freakin' Jefferson was just named offensive player of the week by the conference. That's how bad it was.
- This doesn't mean the guys didn't play hard. Cornell, Powe, Shackleford, and especially Damien Jackson showed some absolute tenacity out there. When those guys are in the right places at the right times (once again, that only happened maybe half of the time due to poor scheming) they can do some real damage.
- Jeremy McGee and Johnny Brown got abused out there. Brown, either unaware or unphased by this, however, decided it best to jaw-off at opposing receivers and tight ends, generally making all of us look like a bunch of assholes. Johnny, that's my job, and I'd appreciate it if you left such up to the professionals.
- Nix is gonna get fired.
- Jeremiah Masoli had a fine game. He's been given flak by partisans and objectives alike for yesterday's performance, but his two picks were hardly the result of his shortcomings, the first resulting from a good LSU defensive play and the second coming during a last-second Hail Mary play (therefore, in the grand-scheme of the game, it's negligible).
- Jeff Scott's going to be very good for us, especially considering the youth and potential for development along the offensive line.
- Markeith Summers is a dolt, Andrew Ritter has clearly decided to get stoned or something before ballgames, Korvic Neat was a half-yard out of position on a play that could have tied the game with a few seconds remaining, and Bobbie Massie loves chop blocking dudes well after the play is over. This is, unfortunately, only a sampling of Rebel dumbassery which took place yesterday. This is insanely frustrating because, when seeing Powe, Cornell, Masoli, Scott (not you, Rodney), Jackson, and others make heads-up, efforted plays, you wonder what the hell happened to half of their teammates.
- LSU is a damn strong football team, but the Rebels had them. Had the whole team played as intelligently and intensely as the aforementioned, and had the entire coaching staff called signals as well as Nutt did (give the wacky sumbitch credit; his offense was moving last night), the Rebels would be riding high into the Egg Bowl. We're not, though, which sucks.
- We're not trying to make excuses, and this right here is the only place where you're gonna see me use the words "moral" or "victory": yesterday wasn't a "moral victory." Yesterday was fun, but when it was all over with, we all can't help but wonder where this team was all season, where our defense went, and why the hell Jeremiah Masoli wanted a part of our collective misery.
So we miss out on a bowl game, meaning that the players don't get stupid gifts, another 20 extra practices, and increased exposure. Also, you better believe this hurts recruiting. But, in a frustrating change from last week, not a single bit of that is - if you only consider yesterday's events - at all the fault of Houston Nutt. I won't forgive Count Giggity for Vanderbilt or Tennessee, ever, but I'm fine with his effort yesterday.
Let's hope he puts half a damn into Mississippi State this week. Hotty Toddy and go to Hell State.
And please, pick up where I've left off. I've got a plane to catch.