Friday, September 10, 2010

Previewing LSU at Vanderbilt

I have been waiting for the opportune moment to make my return to the blogosphere. With the bar exam finished and my recent giving of vows to Mrs. Stanimal, I've been taking some much needed R&R. Bobby has asked me to do a preview of the LSU at Vanderbilt game, but I gotta be honest when I say it will be nowhere near as detailed as his usual performance. Still, I'll give it a whirl!

LSU In General

The Tigers tried their best to give away a win in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff game to UNC's very compliant and very B-squad remains in the wake of their agent issues. LSU came out hot in the game and should have rolled to an easy victory, but they allowed UNC back into the game late.

LSU's Offense vs. Vanderbilt's Defense

The Tigers are led by Jordan Jefferson at QB, who enters his third year. Jefferson is mobile and has a lot of upside, but is prone to make mistakes. He was very accurate and poised against UNC, completing 15 of 21 for 151 yards with 2 TDs, and only 1 pick. LSU runs a pretty balanced attack, handing the rock to Stevan Ridley while still being unafraid to air it out to receivers Rueben Randle and Terrance Toliver.

Vanderbilt's defensive front demonstrated an ability to stop the run, but they must do a better job of containing QBs. Jordan Jefferson is not a spectacular QB, but he is more than serviceable and is a similar player to Dan Persa, whom the Commodores struggled to contain last week. Simply put, pressure on the quarterback and forcing Jefferson to stay in the pocket as it collapses around him are going to be keys to Vanderbilt stopping the Tigers offense.

Vanderbilt's Offense vs. LSU's Defense

This LSU defense is actually quite weak in comparison to those in its past. The problem is that it's weak in an area that Vanderbilt is not particularly good at exploiting. It's no secret that the Commodores have problems throwing the ball around. But last week LSU showed that it really has no idea how to play coverage, allowing Tyler Yates to throw for 412 yards and 3 TDs. UNC is a good team and Yates is a good quarterback, but for an SEC defense to allow 400+ yards is scary for the Tiger faithful. It's only one game, but there's some serious questions as to whose covering back there.

That being said, Vanderbilt is going to rely on running the football with it's stable of solid if not spectacular tailbacks. Warren Norman and Zac Stacy are the heartbeat of this offense, but if Vandy wants to perform beyond our expectations there must be improvement in the passing game. Larry Smith's performance is crucial to our success this season. He showed much better ability against Northwestern throwing for 240 yards, so it will be interesting to see if his accuracy and decision making have improved as we enter our first SEC game. This is certainly a secondary that can be exploited.

Eliminate Bone-head Mistakes

Bad snaps of the variety we saw are not acceptable in even 8th grade football. Vanderbilt has come a long way as a program because it has managed to minimize these types of errors. We CANNOT have crucial poor snaps. We CANNOT have untimely fumbles. The longer we hold on to the ball, the better our chances will be.

Pray that One Day We Will No Longer Get the Raw End of Bad Calls

Seriously, a letter? The Big Ten officiating crew makes the worst call of the first weekend of college football, while at the same time putting the nail in the coffin of a team that still had a chance to win the game, and they think an apologetic letter is acceptable? The better answer is to simply swallow your whistle on a close play late unless it's a blatant penalty.

That's about all I got as a preview folks. But I'll have more to say regarding the latest out of Tennessee.


David said...

nice preview. got to cut down on dumb mistakes like bad snaps and penalties. We went 5-0 in 2008 because we avoided precisely that.

Always tough moving the ball against LSU though. Vandy hasn't scored more than 9 points the last five times they've met.

Should add this is a home game for the Commodores. Vandy played at Death Valley last season.

Diezba said...


Game's in Nashville this year.

Otherwise, I dunno.

My thoughts on the game (scroll down).

Anonymous said...

We're not playing at LSU.

Stanimal said...

Sorry, been preoccupied as of late. It's corrected.

Chuck Heston said...

Well, I guess the way to get over losing a "must win" game is to win a "likely loss". It'll be on ESPNU and I guess I'll end up watching it, damn it.

Hey, if anyone cares, I just got Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview issue and saw that Vandy is predicted to finish 4th in the SEC East. The magazine projects the NCAA Tournament as well and has Vandy as an 8 seed in the East, facing Duke in the 2nd round. Please note the Athlon has been pretty accurate in the past. Last year they ranked Vandy #16 in the Preseason Poll and had them as a 4 seed in the Tournament. Vandy ended up finishing the regular season ranked #18 and got a 4th seed.