Co-Host of WWL's "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia," Weekdays 4-8PM
Deke: The good, bad, & ugly from LSU's win over Auburn
by Deke Bellavia,posted Sep 24 2012 4:09PM
The good: I think the number one "good" is the win. I don't like to lean on the numbers from Vegas, I like to look at the history this rivalry. Nine times out of ten when LSU and Auburn play, it's going to be a tight one, regardless. Auburn has had good recruiting classes the last several years, so they didn't have bad players, and I didn't think they were that bad of a team.
Zach Mettenberger: He doesn't have to be a savior, he's just got to go out and make some plays. And yes, he sometimes didn't make the plays he needed to, but he didn't do bad, considering it was his first SEC road trip in a hostile environment. It's only going to get tougher going to Florida, so it was a flat "good" going over there and winning the game at Auburn.
The Bad: The offensive line: Mettenberger at times is a victim of holding the ball too long, but the O-line really got beat in that ball game. That really put an edge on LSU when they got into third and long situations. They still can't afford to get into those situations, and the Tigers need to be able to convert on those downs. They don't seem to be at that comfort level yet.
And there's really not a true playmaker on either side of the ball, or on special teams yet. This times last year, you saw Honey Badger, and we saw Mo Claiborne, making plays like returning the kickoff 99 yards.
The Ugly: Penalties! There was one play when LSU had two personal fouls that backed them up to their five yard line. Over the course of the first four games, the penalty count has been ugly. That's got to clean up, because I mean, you got to travel to Florida, and then come home and play South Carolina...and then go play A&M in October? It's a monster three-game stretch. Everybody gets UP when they play LSU.
Also ugly: The red-zone turnovers. In four games, LSU had three red-zone turnovers. If LSU had scored that TD against Auburn instead of giving away the turnover, who knows how it would have gone? They got to clean up the penalties right away, and when they get in the end zone, they've got to score a touchdown.
And, LSU has yet to find a rhythm in the passing game. What you saw Auburn do, you'll see everybody do. They're going to say, "all right, you've got this new guy at QB, and all these running backs...You're going to pass when WE want you to pass it. You're not going to be able to dictate when you want to pass." Until LSU can contain that, it's going to be a struggle on the road.
Everybody's talking about Alabama in November. Forget about November! You better worry about October.