T-Bob: What LSU learned and still needs to learn in 2014
by T-Bob Hebert,posted Sep 3 2014 11:44AM
This is my first entry into my LSU post-game analysis series, and I haven’t decided on an exact template yet. For now I shall be adopting a “what did we learn” sort of vibe and if you have any ideas on how to improve on this or a maybe a suggestion for a wholly different direction feel free to hit me up on Twitter. I have always heard that two minds are better than one and I imagine that the collective intelligence lurking here on the internet when combined with my own sub-par brain power should AT LEAST be equal to the aforementioned two minds. Without further ado, lets jump right in.
Its not how you start, its how you finish.
22-21. What do these numbers mean? This is LSU’s record during the Les Miles era when trailing their opponents in the 4th qtr. This is absolutely absurd. This kind of stat has the Mad Hatter’s prints all over it. It should not be possible to have a winning record in this situation. In fact, they are the only FBS school with a winning record under these parameters. While some would argue that this stat is perhaps not wholly positive (because it means that LSU is probably trailing in games they should be winning) I would like to take a more positive spin on the situation.
Although Coach Miles will be the main name mentioned when this stat is rattled off, I believe that there is a different coach who arguably deserves the lion’s share of the credit. That is head strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffit. What I see when I read the 22-21 record is a validation of an entire workout regimen put together by Coach Moffit. Due to NCAA restrictions, college football is a bit odd because you will only be seeing your actual football coaches for a few months out of the year. There is one coach, however, that you spend each and every day with for the entirety of your time at the school and that is the head strength coach.
Told the lsu strength staff(coach Moffit), you gotta give me something harder if your gonna wake me up at 5:30 in the morning ..
Coach Moffit is my favorite coach I have ever played for because you could trust that if you did what he told you, to you were going to improve. As a player, you want to be able to trust a coach to put you in the best possible position to succeed, and I found this trust in Moffit. There is one common theme to Moffit’s year round training program and that is the mantra “4th Quarter.” It doesn’t matter if you are running sprints, doing agility drills, or lifting weights - there is always a focus on making it tough at the end and forcing yourself to push through the pain while yelling about the 4th quarter.
We used to run sixteen 110-yard sprints on a regular basis, and wouldn’t you know that sixteen happens to divide perfectly into four. We had an entire workout program during the spring titled “Fourth Quarter” that was specifically designed to push you to the limit both mentally and physically. It quite literally forced you to be perfect in order to pass. That is why whenever I see the LSU team raise their hands up with the number four flying high I know it is not an empty gesture, rather a statement to the other team that they better be ready because this is when the Tigers are at their strongest.
It is almost as if LSU starts the game as first-form Frieza before finally hitting final-form Frieza in the last fifteen minutes. I think this was on display Saturday in Houston as you saw an LSU team that looked COMPLETELY different than the one that started the game. The Tigers were suddenly dominating the trenches, just like Wisconsin had when the two teams came out of the gates. The balance of power shifted and the Badger players knew it as they looked tired and beaten down by the time Kenny Hilliard ran in the final score to put LSU up 28-24. While there is no doubt I would like to see LSU start faster and not dig themselves in a hole, it should reassure fans to know that they cheer for a team that can never be counted out.
How much do you think Brandon Harris plays moving forward? Are you more or less worried about the QBs than you were before the game? #LSU
Be patient with the young players.
I have seen many people rush judgement on the bevy of young players who were on the field Saturday. Twelve of the fifty players that saw action were making their college football debut including nine freshman. This means that over twenty percent of the players were brand new to this stage. This is good and bad. It is tough to establish consistency when playing this many young guys, but the game reps they are getting are invaluable and bode well for the future. The next few games shouldn’t be nearly as tough, and I believe they are a golden opportunity for these young players to improve heading into the SEC grind.
There is no verdict yet on guys like Brandon Harris or Leonard Fournette. Our sample size is just too small. Same thing with the guys who played well such as Anthony Jennings, Trey Quinn, and Davon Godchaux. I love seeing them excel but we still need to see consistency before all the starting jobs work themselves out. That said, there is an extremely strong nucleus of talent on this team that should be interesting to watch grow throughout the season and the next couple years.
Bottom line? LSU must play better if they want to accomplish their goals.
While it was nice to get a win, there are a few stats that jump off of the box score because it is almost hard to believe that LSU won the game when you see them. LSU got out-rushed by Wisconsin 268 to 126. Also, Wisconsin averaged 6.9 yards per carry compared to a paltry 2.7 from the Tigers. It is basically football 101 that if this is the case you should almost always lose the game. Luckily for the Tigers the secondary was dominant enough to basically nullify anything resembling that of a passing attack from the Badgers - however, this will not always be the case. The other worrying part of LSU’s game was the Tigers’ passing attack. The second half looked much better and I LOVE the talent at WR, but the QBs must (and I expect will) be more efficient moving forward. Going 9/21 throwing the ball during a game in which you don’t even average 3 yards per carry is not exactly a recipe for success.
Colby Delahoussaye is the under-appreciated hero of this team
Delahoussaye went a perfect two-for-two on the night, knocking both attempts he had through the uprights in the third quarter at a time in which a miss would probably mean the end of the game. There were not easy field goals either, as he conncected from thirty and forty seven yards out. Delahoussaye is now 15/16 in his career at LSU and the value of having a CONSISTENT kicker on the college level cannot be understated.
In sports radio we love to gloat when we are right, and sweep it under the rug when we are wrong, and as often as I am wrong, I would like to take a second and indulge in some self adoration. If you find such braggadocious behavior unbearable please ignore this part of the article. I wrote a piece last week about how it wouldn’t be the team who came out the gates strong that would win the game rather the team that adjusted and adapted the best. Welp….NAIL ON THE HEAD I MUST BE SOME SORT OF SPORTS GENIUS JUST CALL ME ZORDON BECAUSE I AM DROPPIN KNOWLEDGE BOMBS ALL DAY