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5 POSITIVES VS FLORIDA ST 2023

Updated: Sep 5, 2023


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW ON X @LonnPhillips


After Sunday's beatdown, it was hard to see anything but the negative from LSU's 45-24 evisceration at the hands of Florida State.


But we've dug deep, finding 5 positives about the game:


5. KICKING GAME / BATTERY ON SPECIAL TEAMS


Once again, super senior punter Jay Bramblett continues to build upon his glittering resume at Notre Dame....booting a near career long punt when LSU needed his help most.


Since his transfer arrival alongside Head Coach Brian Kelly, Bramblett is a Ray Guy Award watchlist recipient and if he continues to boot 'em downfield like he did vs Florida State, he should be a lock for the award itself, such is his consistency over his steep ascendancy at LSU.


In Orlando, Jay rocketed 3 punts for 135 yards, headlined by a 65 yard stunner that pinned the Seminoles on their own 2 yard line.


He now has 68 of 216 punts downed inside the 20, while 44 of his punts traveled over 50 yards. His career long of 72 was nearly topped this past weekend.


Plus, Mannely Award Watch List long snapper Slade Roy was the man to touch the ball, downing it miles away from his starting spot, mirroring last season's heroics vs Mississippi State (where Roy snapped a punt and raced 60 yards downfield to recover a game-changing fumble).

Regardless of LSU's other ridiculous special teams faults over a season and a game into the BK Era, there is no doubt Bramblett and Roy are the SEC's strongest battery.


4. GREG BROOKS JR


Although Matt House's defense were blown away for most of the game, wasting best player Harold Perkins in a no man's land "position", allowing 45 points, nine 3rd down conversions (20 3rd down conversions for Jordan Travis and Co across both FSU matchups), as they surrendered nearly 500 total yards, there were three Tigers who played their hearts out and left everything on the field for 4 quarters.


Greg Brooks Jr and defensive linemen Mekhi Wingo and Bradyn Swinson all played up to the Tiger standard of performance throughout a torrential downpour from Jordan Travis and Florida St, all three players fighting In a game that lacked intensity across the board.


Brooks Jr turned out to be the only DBU Tiger to play well at all & the lone LSU defensive back to break up a pass, batting two away and ranking among the top 3 in coverage ratings, then his fantastic, slithering, heat seeking pressure on Travis forced an ill advised throw to Duce Chestnutt, the transfer from Syracuse picking off the Florida St quarterback.

Playing 67 of 68 total defensive snaps, Brooks Jr was one of only a few Tigers who stood up to be counted, giving everything and more (4 tackles, 2 PBUs, 0.5 tackle for loss, 1 pressure, 1 QB hit).


3. BRADYN SWINSON WAS LSU'S BEST PASS RUSHER


Bradyn Swinson enjoyed a bright debut for the Tigers, tacking on 5 tackles, 3 Pressures, 2 QB Hurries, 1 QB Hit, 1 TFL, while named the 2nd highest graded Tiger defender on PFF (75.3), the team's highest graded run defender (77.4), and LSU's 3rd highest graded tackler (78.0)....all from just 26 snaps.


While Ovie Oghoufo or Saivion Jones played nearly twice as many snaps as Swinson, the Oregon transfer was nearly three times as effective as either player.


2. MEKHI WINGO PLAYING LIKE AN 18


Playing like a true #18, Mekhi Wingo led by brutal example, destroying Florida State's front throughout the first half and penetrating the backfield on 11 occasions, proving to be unblockable.


Wingo is a legitimate four down lineman, showcasing his all around abilities to play anywhere along the front, disrupting protections, blowing up plays, stuffing the run, and as he displayed time and time again vs Florida State, his relentless ability to pressure the quarterback.


4 official pressures (felt more like 7 or 8) and the biggest hit of the game by any LSU Tiger:

Wingo flew into the backfield by merely brushing off Florida State's offensive lineman, before walloping Jordan Travis into the netherworld of darkness and cascading pain.


Sadly, by the end of 4 quarters, Wingo's exhaustive efforts became all for naught, as LSU were bullied and run into the ground.


Outside of what those three Tigers produced, every other defender has a lot to answer for, although Omar Speights and Jacobian Guillory produced solid snaps, even when making their own mistakes.


Wingo = 1st Round pick.


1. 1ST HALF OFFENSE

(OUTSIDE OF THE RED ZONE!!!!)


LSU's offense weren't anywhere close to resembling the high octane, freewheeling attack we'd been sold by the team, coaches and pushed by the local LSU media, however we were able to still conjure nearly the same amount of yards as Florida State, showcased a tantalizing, frustrating big play ability at times (backed by little else), and some creativity as we went down the field in the first half.



It's hard for me to even make this a positive, since it reveals LSU's complete lack of rhythm on offense, although these big plays point to a potent unit that's being dragged down by its scheme.


Mike Denbrock's under fire offense were able to carve out 4 first half drives where they chewed up over 61-75 yards, going up and down the field against Florida State's aggressive, out of sorts defense.....the Tigers even drew multiple personal foul penalties on the Seminoles during each series......and yet, despite forcing Mike Norvell's squad to lose their heads or getting beat on major plays, it didn't hurt them inside the red zone, stuffing 2 of those drives on downs and holding the Tigers to a frustrating field goal right before halftime.


In the first 30 minutes alone, Denbrock's offense produced four separate plays of 30+ yards: 2 big runs by Josh Williams & Jayden Daniels alongside two big play receptions from Tre Bradford and Kyren Lacy.


Another 21 yard catch by Nabers, a pair of 18 yard receptions from Thomas Jr (who was positive every time he received the ball Sunday night), while Mason Taylor tacked on a few 15 yard plays, only to receive just 3 total catches.


Aside from the terrible play calling inside the red zone, which cost LSU the game in large part, and the listless second half completely devoid of ideas, Mike Denbrock's offense may be a lot closer to firing on all cylinders than we think....it just looked so poorly developed and so predictable it's hard to see a way forward....unless the Tigers finally lean on their best athletes instead of filling every key position with an under-performing veteran, 7 man protections, and conservative, sackless, outdated play calling.


Jet sweeps. Pre snap movements. Jayden rolling out to throw. Offensive line in movement....pulling???

Just some ideas.


Still, as LSU were dominated for the entire second half in a game that didn't become a two score game until a few minutes into the 4th quarter, the Tigers put up 460 yards of offense, a shade under 350 through the air, creeping right over 100 at 113 on the ground, but killing their own chances on 3rd down and inside the red zone (only two 3rd down completion conversions from Daniels & just 3 conversions all game).


With some schematic & personnel tweaking, possibly even a move at QB if LSU's offense regresses even more while facing the threat of another loss, the Tigers' offense could be as fast paced and as electric as we expected.....but unless Kelly and Denbrock can cast out their conservative play calling, picking "their guys" or valuing veterans first and foremost instead of the best player available, we won't see LSU's offense reach its apex.

Somehow amongst the mayhem and following his game changing drop (although the poor underthrown pass forced him to contort and stop his momentum to a crazy degree), Brian Thomas Jr scored a 75 yard touchdown catch and scamper, recording 7 catches from 8 targets for 142 yards, 89 yards after catch, and the aforementioned touchdown, now his 8th as an LSU Tiger.


by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

TWITTER/X @LonnPhillips

©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc, a subsidiary of Uninterrupted Media LLC


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Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Sep 05, 2023

JUST FIXED SOME THINGS! Hope you refresh. The offensive section is much better.

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