BEHIND THE SCENES, UNDER THE HELMET, ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL, WE DELIVER IT ALL
LSU ODYSSEY...HOME OF CHAMPIONS
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
LSU fans have been forced to watch yet another Bama bore-fest where every crucial call happens to turn the way of the Tide, every UGA player begins to fill their pants and a venomous, mask-less, Covid-positive Nick Saban can run around like a frothing portrait of a Robo-tripping "werewolf Richard Nixon", appearing gutless before the world (somehow the Sith Lord even escaped SEC ejection after his pre-halftime stunt)...
By the way, the fact he was allowed on the sidelines was an absolute disgrace and one which should catch criticism.
Covid just gets through your system after 3 days?? Yeah right.
What about a false, illegitimate negative to make sure he was on the sidelines?
I don't care about the criticism from Covid fear warriors prepared to live inside for the next decade, I'm talking common sense people who understand the unnecessary, dangerous risk a contagious Nick Saban took on Saturday night, one which jeopardized his players, the young men he recruits, all because he couldn't cede control for one game mano e mano vs his former assistant Kirby Smart...
But hey, Tiger fans enjoyed witnessing another humiliation of Mississippi State (although their current collapse makes me hate our Week 1 debacle against Mike Leach's mutinous squad even more)...
Then things get trickier for Tiger fans who paid attention to the ultra-fluid, highly competitive SEC landscape:
Arkansas are on a war path, taking Miss State from 623 yards passing and 44 points vs LSU to 14 total points and a loss the next week, but now they've done it again.
Sam Pittman's Arkansas did what Bo Pelini or Coach Orgeron couldn't (or refused to) do in Week 1 when they brought K.J Costello back down to earth (oops there geauxs gravity); And in shutting down Kiffin's Ole Miss on Saturday night, Pittman bested Nick Saban's track meet "arena bowl" outing against his former assistant.
Jimbo's A&M also won (despite Cole Fisher tackling a female PETA protester) and will likely be a top 10 ranked unit by Monday, meaning the West looks tougher than anyone imagined, however even the few SEC East programs Orgeron's young men face all pose serious questions.
Pelini's defense must improve immediately if we're to get through Alabama's cutthroat receiving corps or Florida's Kyle Trask, let alone Kiffin's high powered Ole Miss offense, A&M's rushing attack, Arkansas' mean defense and timely, efficient offense.....OR even South Carolina's current rise.
LSU will take on Will Muschamp's confident Gamecocks at Death Valley this week: if any Tiger fans are questioning whether this matchup will be a "get right" game, I tell you to slow your damn roll on that mentality.
Missouri was a "get right" opponent we all thought, even Mississippi State were thought of as a team for LSU to flex their muscles and build confidence against as they plundered Leach's squad to dust.....and then we all know what happened next...
Well if your stomach couldn't handle the entirety of Week 1 & 3, if your heart could barely take the last 5 minutes vs Missouri, you'd better buckle up...
This will be a long season for Orgeron's Tigers...and we don't mean by wins or losses, we're talking about the fact every game left on LSU's schedule features an opponent markedly better than Missouri or Mississippi State...an ultimate test of wills and battle of the fittest.
I look at Alabama's offensive line, the amount of time they handed Mack Jones, I see the Georgia corners getting called for the tackiest of holding or PI calls, and of course, you watch those incredible NFL-ready receivers and you say to yourself "We BETTER be ready..."
Pelini's defense is undergoing a massive overhaul thanks to the extra week of preparation and the former Nebraska head coach and 49ers Super Bowl Champion will need every second to bolster is unit.
LSU could be facing as many as four shootouts or a quadruple blowout between now and the end of the season if we can't get our pass coverage figured out. Pelini also needs to identify his fastest, toughest tackling linebackers and put them on the field, no matter where they rank or their experience level (Lee, Webb or White given a chance??).
We shift from SEC defenses being horrific, SEC offenses putting on a show and why Covid has played a major role in the worst displays of tackling or sustained defensive stamina we've seen from top programs in a while.
Whether players caught Covid or not, due to the virus shutting down practices and limiting tackling drills in pre-season, highly rated defensive players have been yards late on the play too often and far too many respected defensive coordinators have been seen vexed by proceedings too many times for this summer's interruptions not to have had an effect.
It's not as if the world suddenly forgot to play or coach defense...add the most scorching offensive talent in college football everywhere you turn, the smartest offensive minds dialing up aggressive calls against tired units while new defensive coaching hires egotistically attempt to administer their complex philosophies (in vain), and you have a recipe for a defensive disaster unlike any year old school football fans have ever witnessed before.
Combined with the myriad of Covid re-schedulings that could still occur, the exact final makeup of LSU's season is still to be determined until each game kicks off in my book (considering we're playing Florida in December this year...and it's not an SEC title game folks).
All of these current developments force this controversial, ominous rumination:
Currently, Dan Mullen and Nick Saban have both tested positive, 30+ Florida players have either been infected or exposed as numerous other SEC schools battle the virus during the season...
COULD 2020's SEC Champion truly be a case of "last team standing" over "only the strong survive", or perhaps which coach has enough players to field a team???
...ahhh the carnivorous ways of 2020.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2020 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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