TELL THE TRUTH MONDAY: LSU VS MCNEESE STATE HARSH REALITIES FROM SATURDAY NIGHT'S "ORGERON BOWL" WIN
Updated: Sep 19, 2021
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
After a lukewarm 34-7 performance vs McNeese State, LSU notched their first win of the season during their home opener.
But while the positive vibes came mostly from the defense's 8 sacks (led by Maason Smith's 3), 16 tackles for loss and Jaquelin Roy's strip & recovery on defense, the team were poor on offense, failed consistently on 3rd down, our receivers dropped 8 total passes (could be even more, but we won't count the couple that McNeese St DBs were able to jar loose), our leading receiver (freshman Jack Bech) hauled in 57 yards while our top rusher (freshman Corey Kiner) gained just 56, our offensive line still allowed QB Max Johnson to get hit on countless occasions, and our defense gave up on their shutout (LSU up 34-0) with only four minutes left against a far inferior opponent....a rare opportunity for history in 2021 college football....
It wasn't a moment for the Tigers to flex, it wasn't a chance to gain confidence....in fact, despite the par for course cake-walk victory, LSU's rollercoaster 2021 team keep us asking even more questions:
1. GIVE KAYSHON BOUTTE THE F***IN BALL!!!!
Receiving less than 10 Targets yet again, LSU WR Kayshon Boutte was limited to his lowest yards output since the early part of his freshman year:
Held to 31 yards from just 5 touches, Boutte only received the ball sparingly, including one creative set: a single jet sweep opportunity which went for 6 yards.
Kayshon did have three other chances to catch the football, one a 10 yard first down snag where he sloppily couldn't maintain possession (after review), another a long pass down the sideline where a McNeese St DB jostled the ball away too easily....a mixed, frustrating evening for the sophomore, and yet he still hauled in 2 touchdowns!
His pair of TDs give Boutte 5 on the season thus far, tied for the Division I lead for overall TDs.
Despite his underwhelming night, Boutte's 2 TD outing continues a now 3 game streak of multiple scores, dating back to last year's record breaking Ole Miss bout, as well as a 4 game streak nabbing a touchdown (stretching back to the Florida game). However, the 31 yard performance did snap a 4 game streak of 100+ yard displays.
Regardless of everything statistically, LSU simply aren't featuring their best playmaker even half as much as they should be.
Given his yards after catch abilities, Boutte should be receiving 15 Targets at a minimum per game, especially considering the range of talent at WR....not as much as we thought heading into the year.
Get him the damn ball....however you have to do it, I don't care: jet sweeps, screens, slants, crossing routes, the deep ball, I don't care....they can't cover him, they can't stop him, when he's at his best on the field and the Tigers are able to find him with impunity, LSU usually win the game.
Get "the Bouttnikoff" the ball!!!
2. & 3. WHERE IS MIKE JONES JR GOING TO PLAY? WHY IS HE ON THE BENCH? & WHY IS DAMONE CLARK STILL STARTING?
Nearly two games into his LSU career, Clemson transfer Mike Jones Jr finally made an appearance late during the Tigers' second half...which begs the question....
Following all the effort from our staff regarding his pursuit, from LSU Odyssey breaking the story of his transfer, and after hearing about how good he was for our defense, how much value he was bringing to the table, how excited Daronte Jones was to play him at middle linebacker, and yet....#19 didn't even receive a snap vs UCLA, a game we could've used him (Safety Cam Lewis suffered the same fate). What's going on with Mike Jones Jr?
More like: what's going on with the coaching staff's treatment towards their new transfer?
Why is LBs Coach Blake Baker willing to cast his lot at the feet of Damone Clark over Mike Jones Jr?
Once again leading the Tigers in tackles, Damone sure can rack up the stats, but his lack of ability in coverage over the middle is frightening, just as bad as his run support....often being found out in gap control assignments, chasing ball-carriers 30-40 yards down field for another tackle.
Mike Jones Jr offers the Tigers some intriguing possibilities, with cover speed, expansive tracking range, and smart anticipation, the former Clemson man stuffed some runs and showed off his prowess as a side to side linebacker.
But we have no idea how strong Jones Jr will be in coverage....is he going to be rusty, now? Are LSU being ridiculous shoving their new transfer on the bench, hoping for Damone Clark's deceiving stat-lines to save the day?
What are we doing with Jones Jr?
Is he part of the players suspended for UCLA, which we posted about in our subscribers only section???
That could be the case...although what a harsh punishment...nearly two games of suspension....
All I have to say: LSU's Blake Baker better figure out his linebackers fast, especially if Jones Jr deserves to be among the core 3 or 4 rotation......and I believe, when you look at Damone Clark's performances, the hot or cold results of Micah Baskerville thus far, the inexperience of Navonteque Strong (though he's been solid), the absence of Jared Small & Josh White, I feel Daronte Jones & Blake Baker must place trust in Jones Jr, especially heading into a game vs Central Michigan....a night where, if we're lucky, the Tigers' defensive staff can try valuable experiments with personnel & formations.
4. WHAT THE LONG INJURY LIST SAYS ABOUT THE TIGERS:
Before the game, I had the unenviable task of trying to count up all the missing Tigers, hoping I didn't forget or miss any....and of course, more and more kept popping out of the cupboards, trees and nearby woods:
Myles Brennan, Todd Harris, Jay Ward, Ali Gaye, Soni Fonua, Glen Logan, Cam Wire, Garrett Dellinger (warm-ups strain), Chasen Hines, Anthony Bradford, Austin Deculus, Malik Nabers, Sage Ryan, Chris Hilton Jr, Matthew Langlois, Thomas Perry, John Emery Jr (out for the season due to ineligibility), Tre Bradford (ineligible, just transferred back), Josh White (arm in a sling), Jontre Kirklin, Jarell Cherry....is that all???
What a scary long list...and I can tell you this already:
Some of these guys weren't absent from mere injuries, there were suspensions involved the week before the UCLA game, too, creating an air of paranoia around the locker room...players walking on eggshells....
Outside of staff favorites like Damone Clark, Andre Anthony, Jaray Jenkins & Austin Deculus, I see LSU Tigers who are too afraid to make a mistake that they become incapable of making a big play...they don't play as relentless or as extreme as they could because they understand, under Coach O, one mistake and you're pulled for the game....one little detail his eye test doesn't approve of, and you're out...and you'll probably be watching for the rest of the game....there's never a second chance, no redemption...
It's because of Orgeron's self-belief that LSU won a National title in 2019 with the greatest team of all time, it's because of coaches such as Mickey Joseph or Corey Raymond that LSU are able to reload their talent cache.....but these coaches are failing their squad....giving talented specimen only a few reps every other game, if that: how are you supposed to ever identify LSU's spectrum of talent?
How could you even begin to find favorable match-ups when Peetz, Mangas, Jones, Baker or Carter can't remain patient enough to discover these gems???
For the second time since 2019, LSU were able to field entire second teams on both offense & defense, but how much did the Tigers discover about their team's depth?
Against McNeese State, I believe the Tigers found out how little they have on the OL, how much better their DL can be when they don't have to stop the run, how recklessly inconsistent their LB unit still is under Blake Baker......I think they're liking Garrett Nussmeier as the backup QB, Goodwin & Kiner as strong backups at RB......but as for our embattled OL, disappointing receiving corps, beat up & beleaguered safety unit, lukewarm linebackers, & (thus far) fearful veterans, we were left with more questions than actual answers.
5. ED INGRAM IS HAVING A BAD SEASON
LSU's most integral player on the OL is Ed Ingram, and without Ingram's presence, the Tigers' OL has been despicable...
While many would jump me and shout "but Ed isn't injured! He was out there!" I would say yes, that's true he was out there...but is he really out there?
I count 5 instances where Ingram failed to block anyone, the second straight game where this bizarre incident returned to the fore; Looking confused and out of sorts, each time Ingram would turn around to watch the play bypass him, opponents smashing his starting quarterback to the ground.
What is going on???
Why is Ed playing with such a lack of confidence....why is he so unsure of himself?
Why is Ed confessing to the media that the "OL is tired & out of shape" after only a single game to begin the campaign....unless....they are?? Is this how bad former OL Coach James Cregg screwed us over?
After new OL Coach Brad Davis' June arrival, Cregg's absence has somehow caused our veterans to become psychologically depleted, physically exhausted & beat up as well as spiritually spent....
I thought Brad Davis would energize our OL, not the other way around....that speaks to a prior culture that was afraid of ambition, aggression & evolution....Cregg's recruiting losses in 2019 & 2020 point to that heavily.
Instead of Cregg's current ongoing lawsuit against Louisiana State University, should LSU actually be the ones suing James Cregg, for being a disappointing, lackadaisical OL coach when it comes to recruiting & development?
LSU need Left Guard Ed Ingram back to his best for the next 10 games or his final season at Death Valley could see the team finish with a record of 7 wins or less, all while his NFL stock plummets.
-DT JOE EVANS IS A RUNNING GAME LIABILITY
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FROM SATURDAY NIGHT
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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