Updated: Oct 1, 2020
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
@LonnPhillips LSU's crown as the best team in America hasn't just slipped...it's fallen off and shattered into a million pieces after Saturday...but does it mean their season is already over? We were stunned on Saturday, frozen in dismay as Tiger fans...many were shaken with disbelief, fingers were pointed, criticism is being bandied about...some loons had the gaul to ask for Coach Orgeron's ouster, most are calling for the benching of Brennan, mocking LSU's DBU moniker and the amount of players who've left the program during the last few months... We told you all: the entirety of college football were salivating for our defeat...these savage brutes were chomping at the bit for Orgeron's guys to fall flat on their face....but nobody expected LSU to choke on opening weekend at home against Mississippi State. Our coaches were told they were the best in the sport, that they should all be head coaches somewhere, they could all coach in the NFL on the daily, etc....maybe hearing how golden and amazing their farts smelled made a few of these coaches seriously believe their every decision would generate success....because some of what happened out there on Saturday made little, if any sense.
Our players were hyped in the media by our head coach and his staff followed suit, leaving me perpetually wondering in the back of my mind "are they over-compensating....did they need to compare every guy to LSU legends of the past ad nauseum?" Of course it made us all rabid with excitement...yet Saturday's comedown machine was on maximum overload when all was said and done. As horrible as the loss is and will always be for LSU's players, coaches, fans and community to accept, it happened....that smelly, stinky shit will go down the drain...it may take a while, we're having to force it through, but it's nearly flushed.... Now LSU have 9 games left...if they win all 9 games, LSU will be defending their SEC Championship in Atlanta...but we won't get ahead of ourselves...we'll just leave a victory over Vanderbilt as the primary goal, however unlikely 2020 LSU's ascendancy may seem at this point. Below we ask the questions: DOES THIS TEAM HAVE AN IDENTITY? WHAT ARE WE TRULY MADE OF? WHO ARE OUR REAL LEADERS? WERE OUR PLAYERS READY TO START THE SEASON?
LSU's DBs were DBUsed on Saturday for 623 yards and 5 TDs...Corey Ramond and Bill Busch cannot ever allow that to happen again, no matter the circumstances. Yes, Cordale Flott, Jay Ward, Todd Harris and Eli Ricks fought back at times, only to get continually beaten in one on one coverage right off the line...blown away within a second of the snap....LSU practices using only man or press coverage...how this happened is insane to me. Regarding DBU, LSU's Standard of Performance was not upheld; only Eli Ricks' birthday performance of 4 tackles, 1 PD and 1 jaw-dropping, nearly game-changing INT passed the smell test...and even Ricks was harshly welcomed to the SEC on a few long routes. The Freshman showed up and proved his future is glittering in purple and gold magic. We can make excuses for the rest, there are plenty: CB Jay Ward just had surgery weeks ago on a torn meniscus and led the team in passes defended (3 tied with Ali Gaye), yet his lack of stamina was abundant when getting burned on big plays....how another healthier option wasn't chosen was madness to me. We actually NEED Jay Ward to be healthy in November most of all, and here we were throwing him out there and it was costing Ward's just-surgically repaired injury AND his team...against his control. Corey Raymond should've never played Jay Ward more than 20 snaps and definitely not without a rotation: whether intentionally or not, he hung #5 out to dry by failing to recognize Ward's current limitations due to his injury. Free Safety Todd Harris may have been medically cleared to play, making his first appearance after 1 year and 12 days, but Todd featured far too often, missing an easy tackle on Kylin Hill's wheel route touchdown; all Harris needed to do was push Hill out of bounds, and since he possessed the head start to master the angle, we're wondering why he still missed and I think I know the answer. I'm not saying this to dog on our guys...trust me, there's a larger point. After what happened to Derek Stingley the night before, our players weren't ready to go. Our guys were still stuck in the feverdream of 2019, believing their reputation, talent and abundant skill would save our ass and see us through Mississippi State's trio of 100 yard receivers....only Jacoby Stevens and Eli Ricks truly shined.
Let's be honest with each other, whether you wanted LSU to lose or not: IF Derek Stingley plays vs Mississippi State, he shackles Osirus Mitchell... With Derek removing Mitchell's influence, Stingley's impact (conservatively) removes at least 100 yards and 2 TDs from Mitchell's 185 yards and 2 TD stat line (he's not scoring on Stingley); then, with #24 on the field, CBs Coach Corey Raymond can deploy Flott at the boundary instead of in the slot (Cordale was preparing the last two months as the boundary corner...although we heard he could play both nickel and corner, we found out the truth about that boast on Saturday).... Stingley's presence would've at least settled Cordale Flott as well as provided eternal confidence to the rest of the secondary, #24's untouchable man on man coverage granting Stevens and others the freedom to move around and make big plays; sure, Flott may have allowed 2 TDs anyway alongside Stingley, although he wouldn't have been lit up all over the field so horrifically if he'd played on the outside rather than the slot. Also, if both Stingley and Flott are at each cornerback spot, Stingley's presence removes Costello's nearly 400 yard day on #26 Darren Evans and Jay Ward combined.
If Derek is healthy and didn't suffer such a dangerous "allergic reaction / acute illness" as LSU have been calling it, then Darren Evans doesn't even take the field...Jay Ward would've been used more appropriately (sparingly, since he just had a surgery only a few weeks ago)... But what I'm shocked by is the choices by CBs Coach Corey Raymond and Safeties Coach Bill Busch: they knew guys were hurt and it's week 1 and they played them anyway...that's not only a danger and irresponsibility towards the player but also the team too! Without Derek Stingley, their first choices were Jay Ward and Cordale Flott as slot guys and transfer corner Darren Evans isolated in man on man coverage on the outside vs SEC receivers, Eli Ricks making a few mistakes but mostly holding his own on Stingley's usual side....they got it wrong...Evans should've been placed in the slot if anywhere. Raymond actually had better options in the tank over Evans or Ward: sophomore Raydarious Jones should've been trusted more than Darren Evans or a completely hampered Jay Ward....even freshman Dwight McGlothern has the pace, ball skills and range which would've been tailor-made to face the air raid offense.
McGlothern, a 4 Star (should be 5 Star) DB and WR hybrid should've been given a chance....his inclusion couldn't have hurt, considering LSU had already surrendered 294 passing yards in the first half.... Raydarious Jones featured plenty during the 2019 campaign, and though he was beaten on a few throws vs Florida and Ole Miss, he received far more SEC reps than Darren Evans...unless Jones was hurt or ailing, he should've been out there (nowhere is Jones listed among our injured players). Also....I know football is a violent game, but common sense approaches must be adhered to when utilizing injured players....with this in mind, I must save my final skewering from DBU for our safeties coach, a guy I really like a lot and witnessed his greatness first hand in my home state of Utah, once with Urban Meyer at U of U and then at my mother's alma mater Utah State...regardless, after Saturday I have a bone to pick with Bill Busch:
If Safeties Coach Bill Busch thought rolling Todd Harris out there as more-or-less a starter was a good idea, then maybe we need to re-think most of our priorities and strategies. Busch had 6'1 223 pound Jordan Toles looking to decapitate an opponent and he wasn't even utilized for a single play....what about Cam Lewis, a strong safety who also has above-average coverage skills for a strong safety??? Zaven Fountain, the freshman out of Marrero??? A performance of such decrepitude can't happen again....Once Derek is medically cleared, everyone will see just how important the young man is to LSU's success. Believe me....today was the longest and hardest Tell The Truth Monday in DBU's history, for players and coaches....let's hope Saturday STAYS DBU's most nightmarish hour. -STOP PLAYING INJURED GUYS -RECOGNIZE THE BOUNTIFUL OPTIONS IN OUR DB DEPTH AND USE THEM... WHY NOT MCGLOTHERN, RAYDARIOUS JONES OR JORDAN TOLES? -GET DEREK BACK DON'T GIVE UP ON MYLES BRENNAN JUST YET
He's showing the flashes we let Joe Burrow develop in 2018...
But since we witnessed 2019.. we want Brennan to deliver that now....
Moving on, we analyze Myles Brennan and where he went wrong on Saturday, if he deserves the extreme criticism and more: First off, Brennan is NOT as far off as many feel in the wake of LSU's 44-34 humiliation at Death Valley....to prove this, we're going to show the positives, even when mired in the murky mists of Saturday's shittiness: Brennan's performance vs Mississippi State ran the entire gamut of a quarterback's many highs and lows... the entire kitchen sink, including the good, very bad, lukewarm, downright shitty and he also supplied some fantastic moments of effortless quarterbacking prowess (Marshall's two TDs and all 5 receptions from Jaray Jenkins). While LSU's defensive backs seemed to give up 3rd downs like they were Skittles, Myles Brennan produced only three less 3rd down conversions than Mississippi State's quarterback (5/17 for Brennan while Costello finished 8/16, Ensminger's offense converting 25 first downs to Costello's 24...).
Then you dig deeper: of those 3rd down attempts, Costello was 5-9 when throwing on 3rd and 9 or longer while Myles Brennan faltered 0-5 from 3rd and long attempts....a damning statistic which shows how frivolous stats can be in football. During the 3rd quarter where #15 began to orchestrate the offense, on occasion Brennan evaded pressure with a few really good moves, proving he isn't the "statue" many are calling him (TONY!!!😂). He wasn't 2019 Joe Burrow, duh, but he looked far more mobile than many will admit....
Although if Myles wants to win games, the key isn't purely being mobile, the kicker will always be what your mobility allows you to do. Brennan's feet helped him stem the tide, sure, but after Myles did all the hard work of navigating himself through collapsing pockets and hulking bodies, he'd ruin it all by "making" a non-decision: either a sack, a non-commital throw into traffic or he'd pump the ball towards the sideline...sometimes playing for field goals...(34-31 in the red zone for instance)... Play-calling wasn't at fault on Saturday: Sure, LSU abandoned the running game far too soon, we needed to put more guys in pre-snap motion, we failed to spread out Miss State's secondary, we ignored Arik Gilbert as well as Kayshon Boutte, and finally Myles was incapable of attacking / exploiting the open spaces our offensive design creates all over the field.... Ensminger was dialing up the right plays throughout the second half, Myles dropping dimes to Terrace Marshall x2, McMath for 28 yards and a 45 yard bomb down the middle to Jaray Jenkins, tossing 2 TDs during the 3rd quarter... Still, Myles ignored a wide open Jenkins and Terrace Marshall on numerous easy plays, all quick pitch and catch throws on out patterns or open looks regardless of the route; During one second half desperation, Brennan hurled an uncatchable ball towards a triple-covered target as a wide open Terrace Marshall stood five feet away, flailing his hands in anger as the ball sailed away incomplete).
Marshall was rightfully agitated by the lack of timing and understanding between himself and his quarterback, yet he also let Myles down, too. Quitting on 3 of LSU's 8 total dropped passes, including a pair of first downs and another pass inside the 2 yard line doesn't give you much lee-way in the locker room when preparing to criticize your quarterback...luckily, like a true teammate, Terrace Marshall hasn't publicly criticized anyone...least of all Brennan. Again, Myles made things difficult on himself when mis-timing his throws into coverage, almost seriously injuring Kayshon Boutte on the freshman's only duo of targets (the poor timing of the route and slow trajectory of Brennan's passes combined and ultra-talented Kayshon paid the price each time, literally being thrown into rampant hits). Everything said, we feel things will go two ways: Either Brennan will give into what the fans, the media, our rivals etc think and play with an uptight anxiety, a wanton carelessness as his wide-eyed glares advertise his notable fear....and our 2020 Tigers will continue this sad collapse....OR Myles will work on his mistakes and improve, leading LSU to victory.... Those are his two choices...a third option takes Myles from junior leader of a defending national championship team and sits his ass back down on the bench...so, with this drama, I'm going to say one thing directly to Myles Brennan right here, right now:
The last thing you wanna hear are the words "Joe Burrow" but I'm going to say it, Myles: Just like Joe Burrow following the 2018 season and heading into his 2019 preparations, Joe understood the realities of his situation: If he didn't drastically improve or take his game to the next level, he wasn't going to play a down in the NFL. The same can definitely be said for Myles Brennan at this juncture... Myles, if playing on Sundays is your dream, you MUST deliver as soon as possible or your highly coveted starting quarterback gig at LSU (as well as the NFL) will be gone...if it won't be for 2020 due to Johnson or FInley's inexperience, your starting grasp on the job for 2021 will be gone under the pressure of Garrett Nussmeier....
Please, Myles...humble thyself and call Joe, ask him for tips, advice...and whatever he tells you, listen. We are rooting for you, Myles, but we realize this was only one game and LSU can still accomplish their goals, as long we can remain unblemished from here on out.
LSU can't be losing 40-30 to Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M etc LET ALONE LOSING 44-34 AT HOME AT THE HANDS OF MISSISSIPPI STATE...that just cannot happen...it's far below the LSU Standard of Performance...Coach Ed Orgeron himself was below the LSU Standard of Performance as a coach, lacking energy and intensity, completely unable to motivate any of our players; outside of Jacoby Stevens' incredble #7 debut, Jabril Cox and Damone Clark's brilliance at LB, or Eli Ricks' interception, none of our players were ready to take control on the big stage. Our defensive front were athletic and created havoc in Costello's backfield, nearly forcing 6 or 7 turnovers and coralling 4....but as we blitzed with reckless abandon, Costello sliced and diced us by using only a few different route combinations from Mike Leach's napkin playbook....that was all it took to render a backup DBU faceless...it was horrifying for fans, although these postgame realiities are far worse for our players. This squad is now taking on far more doubt and ceremonial punishment than 2019 LSU could've ever fathomed:
In 2019, LSU fans never experienced a truly transcendental, iconic quarterback until Joe Burrow, they'd only seen serviceable caretakers dragging the offense over the line....and that pre-Burrow list includes Myles Brennan as the final name of that maligned Cameron/Canada era....Now, he's also cast as the first QB of the post-Burrow era, the "era that could never compare, even with a championship"......due to this interrupted trajectory, those inside the program feel protective of Myles....but they never begged to ask "why?"....
Brennan was told he was the next great hope at LSU back in 2016, joining the Tigers as a highly sought after record-setting quarterback talent from Mississippi...he was told 2018-19 would be "his time".....however, Ensminger and Orgeron dipped into the transfer portal and grabbed Joe Burrow...now, 2020-21 will be "his time" we've been told once again.... My eternal question: WHY did Orgeron and Ensminger go out and desperately get Joe Burrow in Spring 2018? What did they see in Brennan that made them realize "he wasn't ready"??? In 2020, if LSU succumb to another defeat before facing Alabama, we'll revise and ask a new question altogether: "What did they see this off-season which tricked them into thinking he was ready?" He's never been given the proper confidence or establishment to be great until this off-season; leading up to the Mississippi State loss, Ensminger and Orgeron overplayed their hand, miscalculating their approach due to Burrow's greatness....they couldn't say the next guy "was shit" or anything less than a Heisman candidate right??? Yeah, but saying he can "pass better than Joe Burrow" & "has a better arm than Joe Burrow" wasn't a wise move either...what made the 2019 team so much fun was how confident they were but also how quietly they seemed to work...you could barely get a peep out of the team, staff or find any new info worthy of publication...it was all pure speculation from even the best LSU writers...and all of them were wrong....
2020 has been LSU's flexing show and if you're gonna flex at the party, you better be prepared to start the brawl when someone splashes a beer in your face. It's fighting time Tigers....fight! LSU ODYSSEY FIGHTS WITH YOU! What is our identity? Where is our soul??? Where is our ironclad mentality? WHERE IS OUR CHAMPIONSHIP EDGE?
We believe this team can take us close to the same heights as 2019, meaning contending for the SEC and a National Championship, winning, dominating, playing with heart and intensity...We feel this group can be successful...whether they will or not is up to them...if they weren't able to figure this out, 2020 LSU would go down as one of the top 2 or 3 most disappointing LSU squads. Over the next few weeks leading up to D-day time vs Florida, Auburn and Alabama, we're about to find out exactly what they're made of...
#BLACKLIVESMATTER #BLACKWOMENMATTER #TIGERSUNITED #GEAUXTIGERS by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN @LonnPhillips Copyright 2020 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC SHOUTOUTS: NurseKort! She was at the game on Saturday and saw first-hand what went down during the 44-34 bloodbath, salute @nursekort for being an amazing Nurse and hero for our Covid and hurricane victims out there!!! Salute her!