A sneak peak at LSU
This is not the time to be playing an LSU
Malamute, 18 May 2009
While it's too early to do a
side-by-side comparison of Washington's first-game opponent, LSU, I
thought I'd take a quick peak at its statistics from last year and
examine its prognosis for this upcoming season.
LSU finished 8-5 last
season, 3-5 in the SEC, and mauled Georgia Tech 38-3 in the Chick-fil-A
LSU returns 13 starters, 7
on offense and 6 on defense, with no specialists.
Led by head coach Les Miles
(70-32 overall; 42-11 at LSU), the Tigers won the BCS
championship in 2007, that is, the MYTHICAL national championship -- not
a real one. Table 1. Returning offensive starters
Table 2. Returning Defensive Starters
Over at ESPN.com,
Mark Schlabach predicts a 12th place finish for the Tigers this
Prognosis: He writes, "What
was more stunning last season? Watching LSU's once-ferocious defense
allow 134 points combined in losses to Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss or
watching the Tigers completely dismantle Georgia Tech 38-3 in the Chick-fil-A
Bowl? The Tigers were plagued by poor quarterback play and a
surprisingly porous defense during their national title defense last
season. Coach Les Miles hired former Tennessee defensive coordinator
John Chavis to shore up the defense, and the Tigers responded with more
aggressive play during spring practice. Sophomore
Jordan Jefferson, who started the final two games at quarterback
last season, showed more consistency during the spring. Tailback
Charles Scott and receiver
Brandon LaFell are proven playmakers, and the offensive line should
be pretty solid. The defensive line must be rebuilt, but end Rahim Alem
and tackle Drake Nevis looked like solid players during the spring."
Warning: Husky fans, please don't pin your hopes for an
upset based on the Tigers' unimpressive statistics from last season (see
Spring: Five signees from the 2009 class matriculated at LSU
and joined spring practice. Scout.com ranks that class third
in the nation and lists five 5-star and nine 4-star recruits among them.
During the spring game played in April, the White squad, made up of
first and third-stringers, secured a 27-0 win over the Purple squad. RB
Charles Scott led all players with 70 yards rushing and a pair of TDs,
while QB Jordan Jefferson connected on 8-of-10 passes for 97 yards.
The senior Scott is scary at 5-11, 233 pounds, for he
can run between the tackles or take it to the edge. Last
season, he rushed 217 times for 1174 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging
5.4 yards per carry.
Playing in 7 games, Jefferson completed 36 of 73
passes for 282 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 pick. He posted a passing
efficiency rating of 112.9.
The other quarterback, Jarrett Lee played in 11 games
in 2008, completing 143 out of 269 passes for 1873 yards. Though
touchdown passes, he had 16 passes picked off. The Tigers finished 67th
in the nation in turnover margin last season and finished 80th in pass
Path to the BCS championship: LSU is one of
those SEC juggernauts that plays a soft out-of-conference schedule and a limited conference schedule (8
teams out of a possible 11). Last season, the Tigers drew over 90,000 fans at home for each of
its victories over Appalachian State, North Texas, Troy and Tulane.
Before colliding in the 2007 BCS title game, Ohio
State and LSU between them had dispatched the likes of
Youngstown State, Akron, Washington, Kent, Middle Tennessee State,
Tulane, and Louisiana Tech.
It's no wonder the Tigers are recklessly venturing to a place located west of
the Rockies for their opening game in 2009, this meeting against a team that
went 0-12 on last season. The Huskies were in a tailspin when this game
The only time LSU has played Washington was in 1983,
in a game the Tigers won, 40-14, at Baton Rouge. UW athletics director
Scott Woodward remembers attending the game as a student at LSU.
See Steve Kelley's take on Woodward, "Unexpected
path is right one for UW." Also, note that Woodward is pictured
Cutting teeth: Playing LSU at this time in Steve Sarkisian's
head-coaching infancy is not the right path for UW to take, in fact it's
part of a ruinous path that includes a game at South Bend with Notre Dame. The Huskies should be playing an Appalachian State
in its first game, with my apologies to its fine coach Jerry Moore, along with an 8-game Pac-10 schedule instead of the
round-robin format. Just my opinion.
Risk/Reward: The nationally televised game will be a money-maker
for Washington, with most likely a full house in attendance. Down the
line it could be part of another abysmal season that hurts recruiting.
Of course, if UW wins...
Hope and ifs: Based on some number crunching
I did, I expect UW quarterback Jake Locker to have a good day throwing
against the "Baton Rouge Bayous," posting a PE of 120 or more. The other
"Ifs" are left to the reader.
Table 3. LSU
statistics from the 2008 season -- these are
unimpressive stats considering the four patsies on its schedule, but
Washington's stats are far worse. Don't pin your hopes
on these numbers, Husky fans.
Time of Possession:
2. BLOCKING AND
Passing Offense: 201.31
Rushing Defense: 110.15
Passing Defense: 215.38
Pass Efficiency Defense:
Pass Efficiency Offense:
Total Offense: 368.08
Total Defense: 325.54
Turnover Margin: -.08
4. FIELD POSITION
Kickoff Returns: 19.50
Punt Returns: 12.26
Punting (Net Per Punt):
5. SCOREBOARD BABY:
Points For: 30.92 (30th)
Points Against: 24.15