Well, it was something, wasn’t it? Two teams played football tonight, and the winning team was not the Huskies, which is unfortunate. At least the victors were wearing purple and a color closely resembling gold, so that’s something. Actually…it isn’t.
This season entered with a lot of renewed hope regarding the Dawgs, as a fan base is oft to do on the eve of fall. Some of which was justified, and of course, some is the blind faith of passion which will always serve to temper logic.
Tonight the Huskies were man-handled by a superior foe, a game in which many of us harbored cautious optimism regarding our chances of an upset, yours truly included. Utah State downing Utah Friday night, and the Beavers taking down the highly (and, considering last week’s affair, perhaps over-inflated) ranked Badgers only served to foster and further ingrain the sentiment of an "upset weekend."
Fear not, fellow denizens of Purple and Gold, all is not lost. 10 games remain, and there is significant room for improvement. Yes, this is a game that the Huskies were expected to lose. No, we didn’t expect to be beaten so soundly. Yes, there is still reason for much optimism regarding the overall chances of this season. No, it is not yet necessary to smoke peyote and go on a vision-quest.
There is a game next week, one which the Huskies will be very much expected to win. And guess what? There’s a game following that one, and another, and another. After watching USC today, there should be a lot of optimism regarding that particular game in Seattle. Likewise against Utah.
Pending our remaining linemen suffering catastrophic and season ending knee injuries, the 8 or 9 win season is very much still within reach. Wait, what did I say about the blind faith of passion? Disregard that. After the jump, my takeaways from tonight’s game to read or ignore at your discretion, presented with absolutely no regard to order.
- In what should be obvious to all, the dropped passes were very distressing. After holding LSU to 3 and out on their opening drive, the drops killed any chance of tagging on additional early points and putting LSU behind from the onset, negating any traction the fumbled kick-off generated. Had we scored, a 10-0 lead could have significantly altered the overall outcome (blind faith knocking…). The drops made the receivers tentative, made Keith tentative, and any hope of playing loose was out the window. This set the offensive tone for the rest of the game.
- The offensive line and the running game. Yes, we are more than a man down on the offensive line. Yes, LSU’s line is one gigantic freak of nature. We already knew these things to be true before the opening snap. Bishop, however, looked very tentative running between the tackles. Losing Kohler was simply crippling, and Criste has a LOT of work to do... Hatchie was outmanned, pure and simple. We became one-dimensional, and one-dimensional teams do not win football games. I expect next week to be very different against PortlandState, hopefully building some momentum and confidence. I was impressed with Erich Wilson. Yes, he was going against LSU’s 2nd string, and perhaps even 3rd string defense, but he hit the line of scrimmage with conviction.
- We really, REALLY miss Hau’oli Jamora…
- Penalties, penalties, penalties… This was pure and simply unacceptable. Two delay of games, roughing the passer, false starts, ect. And can someone please tell me what the heck was the defensive holding penalty on Danny Shelton??? 11, count-em, penalties for 74 yards. Me thinks there is going to be a lot of running on Monday.
- Shaq Thompson. Oh man, he narrowly missed a pick-6 late in the 3rd quarter after jumping the route. Unfortunately, that miss led to a large gain for LSU. I expect with more seasoning Shaq is going to turn a lot of those into defensive points.
- Play-calling. Yes, the first 25 plays are scripted. I think many of you feel that they were scripted poorly and I’d be inclined to agree. In what seemed like a very vanilla play-calling effort against SDST, this didn’t appear much better. No, we didn’t have a running game which does limit what plays can set up others, but the expectation was for an overall larger offensive offering.
- Injuries…..again. Kohler hopefully will have a fast recovery. Pure conjecture, but it appeared that his knee-cap popped once again. On the sideline, he didn’t seem to be in pain, was standing, and was largely unattended by the training staff, so the injury doesn’t seem too bad at this point. We’ll have to wait until Monday to hear the official verdict from Sark. Kevin Smith grabbing his leg while down on the turf was extremely distressing, but after a brief recovery popped up and jogged off the field under his own power. Likewise about waiting to hear from Sark on Monday.
What am I missing? Insert your reflections below, and, of course, go Dawgs.