clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Q&A with And The Valley Shook

As has been our tradition at A Sea of Blue this year, we are swapping questions with the fan blogs of our opponents each week.  So far, we have had outstanding questions and answers from our participating blog friends, and this week is no exception.  Rohan (aka GeauxTigers) at our brother SB Nation blog And The Valley Shook has kindly participated, for which we are very thankful.

Perhaps the biggest concern of the Wildcats this week is a repeat of the ugly blowout inflicted upon us by the Tigers in Death Valley.  Even though UK got on quite a roll after that game, the memory of it is still unpleasant.  Fortunately, we have a better team this year, and so does LSU, at least defensively.  It's hard to argue that their offense is as potent without JaMarcus Russell as with him.

Anyway, here is our interview with Ro.  Please also check out the answers I gave to his questions, they are here.

  1. Perhaps the most famous LSU team was known as the "Chinese Bandits", and they were famous for their defense.  Do you think this team is the modern version of the Bandits?

    A quick clarification: actually the defense on those 1958 and 1959 teams was known as the Chinese Bandits, not the whole team. And yes, this unit measures up quite well, though we may have seen some chinks in the armor last week with Florida (and actually a little bit the week before that against Tulane) so the jury’s still out. That said, a number of stats were bandied about after our first few games, declaring that no LSU team had accomplished various feats (be it yards per game, points per game, etc.) since those very Chinese Bandits. This year’s unit is at least the best since then (including our 2003 National Championship defense); whether they’re actually a step above remains to be seen.

  2. Last year, LSU vivisected the Wildcats in Death Valley 49-0, André Woodson and all.  Do you think LSU will fare equally well in Commonwealth Stadium?

    Definitely not. First of all it’s not at home. Secondly, it seems to me that as good as he was last year, Andre’ Woodson has gotten much better this year. I’m sure he’s stinging after his mistakes last week, and will come out completely fired up to atone for that this week against what’s still the #1 defense in the country.

  3. Speaking of last year, LSU held Kentucky to 12 yards rushing the football.  Kentucky now sports the 17th best rushing offense in the country, and the Tigers the 4th best rushing defense.  Something has to give, so how do you see it?

    That’s probably the biggest question of the game, isn’t it? The simple fact that you guys have such an effective running game to counterbalance Woodson’s passing ability makes it a daunting task for our defensive coordinator, Bo Pelini. Florida moved the ball on the ground effectively against us, and I’m not sure why they gave up on it late in the 2nd half. So I’m very curious to see if the defense just had its hands full with a supremely talented opponent, or if it’s truly breaking down a bit. Keep in mind Tulane didn’t have a whole lot of trouble moving the ball against us in the first half two weeks ago. I’m keeping the fingers crossed and assuming the former, but given that you guys are no slouches on that side of the ball, I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys were able to mount some success with the run. We’ll be maniacally focused on not letting Woodson pass the ball downfield. I’m expecting some creative playcalling from the UK staff this week. Ought to be exciting.

  4. LSU just won an extremely competitive game at home where the Gators had the Tigers down for most of the game, and outplayed them in the first half.  Do you think that the drama and effort required to pull out that game will have a negative impact on LSU in this game?

    Absolutely, yes. There’s always the "letdown" factor after an emotional win like that. The Tigers are riding on an all time high at this point – amazing win, #1 ranking sustained another week – but everyone’s battered and bruised. After the huge Florida win at home in 1997, we vaulted up to a Top 10 ranking and immediately went out and fell flat in a loss to Ole Miss the following week. I just see no way we get up and run away with this one.

  5. Kentucky has traditionally been an easy win for the Bayou Bengals, and given their lofty ranking and Kentucky's self-destruction against South Carolina, do you think LSU will take the Cats lightly?

    No. Thankfully, the ‘Cats have been in the news all year long as one of the surprise teams. Until last week at least, everything appeared to be clicking for UK, and it looks like you’ll be one of the best (if not THE best) offenses we face all year. So this Kentucky team is no secret any longer. That said, you may note that we host Auburn next week. Lately, nearly every year that game has determined the SEC West Champion (last year being a notable exception). After their slow start, Auburn suddenly looks like a bunch of world-beaters. While I think there’s a chance we get caught looking ahead to that game, I’m glad the Cats are carrying that #17 ranking so we keep in mind that we’re in for a battle every single week.

  6. Early Doucet has been one of the few threats LSU has had through the air this year.  He is listed as questionable for Saturday with a groin injury.  Do you think he'll play?  How effective can he be if he does?

    I don’t think he’ll play. It’s been a month since he last took the field, and those groin injuries are pretty rough. If there’s even a remote question about his availability, I think we sit him till Auburn and risk the potential loss here so that we have him down the stretch. The way this college fooball season is progressing, it seems likely that a one-loss team will make it to the BCS Title game. I’d much rather have the loss be to an SEC East team, and now, rather than playing Doucet too early and risk losing him for the year if he aggravates it.

    On that note, It’s interesting that very few people are noting Doucet’s absence in our win over Florida. Our passing game is crippled without him, as we’re relying on a bunch of inexperienced young wideouts to catch the ball and run the right routes. Even when they do all the right things, there’s been decent odds on Flynn overthrowing them downfield anyway. So in that vein, Florida KNEW what was coming with our running game, and we still rolled up 250 on the ground against them. I just love that.

  7. Glenn Dorsey is a beast, and we know it.  Florida managed to contain him for 3 periods last week.  Can any line keep this guy out of the backfield?

    Probably not, at least not without opening something up on the other side. When we needed him the most towards the end, he came through really well. I think he’s probably pretty miffed that he was contained even for those first 40 minutes, so he’ll come out blazing this week.

  8. We have figured out why Jacob Hester is so strong and efficient -- he doesn't really exist.  You guys have built a cyborg and named it "Jacob Hester", and the real Jacob Hester is the geek who designed it.  Isn't that some kind of NCAA violation?

    It seems that way, right? How can a guy who listens to Elvis to pump himself up actually be a football player? I’d think he’d be the president of the chess team. Anyway, the last couple years, pretty much everyone’s mantra has been "I love Jacob Hester, but for God’s sake give the home-run hitters the ball more!" Miles & Co. have rarely let any of our backs log double-digit carries, and our running game was a problem in tight situations last year. So we knew little about which of our back could serve as such a go-to-guy in a close game. Last week proved that Hester absolutely has what it takes, and I’m never complaining about our eleventy-billion-man running back platoon again. Well, not never. But it’s good to know that we have someone we can trust to grind out the tough yards in one of the more intense games we’ve all ever seen. No question Jacob Hester is going down as one of the greatest Tigers of all time. (To be sure, he was high up on the "all time favorites" list at least before last week, though he never had the high profile plays or stats like he did against Florida.)

  9. Les Miles has created a lot of headlines with his mouth rather than his coaching, and there are now rumors that Michigan will be coming hard after him in the off season.  How do LSU fans feel about Miles, and how hard will LSU fight to keep him in Baton Rouge?  Are these rumors having any impact on the football team?

    The answer to your last question is an emphatic NO. Preseason expectations were through the roof, and we’ve actually exceeded those thus far. So Les is doing a tremendous job of keeping the team focused on the task at hand at all times.

    Going into the season, I think a lot of LSU fans would have been indifferent if they’d been told that Miles would leave at the end of the year. Six weeks in, with two of the biggest wins in LSU history under his belt (the 48-7 thrashing of Virginia Tech was in fact a big game, though that’s largely been forgotten in the wake of last week’s nail-biter), the fanbase’s admiration for him has shot through the roof. If he goes on to lead us to a national title – and certainly, that’s a huge IF – that Florida game will undoubtedly be the signature victory of his tenure, and could very well vault him above Nick Saban in the hearts and minds of Tiger fans. It won’t take much at this point, since a lot of fans have turned heavily against Saban with his "I’m not going to be the Alabama coach" antics. But even reasonable people would have to conclude that since a national title (and at worst a 13-1 record) would take Miles’ record at LSU to 35-5, it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider him LSU’s best coach ever.

    I think the LSU Athletic Department will fight hard to keep Miles around, but in the end I have to think he goes with his heart. If Michigan wants him, and doesn’t absolutely low-ball the hell out of him on a contract, I think he’s as good as gone. He’s a UM alum and a Schembechler guy, and the Michigan fanbase is falling over itself to get Miles in the door. So the Michigan powers that be would certainly hit a home run with the folks who pay for tickets if they managed to land him.

  10. What concerns you the most about the Kentucky game, what concerns you the least, and what is your prediction for the outcome?

    I’m most concerned about how drained the Tigers are – physically and emotionally – after last week’s game, and whether they’ll have had enough time to fully recuperate this week. Beating Tulane short-handed and playing sloppily is one thing. Going into Lexington and stopping Woodson and one of the best offenses in the country is another matter altogether.

    After last week, I’d have to say I’m least concerned about our running game now. Hopefully we can rely on it to help us open up the pass downfield. And hopefully our receivers can catch the balls they’re thrown down the field. Hopefully the ones they’re thrown are actually reasonably on target, as well.

    Final score prediction: LSU 28, Kentucky 17.