Three little words were supposed to put this year’s LSU football team over the top compared to last year’s squad: Zach Mettenberger’s passing.
Certainly the young lad has flexed some throwing muscles of the kind that haven’t been seen around Tigertown since the days of JaMarcus Russell or Matt Flynn. He’s probably just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of as LSU’s signal caller.
And yet, despite the upgrade, look who’s leading the Southeastern Conference in rushing after Week 3.
The improved threat and ability of Mettenberger to pass effectively is already paying dividends for the LSU offense, no doubt. But this continues to be an offense built on its ability to grind you into the turf with a power running game and a fleet of running backs.
- Light, quick and finesse-filled passing games may entertain the masses and make programs like SEC newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M media darlings, but “Old Man Football” continues to rule the day.
Which SEC teams are ranked in the top five? That would be Alabama, LSU and Georgia, three teams that can run, can block and can play knock-your-block-off defense.
It may not be thrilling, but it is mighty effective, and not just at the college level, either.
- Who looks like one of the best teams in the early going in the NFL? That would be the San Francisco 49ers. Who is their head coach? Jim Harbaugh. Where did he learn his football? The same place Les Miles did, at the feet of Bo Schembechler at Michigan.
The reason the SEC has won six straight BCS titles isn’t typically because of quarterbacks like Cam Newton, a hybrid freak of football, or Tim Tebow, who in retrospect looks like Cam Lite. It’s in the ability of SEC teams to control the lines of scrimmage with steamrolling ground games or smothering defenses.
USC, for all its high-tech wizardry, has none of that, a big reason the Trojans got manhandled by Stanford.
- So many who were convinced Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle crackup would put the Arkansas football program in a spin were trying to convince themselves that Sean Payton’s one-year exile from the New Orleans Saints and a Lake Pontchartrain-sized pool of offseason distractions wouldn’t disrupt the Saints’ Super Bowl potential.
It’s time to face facts. Payton’s absence is a HUGE problem for the Saints, who have looked undisciplined and have struggled on offense. It’s not enough that Drew Brees knows what to do the Payton way or that Pete Carmichael called plays last year during and after Payton was sidelined by that knee injury.
The biggest problem the Saints continue to have — again, like Arkansas — is on defense, where New Orleans is tied for last with Kansas City in scoring and dead last in total defense.
That said, if New Orleans clubs K.C. on Sunday, it’s only one win from clawing back to 2-2 — with a win at Green Bay.