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15 Thoughts: Was it Bad? Yes. Irreparable? No.

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Sooner or later, flaws get exposed. Yesterday was the reckoning.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Louisiana State Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not much to dissect here. I don’t particularly want to write it; you particularly don’t want to read it. We got whooped. Many of the reasons why have been apparent for weeks.

It’s time to roll with the changes...

1. LSU is going to win the National Championship. That is an elite team that can do whatever it wants to offensively, led by Joe Burrow - who should be a unanimous Heisman winner. Their defense is good enough as a whole; their secondary - always a Tiger strength - is special.

2. Allow me to revisit the Vanderbilt game for a moment; specifically our first 3 offensive possessions of the 2019 season:

  • Drive #1: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:59. Touchdown
  • Drive #2: 10 plays, 89 yards, 5:34. Touchdown
  • Drive #3: 7 plays, 80 yards, 4:03. Touchdown

That looked pretty good at the time, didn’t it? I remember thinking how good we looked. Who would’a thunk the rest of the season, with the exception of the cupcakes on our schedule would become the challenge that it did.

3. There is no way I can do better than Macondawg’s take from last night’s game summary:

Tyler Simmons is surprisingly bad at catching footballs for an SEC wide receiver. Matt Landers may be worse. But we were throwing downfield to them because we couldn’t do so to Lawrence Cager or Dominick Blaylock. Or in the middle of the field to Kearis Jackson. Or for the first half to George Pickens. James Coley has earned your frustration for the inability to put together a cohesive offensive game plan for most of the season. But tonight it’s safe to say he was playing with a stacked deck.

4. Jake Fromm’s best throw of the night was his very first (and play) of the game. Tyler Simmons dropped the ball. In that moment, in my heart of hearts, I figured we’d probably lose and it wasn’t going to be close.

5. We are hardly a bad football team. In fact, we’re pretty good. We are an incomplete football team that is probably a lot closer than some of you believe. In order to elevate to where LSU is at present, QB play and the receiving corps must take a major leap in 2020. Offensive playcalling has to become more imaginative, and the head coach has to be willing to take a long, hard look at everything and adjust accordingly.

6. Someone with more time on their hands than I will go back and look at our total first-down success rate for the season. Those numbers will be published. Books Blog pieces will be written. Hopefully, corrective measures will be implemented to avoid 2nd and long (which has a way of turning into 3rd and long) and there will be much rejoicing in the land. All year, first down play-calling failed. Thus, 2nd and long became the norm. We wasted first down all season, yet mostly survived ourselves. Until yesterday.

7. I’m going to be sad to never see D’Andre Swift play in a Georgia uniform again. Ditto for Andrew Thomas. There is a slew of draft eligible juniors (and rSoph Isaiah Wilson) who have decisions to make. Jake Fromm among them. I hope these kids do what Nick and Sony and Lorenzo and Davin decided a few years ago. This will have great bearing on our 2020 fortunes.

8. If we’re going to lose, I’d rather lose like this. The heart-breakers of the last few seasons in that building was just about more than this Dawg could take. We are 1 and 5 4 in our last SEC Title games; 3-8 3-5 overall.

9. We finished 11-2 with a tough schedule. We “talented” ourselves to a really good record and beat the most important teams we had to beat during the regular season. Changes are going to involve some difficult decisions: staff, perhaps an open QB competition and jettisoning some guys who are not cut out for SEC football. Them’s the facts...

10. When we lost Riley Ridley, Isaac Nauta, Terry Godwin, and Mecole Hardman to the NFL/graduation, I figured we’d probably have to gnash our teeth and endure a “few weeks” of learning curves, acclimating, and adjustments before the chemistry developed between Fromm and the incoming freshman.

J.J. Holloman was returning was to be our Alpha receiver in 2019. We probably don’t beat Notre Dame or Florida without Lawrence Cager, and maybe the Tennessee game is closer Cager emerged as Jake’s primary guy, and when he went down, so did our chances to advance beyond yesterday’s debacle. We’re closing the receiving talent gap, but this really hurt us today:

Depth at receiver: We don’t have it.

11. We need some tight ends in this recruiting cycle and some kids who can play early and often. We need some guys who can get yards after the catch (as well as block), who are athletic and can separate. This is a rare thing. Then, we need a offensive system that actually utilizes them.

12. Man Ball works until it doesn’t. Sooner or later, you’re going to fall behind in a game. It bit us vs. South Carolina and killed us yesterday. With all the early injuries to our razor-thin receiving corps, and especially to the emerging Dominick Blaylock, whatever plans we had for testing the middle of the field died on the vine. The good news? Both Blaylock and George Pickens will be back, as well as Kearis Jackson who flashed a bit of late. Demetris Robertson is going to have to make some strides beyond what he’s shown this season. But Jake Fromm has got to find his mojo in 2020, assuming he’ll be back. And, his health.

13. Our defense might be better next year. I have no worries on that side of the ball whatsoever, despite yesterday’s result. I liked what I saw for the most part. Lewis Cine is going to be a force. Nakobe Dean has All-SEC written all over him. LSU got away with murder regarding holding. Honestly, why even have that penalty anymore? It’s bullshit. We had guys slipping and sliding all evening on that turf that is an abomination. I’m not making excuses in that regard, but I didn’t see any LSU guys slip much, except their running back a time or two (and a near fumble when his forearm hit the turf).

14. There was nothing special about our special teams last night, and I’ll leave it at that. Open up the punting competition next year. Jake Camarda had his moments, but he’s spectacularly inconsistent.

15. In summation, we were never going to compete for a National Championship this season. We all watched this team’s progression for weeks now. We ended up 11-2 with a great defense and an offense that could remain together as a unit for 100 years and never progress with its current philosophy. So, what to do?

Change the philosophy. The sooner, the better.

That’s all I’ve got.

As Always, GO DAWGS!