Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Day After: La Tech

Ehh. Some fans can't stand prosperity. We win 58-10, and some can do nothing but complain. Did we look like the New England Patriots? No. I was able to watch the game thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and we looked like a team playing a vastly overmatched opponent, but that had a hard time getting out of the gate and made a few mistakes along the way to a big victory. I'm not complaining.

On the way there, we clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game, by virtue of Bama's loss to MSU and Auburn's loss to Georgia. We now also know for sure that our opponent there will be either Georgia, Tennessee, or Florida, and with Georgia's and Tennessee's wins, Florida looks like a long shot. You never know, though. Florida has to hope that Georgia loses to Kentucky and that Tennessee loses to either Vandy or Kentucky.

With the win, it looks like we're going to be the #1 team again, and it also looks like there is no way we can miss out on the national championship game if we win out. We may get passed by one team, but we won't get passed by two. Thank you Ron Zook and the Fightin' Zooks. I always liked you, and I thought you got totally jobbed in Gainesville.

Who would have thought we'd see the Ryan Perrilloux to Mit Cole touchdown pass combination? I predicted it, but I can't find the link. Sorry.

We played the whole game without starters Marlon Favorite and Darry Beckwith, who should be back next week, and we'll need them. BenJarvis Green-Ellis is a fine running back for Ole Miss, and of course there's a certain former Heisman candidate waiting for us the day after Thanksgiving. We've been a little vulnerable to power running backs in the middle of the field this year, and we will have to be at our best in those games.

It appeared to me that about midway through the second quarter, the coaches realized that there was no way La Tech could match our athleticism, so they started using the speed guys a lot more and we started pulling away. Of course, speed-demon Jacob Hester got into the act with the longest touchdown run he ever imagined himself making (87 yards). I seem to recall Dalton Hilliard having a 90+ yard touchdown run at some point in his career, but other than that Hester's run is the longest in my memory.

Brandon Lafell and Terrance Toliver had big games as well. In particular, it's great to see Lafell be a solid contributor. With his good games in the last two weeks, maybe he's ready to be our #2 receiver again. The kid is a solid player, who just had a case of the drops. Richard Murphy had a great run that he almost stuck into the end zone. Trindon Holliday and Keiland Williams had more touches than usual. In all, it was a chance to showcase some future talent, even on the offensive line, where Joe Barksdale and others got into the action early. On defense, we saw an awful lot of Chad Jones, Drake Nevis, and Jacob Cutrera, all guys who figure to be major players next year and the year after.

I think that Murphy kid in particular looks like he's going to be an exciting player. It's very telling that he's gotten into some big games late in the action, such as against Auburn and Kentucky. For whatever reason, when the game is on the line and they need a speed back, they got to Murphy rather than to Keiland.

If you're wondering why I haven't focused much attention to arguing who should be #1 and who should be in the BCS, it's a simple matter of keeping in mind that there is still a lot more season to play. We have three more games to play, against Ole Miss on the road, against Arkansas at home, and against Georgia/Tennessee/Florida on a neutral site. All of these games are loseable, and I don't want to get caught up in arguing who's better between LSU and Oregon or between Oregon and Kansas when there's still plenty of football left to be played before people really have to make that decision. How many teams have vehemently defended their lofty rankings only to subsequently lose a game they probably should have won? Michigan. USC. Us! Ohio State. Cal. The other USC. Wisconsin. Oklahoma. It may be November, but there's still a lot of football left to go here.

In the coming days, we'll go around the SEC and discuss the fact that the conference now has 10 bowl eligible teams. And if you want to know who the GeauxTuscaloosa Offensive Skill Position Player of the Week is, check out the box score of the Florida-South Carolina game.

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