BATON ROUGE, La. -- Memo to SEC coaches:
You are cordially invited to the 2004 conference race. Formal attire is not required. Arrive early. LSU will be there to hold the door for you.
|The game got off to an inauspicious start for LSU when Skyler Green fumbled the opening kickoff.(AP)|
The receiving corps is a shadow of its former self. That we kind of knew with the loss of Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson. The more shocking development is that 2003's best defense got pushed around at times.
By Oregon State, mind you. It was a team brought in for a $1 million guarantee to be the Washington Generals for a night.
Few picked LSU to repeat as SEC champs after it won two of the past three conference titles. Even fewer picked the Tigers to defend their co-national championship. But this?
"I don't know," said Saban when asked what he liked Saturday. "Did you see anything you liked?"
Not much. LSU's best receiver seems to be Dwayne Bowe, a sophomore from Miami, who scored the touchdown that pulled the Tigers to within 15-13 with 1:05 left. He is athletic and fast in the mold of Clayton and Henderson.
Other than that, the Tigers might be in trouble based on Saturday's performance. The most experienced receiver, Skyler Green, fumbled the opening kickoff and caught only two passes, although one was for the Tigers' first touchdown.
The freshman sensations, Xavier Carter and Early Doucet, were non-factors.
Yes, there were mitigating circumstances. The torrential rain affected LSU's speed. The rain, though, didn't account for Oregon State's defensive line putting consistent pressure on the LSU quarterbacks.
"I think we outplayed them," Beavers safety Sabby Piscitelli said.