By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Here’s the stock report from LSU’s 16-14 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon. Spoiler alert: the bad outweighed the good.
STOCK UP: Aranda’s defense
Dave Aranda didn’t get the reunion he hoped for with the program he bolted this offseason to land a raise in Baton Rouge, but to be fair, that was hardly his fault. The Tiger defense held its own for all but one drive, a Badger touchdown march to begin the second half, and managed to keep LSU in the game despite a sputtering offense that left them on the field for nearly two-thirds of the game and gave the ball away twice in its own end of the field. There were some hiccups that must be corrected, namely tackling and covering the tight end, but all in all, Aranda’s unit looked solid in its debut.
STOCK UP: Lambeau Field
Saturday marked the first major college game played in the historic cathedral of football, and take it from someone who was there, it served as a magnificent venue. The building itself is fantastic, rivaling any NFL stadium, despite the fact that “steeped in history” translates roughly to “old.” The town and the people who live there love their football, and hopefully, this isn’t the last college game housed at Lambeau, even if the Tigers probably aren’t thinking a return trip. Oh, and don’t forget the food. They put out the largest selection of grub I’ve ever seen for the media contingent. (Hey, you have to search far and wide for ‘stock up’ after a game like that)
STOCK DOWN: Communication
It seemed like it had been a while since Les Miles committed a time management faux pas, didn’t it? Well, as these things tend to do, communication issues came back to haunt LSU in a game it could ill afford to have such setbacks. Miles had to burn two timeouts in the third quarter when LSU couldn’t get the play in, both of which stalled promising drives. One, Miles said, was caused by the headsets going out. Time to reevaluate having every full-time assistant on the sideline, perhaps? The lack of timeouts also prevented him from stopping the clock to give his offense one more shot after Brandon Harris’ game-sealing interception.
STOCK DOWN: Offensive line
While there’s plenty of blame to go around for Harris, LSU’s wide receivers and the offensive gameplan Miles and Cam Cameron installed — specifically the lack of innovation after months of lip service that change was coming — LSU’s struggles Saturday stemmed from being whipped at the point of attack by a team missing its top two linebackers. There weren’t much in the way of holes for the ground game nor protection for Harris produced by LSU’s reshuffled front. On one play, a Badger linebacker blitzed up the middle unblocked and stripped Harris before he could hand to Leonard Fournette. That’s not to mention Josh Boutte likely earned himself a suspension with a vicious cheap hit that got him ejected. This group needs to get its act together — and quick.