Scooter Hobbs column: Tigers getting there but no need to rush

Published 6:58 am Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A fair ration of their LSU classmates, on the other hand, should be ashamed of themselves.

Dang kids. Don’t plead ignorance. The issue should have been covered in freshmen orientation.

But, just to clarify, you do not — under any circumstances — rush the field in Tiger Stadium after beating Ole Miss.

The stuffy adults will tell you it’s a safety issue, but this embarrassment is more a breach of decorum.

No disrespect to the Rebels, mind you, although it was widely suspected that their No. 7 ranking and perfect 7-0 record was a tad suspect coming in.

LSU won’t be like Tennessee and have to pass the hat to make the tab (actually that Vol gesture was a joke … I think). LSU will rifle through the athletic department couch cushions and scrounge it up without anybody missing a paycheck.

But you’re not likely to hear the standard-issue athletic department statement that “We’ll gladly be happy to write the check.”

Not in this case.

Ask around among the older alums. They’ll tell you when the time is right.

To the youngsters’ credit Saturday, it was hardly a spontaneous or even very enthusiastic invasion.

If they were trying to copy-cat their Tennessee brethren from a week ago, they failed miserably and, indeed, it came off like a cheap imitation.

The goal posts were never in any danger, let alone headed for the Mississippi River.

You know how it goes. A couple or three jumped the fence, then a few more and some more and before long groups were looking at each other hesitantly like, “Oh, OK, if you will, I will … are you sure?”

It was more semi-tip-toeing onto the field than rushing it. There was more knee-jerk meandering that gleeful tumbling about and the celebration pretty well self-dispersed.

But, kids, just a reminder: It was LSU’s sixth victory over Ole Miss in its last seven tries and the Rebels still haven’t won in Tiger Stadium since 2008.

The Tigers were favored in the game.

LSU didn’t pay a king’s ransom to bring Brian Kelly to Tigertown because nobody could beat Ole Miss.

It was a very impressive win for the Tigers, but in this case what it was worth was a big sigh of relief before heading back to the frat house, safe in the realization that LSU might turn out to be pretty good this season. Certainly not the disaster some feared.

Considering what happened the previous time LSU played at home — Tennessee 40, LSU 13 — that much is worth celebrating … responsibly, somewhere besides the field.

It was the affirmation that Kelly might know what he’s doing and that he is on the right track.

Also, that Jayden Daniels may be just the right quarterback to take them there.

Maybe, given the early struggles, even closer to it than Kelly would have thought at this point.

But LSU needed a dominant game like Saturday to further dull the memories of the Tennessee debacle, let alone his LSU debut against Florida State.

Coming on the heels of the impressive win over Florida, it’s hard to argue the Tigers haven’t gotten better as the season has progressed, steadily, as a team that played hard all year also bought into Kelly’s attention to detail, execution and trust.

More than that, it seemed like this team — and it’s Jayden Daniels’ Team now — came into focus Saturday.

But nobody rushes the field chanting “We have an identity!” or “The ‘process’ works!”

Still, I’m guessing most fans would have taken 6-2 at this point, no questions asked. Being in first place in the SEC West (4-1) is a little much and might well be temporary with Alabama due in next after an open date.

Pull that one off and that awkward party would be excused for reconvening on the turf.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at scooter.hobbs@americanpress.com