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That's the LSU we were expecting to see in 2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

When you surveyed the SEC teams to start this season, one team stood above all the rest when it came to muscle in the line of scrimmage.

On paper, nobody was better than LSU on the offensive and defensive lines.

The defending national champion Tigers finally played that way Wednesday night in a 38-3 battering of Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, stopping the bleeding from what was a forgettable regular season.

Let's be honest. Isn't this the way everybody expected LSU to play all season?

Yes, the second half was sloppy, but the Tigers looked like a team with NFL talent up and down the roster, particularly in the second quarter when they exploded for 28 points. They shut down the Yellow Jackets' offense, cranked up their bruising running game and put freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson in a position to make plays.

Jefferson was 11-of-12 in the first half with one touchdown pass and one rushing touchdown, as LSU raced out to a 35-3 halftime lead.

Jefferson's performance Wednesday night did a couple of things. For one, it has to give LSU fans confidence going into next season. He can run. He can pass, and he's only going to become more seasoned with a spring practice.

The other thing Jefferson's strong showing did is make you wonder where he was earlier in the season. Given the way Jarrett Lee struggled with interceptions, why not give Jefferson a chance in October before things started to unravel for the Tigers?

All in all, Tigers coach Les Miles has to love the pride this team showed after losing its last three games of the regular season and hearing for the last month what a huge disappointment they were.

Miles will now shake things up with his defensive staff. Coordinators Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory are on their way out, and former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis will be announced later this week as LSU's new defensive coordinator.

The Tigers lost that edge defensively this season, and the challenge for Chavis is to make sure they get it back.

The way they smothered the Yellow Jackets' triple-option Wednesday was a good start.

Spring practice ought to be interesting on the Bayou.