Sometimes the most important takeaways from a sporting event are intangibles that cannot be quantified in a stat line.
Toughness, work ethic and poise are cornerstone attributes, which athletes must possess in order to be successful in football. But all of these characteristics transcend the finite scoreboards that tower above stadiums.
While having a well-rounded repertoire of intangibles is important, some abilities are more pertinent to certain positions.
Leadership is one of the most important skills a quarterback should possess. It’s the quality that boosts the morale of a team down by 10 in the fourth quarter, and it’s the mentality that keeps a team focused after an exciting win.
When LSU arrived at AT&T Stadium Sept. 2, against Miami, Tiger quarterback Joe Burrow established himself as a leader well before kickoff.
After players from both Miami and LSU began shoving each other at the end of warm-ups, Burrow found himself on the front lines of the skirmish, shouting and clapping his hands with the rest of his teammates.
"If I’m in trouble outside a bar somewhere, I’m bringing Joe," Tigers’ receiver Jonathan Giles told Nola.com writer Brody Miller.
Giles’ endorsement of Burrow, as well as the rest of the team’s confidence in their new quarterback, speaks volumes to the leadership role that Burrow has tried to assume in a brief amount of time.
Sure, fans will nitpick Burrow for completing less than half his passes and his meager 140 passing yards because people love to complain.
Even I think Burrow could’ve played sharper on several plays, but his performance was enough to win the game.
Heck, he played well enough for the Tigers to throttle Miami for three quarters and pull off a solid 16-point upset in week one.
Throughout the game, Burrow showed poise and consistency in the face of a defensive line that finished 13th in the NCAA havoc rating last year.
Perhaps my favorite Burrow accomplishment was his ability to make Miami’s turnover chain a useless paperweight.
The graduate-transfer didn’t force the ball to his play-makers and methodically cycled through his progressions.
His biggest areas of improvement will have to be efficiency in his pass attempts and pre-snap adjustments, and he’ll have little time to make these changes as LSU opens SEC play against Auburn in two weeks.
Fortunately, there will be no question about Burrow’s ability to lead his team into the rest of LSU’s grueling schedule.
He has earned his team’s respect in record-time and proven his ability to run the LSU offense.
Burrow and the Tigers surprised the nation after a week one victory, and chances are high that there will be a few more surprises as the season continues.