Across the nation, LSU is flying well below the radar and appears to be the least thought about top 15 team out there. That is rather frustrating for those of us looking to find opinions of those national pundits who are focused on bigger things, but probably better for a team that is young, talented and trying to find its way.
That said, within the Tiger community, it's easy to see the "homer" starting to come out after Saturday's win over Mississippi State. I can't understand why. I'll concede that the defense is playing exceptional. I absolutely love Tyronne Matheiu, especially as a blitzer (he reminds me of LaRon Landry). And the amount of pressure we're getting from the front four is awesome.
However, the offense is no better now than it was a year ago. I won't even begin with Jordan Jefferson, instead focusing my disdain on the offensive coordinator.
I have never played football. Not in youth, nor in high school. However, I tend to believe I'm fairly bright and am decent at figuring out patterns (no matter how drunk I may be during an LSU game). That said, here's what I've noticed a few things, which means it's guaranteed opposing coaches have noticed.
- When it's 3rd or 4th and short, LSU will go to a Power-I with no receivers. At that point, the defense will put 11 in the box and stop the rush attempt that comes 100% of the time. 100%, never a threat of pass.
- When it's 3rd or 4th and short, LSU will go to a Power-I with one receiver. At that point, the defense will put 10 in the box and stop the rush attempt that comes 100% of the time. See above.
- LSU will not go to the shotgun on first down.
- If LSU is in shotgun when Stevan Ridley is in, it's likely some sort of run.
- If LSU is in shotgun when Alfred Blue is in, it's likely some sort of pass.
- If LSU is in shotgun with Russell Shepard, it's likely a sweep.Hop
Naturally, these aren't always right, but I'd place the over/under at 80%. And LSU isn't taking advantage of any fakes on the other 20%. The point is, the offense is predictable by formation and personnel. We have a million formations, but only one or two plays out of each formation, not hard to figure out. It was the same way a year ago. The lone ray of hope I saw on Saturday was Jefferson running a read option that went for a TD. He's been horribly running speed options for a year that he's awful at. However, on that play, he read it perfect and used his athletic ability to score. If we're not changing QBs, we need to run that a LOT more.
At this point, LSU isn't scoring touchdowns without a big play. In fact, there has not been a Tiger touchdown drive of more than 60 yards that didn't include a scoring play of at least 30 yards. It's big play or bust. It's a good thing that the offense has explosive playmakers otherwise Josh Jasper's leg might fall off. Hopefully there will be more weeks of 5 INTs to set up field position.
All that said, everyone seems to have seem improvement this week. I believe they were wearing Mardi Gras tinted glasses. LSU had 264 total yards. 264. I'm sorry, 264. The defense had more yards receiving from MSU quarterbacks than the offense did from Jefferson. That's a problem.
It would be different if this was a blip on the radar. However, this is just the latest installment in a series of a failing offense that has let down a program. The recruiting has been top 10 in each of the last five years, yet the offense ranks in the bottom half of college football. Again.
Sure, this team will win nine games on sheer talent. But, if you're encouraged, you're not paying attention.