Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
A few quick roundup notes.
1. There are a LOT of things that still need to be said regarding the LSU offense -- pluses (yes, they exist), minuses and what have you. This is not meant to be any sort of Pangaea post on the subject. But here's a quick and dirty point on what was a principle difference between 2011 and 2012. There are similarities in things like total yards (4,971 in '11, 4,865 in '12) and yards per play (5.7 compared to 5.5). The biggest statistical difference: red-zone efficiency. The '11 Tigers scored 57 times in 61 attempts, including 44 touchdowns -- a 93-percent scoring percentage and 72-percent touchdown average. This season, those numbers dropped to 84 percent on scoring (45 times in 53 appearances) and 50 percent on touchdowns (27). At a nuts-and-bolts level, improvement needs to start there.
2. Okay, one more note because I couldn't resist. Here are a couple of very common clichés to avoid right now. "Les Miles never fires assistants, he lets them find new jobs." This is a much more common move then people seem to think, and very few high-level coaches publicly fire assistants. Nick Saban "allowed" guys like George Yarno, Gary Gibbs, Kevin Steele, Major Applewhite and Phil Elmasian to "pursue new opportunities" at LSU and Alabama, just as Miles did with Gary Crowton, Earl Lane, Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory -- but none of these guys were going to return following their final seasons. It's a very old-school coaching courtesy, and it's not nearly as big a deal as people seem to think it is. That's also how Gregg Williams met his end with the Saints, even the illustrious Norm Chow with USC. Not fired, but not wanted back either.
The other thing to remember is that if there is any change (and I have absolutely no idea, and don't want to speculate on the topic without some basis of information), it likely will not happen quickly. The American Football Coaches Association national convention began this week, and there's always a lot of action there that sets the stage for the coming months, but remember, a lot of head coaches want to hold on to assistants through national signing day, in order to insure that the recruits said assistant is responsible for put signature to paper.
3. It didn't get a ton of play last week, but long-time Nevada head coach Chris Ault, the inventor of the Pistol Offense, retired. The always linkable Chris Brown of Smart Football wrote a fantastic long-form piece on the offense and how it's begun to infiltrate the NFL ranks through teams like the Washington Redskins for the SB Nation Mothership that I highly recommend.
4. Another quick network programming reminder -- this week features the two pre-eminent national high school All-Star games, sponsored of course by the U.S. Army and Under Armour. Kris and Paul will of course have some great updates, insights and analysis from the LSU perspective here, but for a national focus don't forget to, check out SB Nation's Recruiting.
5. As we close in on Monday night's Insufferabowl, here's a quick reminder that sometimes national championships are just a matter of who's doing the counting.