Obviously, the addition of Cam Cameron to LSU's staff will be the dominant story line this August. Here's a chance to review this season's offensive prospectus, otherwise known as "I Believe They Can Fly," parts One and Two:
"I still believe the offense is not as far away as some want to think. Mettenberger was an improvement over [QBs redacted], and gameplanning, by and large, wasn't horrible in 2012. The Tigers scored points on their first or second possession of almost every game, which indicates that the staff usually came in with a good idea of what they wanted to try and do. They just got lost in the flow of the game too many times. Good playcalling is about understanding an offense's strengths and weaknesses and how they fit to the opponent amidst the changing circumstances of a game. And LSU struggled with the last part of that equation too many times last season. Cameron's arrival will not mean that LSU will never call another bad play ever again. But he does bring another voice to the table. One that Les Miles brought to town with something specific in mind, and one with some pretty strong credentials. It's going to be exciting to watch."
"Cam Cameron: Whaddya Know, Whaddya Say" in which we delve a little more into Cameron's background and his departure from Baltimore:
"Is he a perfect coordinator? No. But if you know one of those, by all means, do pass his name on. A true fact we never really think about with coaches, is that they're hired to get fired. Coordinators have a thankless job. Offense or defense, we tend to ignore their successes and focus on their failures. Did Cameron have some in Baltimore? Sure. But the truth is, the Ravens have been a franchise built around defense, and Cameron began to change that with Flacco, Rice and Co. In the entire history of the NFL, only a handful of running backs have had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in an entire season, and Cameron has coached two of them (Rice and Tomlinson). Did things go bad? Sure. But they always do. Not to pick on Bruce's criticisms, but they're no different than the complaints every fan base has about their coordinator. You're only as good as your last game, and coaches fall out of favor, or make mistakes, all the time."
More passing game nerdness:
- Last season's offensive prospectus, also parts one and two -- a little more background on the general idea of "concept" passing and notes on quarterback progressions. A lot of the plays described here will still be huge parts of LSU's gameplans, I would wager.
- The Air Raid Offense: History, Evolution, Weirdness - From Mumme to Leach to Franklin to Holgorsen and Beyond -- Chris Brown of the always crucial Smart Football recounts the evolution of the most important passing offense to the last 20 years of college football.
- Understanding coverages and attacking them with passing game -- Chris recaps the basic reads that quarterbacks have to master for any passing offense.
- Snag, stick, and the importance of triangles (yes, triangles) in the passing game -- a basic breakdown of the way most passing plays attack a zone defense (also touched upon in my various passing-game related posts).
Here's a couple of other relevant post topics:
- "The Future is Already Here" -- wonderful long-form piece from Chris on the Pistol offense's history and future in the NFL.
- "Defending the Read Option" -- Chris looks at how the pros are looking to college coaches to defend said offensive revolution.
- Great Offenses, and the Genius of Simplicity -- my own primer on what makes an offense like Oregon's so great. And how it's not what you think it is.
- Some deconstruction of the notion of run/pass balance and a little game theory, again, courtesy of Smart Football.
- Notes on the principles behind "soft" coverages, via Football Study Hall.
Links relevant to the 2013 schedule:
- A previous study session on the Auburn offense, circa 2010. Gus Malzahn might not have Cam Newton anymore, but the core concepts remain the same.
- Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 TCU defense, explained via Brophy Football.
- Shakin' the Southland on Ellis Johnson's brand of 4-2-5, which we'll see at Auburn this season.
- Red Cup Rebellion on Ole Miss' use of the packaged concept, and how they put together a game-changing touchdown drive with exactly one play in their bowl game.
Some reading material, if anybody's looking for some new books to read:
- Blood, Sweat And Chalk by Tim Layden: I talked about this one last summer, and it's a great read for some background on a lot of the most influential schemes in the game, from the single-wing through the spread/zone read.
- The Essential Smart Football, by the aforementioned Chris Brown. His best work condensed down into a simple book that is not only readable, by very re-readable.
- Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, by Pat Kirwan. I finished this one in the spring. If you're still trying to learn about who and what to really watch during a game, and the mechanics of how an organization, particularly an NFL one, works, Kirwan breaks it down very well here. Newer editions of the book are spiral-bound, for easy reference, and come with a DVD that's a very helpful visual aid.
- Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories, by our own Bill Connelly. I haven't read it yet, but I damn sure plan on it. Anybody that frequents Football Study Hall should be interested.