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The Most Important News Article I've Read This Offseason

On this otherwise innocuous Sunday not quite 8 weeks from the first Game Day of the season, I have read what may be the most important newspaper article on the LSU football team to arrive this offseason.

In today's Advocate, Scott Rabalais has a piece on new LSU defensive co-coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto.  OK, Peveto's not exactly new, he just has new duties.  He has been promoted from linebackers coach to linebackers coach and defensive co-coordinator with secondary coach Doug Mallory.

This article gives us the first glimpse of how the LSU defense will look without Bo Pelini at the helm.  The lede?

“We lost a great coordinator in Bo Pelini,” Peveto said, “one of the best I’ve been around.”

So good that Peveto said he and Mallory still occasionally call Lincoln to pick Pelini’s brain about this formation or that coverage. So good that the defensive system Pelini left has remained essentially intact since the Tigers smothered Ohio State 38-24 in January’s BCS national championship game. 

We suspected it all along, but now we have it straight from one of the two horses mouths.  The system Bo Pelini put in place will stay, despite the change in personnel leading it.  

That means we can expect to see a lot of zone, with some zone blitzing, and a lot of assignment-based football.

A lot of people complained last year (myself included) that we played too much zone, played too passively, and generally didn't use our speed enough.  But then the season ended and the NFL scouting combines occurred.  Lo and behond, we really didn't have all that much speed.  Both Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson were slower than we thought, and Ali Highsmith was MUCH slower than we thought.  

Given that the overall athleticism was not as high as we thought it was, Pelini's reliance on zone and less frequent blitzing was perfectly understandable.  

One thing I would  like to see changed, however, is LSU's pass rush from the defensive line.  Despite our DL's accolades last year, we seemed to go long stretches without getting any pressure on the quarterback.  I think it may have had something to do with scheme, and it may have had something to do with substitution patterns.  Whatever it is has to change because we cannot allow quarterbacks to scan the field unmolested.

The rest of the article is helpful as well.  We find out how the co-coordinator system will work:

Mallory will be in the press box as he has the last three seasons, while Peveto will patrol the sidelines as Pelini did.

“One guy has to call it,” Peveto said. “It can’t be a committee on game day. We’ll game plan all week together, then on Saturdays Doug will call it from the press box and I’ll signal in our personnel groups and be in charge on the sideline.

“It’ll be a great marriage. Doug and I have got a great relationship. We’ve never had an argument. We have mutual respect. There are no egos with Doug and I.”

I'm glad to know they realize the difficulties with having co-coordinators.  Any time you need a quick decision, a committee will not work, and a football game requires dozens if not hundreds of quick decisions.  

Peveto and Mallory are experienced coaches.  Peveto has been a defensive coordinator before, and the arrangement they have now was probably the best thing they could do to maintain continuity between past and present.  The question comes in how Peveto and Mallory will adapt and grow the system.

Eight weeks is too long.