When I'm feeling pessimistic, I think about LSU's quarterback situation. Yes, I have said that while the QBs are inexperienced, we have a great situation in which to incubate a young quarterback. We have a solid and experienced offensive line, a dynamic running game, and very good receivers.
All of that is true, but let's look at the impact of the last part of that list. And while we're doing it, let's go ahead and just assume, without proof, that our quarterback play will be substandard this year. I know we don't know that will be true, but we also do not know that it won't be true. Which is to say it very well could be true.
Do good receivers really elevate a mediocre quarterback?
I have no proof of this, but I really do not think good receivers elevate a mediocre quarterback. I think the opposite is true. A mediocre quarterback acts as a limit on good receivers, while a good quarterback can elevate mediocre receivers (and a good quarterback with good receivers can become magical).
Think about it. While a good receiver can get open by half a step, it won't matter if the quarterback doesn't see him. While a good receiver can make the great one-handed catch, it won't matter if the quarterback puts the ball where it can be swatted away by the defender. While a good receiver can outrun the defensive back to the end zone, it won't matter if the quarterback can't throw it that far.
I've simply seen it enough where good receivers get frustrated by a quarterback who can't get the ball to them. Not even Calvin Johnson was able to elevate the play of Reggie Ball, who completed less than 50% of his passes each year he and Calvin Johnson were on the field together. And Calvin Johnson was largely considered the best wide receiver since Randy Moss.
Calvin Johnson got his stats, but Reggie Ball was still a weak QB.
Now, the dynamic running game and the very good offensive line will certainly help matters, but if Hatch, Lee, and Jefferson are substandard quarterbacks (and I'm not saying they are, but merely playing a hypothetical), that speed and skill on the outside will partially go to waste.
Even when I'm pessimistic, however, my spirits rise when I think of the impact of Richard Dickson. While those outside receivers may not help a substandard QB, I think a rock solid inside receiver almost certainly will. Dickson will go out and sit in creases in the zone, and should be reliably open and a big target. It may not make for an imaginative offense, but it should be effective.
I just hope those QBs are good enough to get the ball to the playmakers on the outside reliably.