Let me get some things out of the way here. I think Les Miles, who I thought was on the warm seat earlier this year, I think that barring an absolutely catastrophic collapse where we are not competitive against either Ole Miss or Arkansas, he has clearly earned next year.
However, given our performance in our win against Louisiana Tech, a catastrophic collapse is not exactly impossible. I'm not talking about merely losing. Losing happens. These teams are pretty good, and we are only pretty good ourselves. Losing both games is entirely possible, but merely losing would only crank up the heat a little bit and make 2010 do-or-die. It wouldn't get the water boiling. I'm talking about 35-10 losses where we don't play close to the level of competition and look flat and uninspired (like we did on Saturday). That would maybe, possibly lead to a change at the top, but even then I am not so sure.
I certainly don't want it, and I really don't expect it. I think we are going to be a much better team this Saturday than we were last Saturday.
I do, however, believe that it is time for a change of offensive philosophy. I watch college football games and I see other teams run a play where everyone is perfectly positioned to block someone and open a lane for someone with the ball. I see passing routes run with perfect timing and precision. I see elaborate plays (a couple of them) run beautifully. I hear announcers say, "That was a beautifully designed play, and well-executed by the [mascots]." I never hear that said about LSU.
The last time I remember a "beautifully designed play" that was well-executed was when Matt Flynn hit Richard Dickson on a "tackle-eligible" or unbalanced line pass play in the BCSNCG two years ago. That was a heck of a play, and Gary Crowton deserves not-a-little-bit of credit for our 2007 national championship, but it's clear that things have been regressing offensively since then.
In 2007, we never adjusted to Jarrett Lee's problems throwing the ball, and to make matters worse it seemed like whenever something bad would happen on the field, Lee would go sit on the bench by himself and get no instruction or no encouragement from any coach. He would just sit and wallow in misery.
And this year, the numbers tell the tale. We have future NFL players at WR#1, WR#2, WR#3, running back, tight end, and offensive tackle, and we have what I think is a reasonably solid college quarterback, yet we are 11th in the SEC in total offense. 9th in scoring offense. 10th in rushing offense. 9th in passing offense. We have one of the worst offenses in the conference despite having among the best skill-position talent and an offensive line that Miles says is his most talented ever.
I think the root cause of this is our desire to run anything and everything at any time. I feel like a broken record for saying this so much lately, but I think that we run so many different and disparate things that we can't possibly run all of it well. Not only can we not possibly run all of it well, we're not running any of it well.
I am tempted to say, "Well, let's let Miles just rein in Crowton," but that would be like buying a Miata and asking it to haul lumber for you. Gary Crowton cannot be Joe Paterno, because that's not Crowton's game. Crowton is wide open, throw everything at you all the time. If you want something different from that, you want someone besides Crowton. Personally, I think his type of game would play better in the NFL, where offenses have enough practice time to get good at everything. Meanwhile, his multi-set offense becomes a hindrance in college.