We joke about the quarterback discussion in comments here and all that, but the questions don't stop. And it's arguably an hourly discussion for the message board set. And while there have been times that where I've wanted to scream "y'all know they're not actually practicing right now, right?" I understand it.
We were supposed to be past all this.
It's not that LSU just struggled on offense in 2014 -- peaks and valleys are going to happen with a young team. It's that LSU couldn't muster even an average passing game. Both quarterbacks struggled to manage the game. Receivers struggled to get open. When they did, Anthony Jennings couldn't hit them with any sort of consistency, and rightly or wrongly, LSU didn't feel they could go back to Brandon Harris to solve the problem.
I'm not sure we'll ever stop arguing about the what, and I'm still trying to parse together as much of an answer to the why as possible. But honestly, none of that matters.
Just fix it.
Cam Cameron had about as good of a first year as any coordinator could ask for, and no matter what people try to retconn about 2013 based on Odell Beckham Jr.'s NFL success, it was a fantastic offense. But doing it once doesn't really matter. This isn't the NFL, where coaches can spend huge chunks of their year working with a franchise quarterback. Developing young players to be successful is an every year thing. Bad seasons can happen, but that's done.
Make it better.
Don't really care about the how. Most will say it's dependent on Harris maturing and taking the job from Jennings, but the who and the how doesn't matter. So long as it gets done.
The good news there is, if you get past the quarterback position, there's actually a lot to be excited about with this offense.
On the offensive line, LSU returns three very talented upperclassmen, and there's an exciting amount of depth and competition for the openings. That depth and talent level will only increase in the fall with a gang of incoming freshmen. In his second spring practice here in Baton Rouge, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes has the luxury of experimentation this spring. There aren't many guys locked into particular spots. Figure out who the best offensive linemen are, then fit them to the positions.
Outside, new receivers coach Tony Ball probably has the most competitive position overall on offense. The top four receivers on the team return after a very inconsistent season. There's talent for days, and a clean slate with Ball, who has a reputation for discipline and attention to detail on the practice field. And with a stud like Tyron Johnson coming in this summer, third and fourth guys are going to have to keep fighting for their spots on the field. Travin Dural, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and John Diarse are about to have one heck of a battle.
And then there are the tight ends, which might be as important to the development of this passing game as anybody. That's right, I said it.
In the backfield, Leonard Fournette could be ready to become the SEC's top offensive player, and this could very well become his offense. Will the staff find more ways to add quality and quantity to his touches? The depth behind him is a little unproven, but exciting, particularly with true freshman David Ducre in the mix. There's also no proven fullback on the roster with Melvin Jones gone. Are the days of that position's importance on the wane?
I know this much -- we won't have a lot of answers when spring drills end. The quarterback competition will almost certainly stretch into camp. Offensive line depth charts will almost certainly show up, but I wouldn't trust them until we hit game week. Then there's the evolution of Fournette and the battle for pass targets, which likely won't be settled until a few games in to 2015.
It makes for a lot of questions for an offense that returns eight starters. Most are the good kind. But we all know that the biggest one still looms.