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LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, No. 3, celebrates a touchdown reception with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, No. 80, and running back Kenny Hilliard. (Associated Press)

LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, No. 3, celebrates a touchdown reception with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, No. 80, and running back Kenny Hilliard. (Associated Press)

Beckham, Landry big reason for turnaround of LSU’s offense

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7:38 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Les Miles hadn’t seen the movie all the way through.

So it kind of caught him off guard to learn that his two star receivers were being referred to — by their quarterback — as “Dumb and Dumber.”

“I can kind of draw up the view of those two actors standing side by side,” Miles admitted, then paused …

“That would not be Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.”

Zach Mettenberger was just kidding, maybe a bad analogy to describe a good friendship.

“Those two are best friends,” he was trying to say. “They’re kind of like — I’m not saying they are, so don’t take this the wrong way — it’s almost like ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ One’s Terry, one’s Lloyd; they’re always together, doing a lot of crazy things, lot of practical jokes.

“But when it comes to practice, they’re working like crazy. That competitive fuel and drive that they have with each other has really made them what they are.”

What they are is maybe the best tandem of receivers in the Southeastern Conference, by far Mettenberger’s favorite targets and maybe the biggest reason LSU’s offense is so much more explosive and fun to watch this season.

If you want to sum up new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s effect on the once-staid LSU offense, the duo ranks 1-2 in the SEC in touchdown receptions, Landry with five (tied for second nationally), Beckham with four.

They’ve taken over the passing game to the point that Miles, instead of being asked why the Tigers can’t throw, is more often asked these days if he worries that they’re becoming too dependent on Beckham-Landry?

“Zach trusts us,” Landry said.

Between them they have 32 of LSU’s 46 receptions through three games and all of Mettenberger’s nine scoring passes. Each has had at least four catches in every game, while no other Tiger has had a multi-reception game.

Miles said he expects to see the ball distributed a little more as younger receivers, particularly, Travin Dural, continue to progress. But he isn’t concerned.

“I don’t think you’re going to take away those guys,” Miles said. “That’s going to be very difficult to do.”

In the opener against TCU, it was the first time two LSU receivers had surpassed 100 yards in the same game since Josh Reed and Michael Clayton did it in the Sugar Bowl following the 2001 season. When Beckham added 136 yards against UAB, going back to back was an LSU first since Dwayne Bowe did it in 2006.

Landry could retort that he’s the first LSU receiver with a touchdown catch in five consecutive games since Bowe did it in 2006.

At any rate, the close friends rarely quit competing with each other.

“Basketball, whatever, it doesn’t matter,” Landry said. “If we go to Celebration Station (an amusement park in Baton Rouge), we’re riding go-carts against each other, we’re competing … video games, anything. It says a lot about me and him and our chemistry and how we see each other.”

It’s a heated rivalry that began when both were in high school and first met at a 7-on-7 camp.

Landry was impressed.

“I thought I was the only guy in Louisiana that could catch a ball like that,” Landry said of first watching Beckham.

They decided at that camp that they’d both be coming to LSU.

“Yeah, they’re different guys,” Miles said. “The similarities are many. They’re very committed to this team, their work ethic is tremendous. They recognize their contribution is necessary for our team’s success and they’re both giving it.

“They’re good people. They’re different, but they’re the same in many ways.”

The backgrounds are certainly different.

Beckham has the genes — his dad, Odell Sr., was a running back at LSU in the early 1990s, and his mom, Heather Van Norman, was a six-time Tiger All-American sprinter in track — and he went to LSU from Newman in New Orleans, which claims to be one of Louisiana’s most academically elite high schools.

Landry is a self-described country boy from Convent (he played at Lutcher High) and is some sort of distant relative to former Tiger All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.

Landry isn’t shy in his role as one of the team spokesmen and never met a TV camera he couldn’t embrace or a team meeting he couldn’t take over. He says that his good buddy can be a bit of a cut-up among teammates. But Beckham has always shied away from the limelight, content to let others do the bulk of the interviews.

“It’s not like he leads by standing in front of the team saying, listen, there’s some things I want to tell you,” Miles said of Beckham. “But anybody that watches him practice has got to be impressed with what he does … to me is his leadership quality.”

On the field, Beckham has a little more flash — the enduring image of the two together last season was Landry escorting and windmilling Beckham home on an 89-yard punt return that beat Ole Miss.

Both can make any catch, but Landry is perhaps best known for the tough, in-traffic grabs.

Beckham is always a big-play touchdown waiting to happen — even, most famously against UAB game, on a missed field goal attempt from 109 yards out.

Miles, in effect, compared the way Beckham plays offense and special teams to the way Tyrann Mathieu, now with the Arizona Cardinals, played defense.

“Very talented,” Miles said “Nifty is a good word for him, explosive is a great word for him.”

But Miles said Beckham’s best trait is an attitude shared by most great players, in that he never met an opportunity he didn’t think could turn into a touchdown.

“He says, ‘You know what? If I just beat that guy, this play may go all the way. Or if I can just get to the ball, I’ll make that catch.

“He has that intangible that the very best players have.”

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