Be patient during LSU’s growing pains
Patience, people, patience. Give this LSU offense a chance.
One day, perhaps, it won’t require an explanation for victory.
One day it might realize what it wants to be when it grows up, other than 3-0 with two top-10 scalps on the wall and somehow ranked No. 6 in the country.
Actually, head coach Ed Orgeron knows exactly what he wants out of his offense, even as he insists he stays out of it as much as possible and lets offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger do the plotting and scheming.
But it’s not as simple as just calling different plays with crazier formations.
It’s a mind-set, as much as anything. It’s not just a matter of paying attention and taking notes this Saturday when Louisiana Tech brings one of those beep-beep, pop-gun attacks into Tiger Stadium for an in-state visit.
You’ve got to do what suits you. But Orgeron really is committed to a more wide-open style. More gradually than some would hope, perhaps, but this isn’t the stubbornness of Les Miles with a Cajun accent.
“We want to be more of a spread offense,” Orgeron said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference Wednesday, as if he, too, wishes it could happen overnight. He preached and promised it all spring and summer. But … “It takes awhile to make that transition.
We’ve been such a pro-style offense and we’re still holding on to old ideas that we’ve got to let go of. I think we’re seeing that.
We’re spreading the ball a lot more.”
They’re getting there.
The leap was obvious in the Auburn game last week as Ensminger turned quarterback Joe Burrow loose for a lot more downfield shots and also called on him to run. Can the run-pass option be far behind?
Yeah, the Tigers are still last in most of the SEC’s major statistical categories. It wasn’t going to happen overnight. But you can almost see it starting to come together before your eyes. Still, dead last in most offensive categories? Just a guess, but the numbers will eventually come.
It takes some getting used to. Some trial and error. But what would you says if I told you that the Tigers had more yards against Auburn’s defense (370) than they did against Southeastern Louisiana’s (335)?
Or that every game has produced more yards than the game before it?
The way LSU tried to block Southeastern Louisiana didn’t work, even against outmanned opposition. So the coaching staff made major adjustments.
“It was night and day,” Orgeron said on his radio show Wednesday night.
“We struggled against Southeastern. We switched the protections we’re doing, things they can do with their skill sets. I thought they played fantastic against Auburn.” Patience. “We’re finding out what our guys can do,” he said.
It is coming around, regardless of what the SEC stats say.
And it surely could be worse.
That’s some really stubborn Razorbacks there.
First-year head coach Chad Morris came in with a mandate to overhaul the Hogs with his uptempo spread offense throwing it all over creation.
Music to fans’ ears.
Never mind that he’s inherited a team from Bret Bielema that was built to bludgeon things and bust up the furniture 3 yards at time, often through dust storms.
Just force those square Pigs into round holes.
They’ve got to learn this new system now, even while it awaits a completely sleeker cast of characters to have any hope of it ever working.
So last week the awkward Razorbacks not only had six (6) interceptions while evacuating their own stadium by halftime in an embarrassing loss to North Texas, they also had four quarterbacks conspire to throw at least one.
Six interceptions. Four quarterbacks. One game.
Does LSU even have four quarterbacks?
To put that in more perspective, to account for the last six interceptions LSU has thrown, you have to go back 22 games — but only three quarterbacks — while rewinding all the way through last season and then all the way to Nov. 5, 2016.
LSU has better players, admittedly, but the gradual approach seems to be getting better results.
That figures to continue, and it’s going to be fun watching its progress.
Maybe even on the stats sheet.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates after the offense gets a first down against Miami Hurricanes during the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018.