Paper Tigers No More, LSU Is For Real And Playing To Win
By: Tony Thomas
September 11, 2019
The 2019 version of the LSU Tigers is a shell of its former self.
During the Les Miles era, the Tigers would get a lead and then play conservative late in the game to protect that lead. Instead of adding to the lead and putting the game out of reach of a last-minute comeback, LSU would play “NOT TO LOSE”.
But this year is very different.
Head Coach Ed Orgeron, after accepting the head coaching job when Miles was fired, said that he would implement a spread-type offense. In this past off-season, LSU hired Joe Brady as Passing Game Coordinator. Brady had previously coached Drew Brees and the passing game of the New Orleans Saints, which was consistently ranked as one of the top offenses in the NFL. Brady and Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger now work hand in hand to create the spread offense gameplan each week.
It took a couple of years, but Orgeron has finally delivered. And, with a vengeance.
After 2 games this season, the Tigers spread offense has produced the following:
- 50 points per game scoring average (32 ppg in 2018)
- 7.46 yards per play (5.50 yards/play in 2018)
- 3rd down conversion rate= 53% (40% in 2018)
- Redzone success rate= 100% (88% in 2018)
Let’s revisit the Tigers Top Ten matchup with #9 Texas. With 3:59 left in the 4th quarter, #6 LSU had a 37-31 lead. On 3rd and 17, and under heavy pressure, QB Joe Burrow fired a dart to WR Justin Jefferson on a crossing pattern over the middle. Jefferson eluded tacklers and raced up the left sideline for a 61-yard touchdown, to increase their lead to 45-31. Texas would score a late touchdown to get within 7 points, but LSU held on for the hard-fought victory.
Burrow was 31-39 for 471 yards and 4 TD’s, the second-most yards in school history.
LSU is now ranked as the #4 team in the country. A team that now runs no-huddle, lining up 4 wide receivers, and throwing the ball up and down the field.
Gone is the ground and pound, archaic “3 yards and a cloud of dust” philosophy that seemed to besmirch LSU like a scarlet letter for years.
Burrow has cemented himself firmly in the very early Heisman conversations. He has thrown for 749 yards and 9 TD’s and 1 INT in 2 games this season. Burrow is comfortable and confident leading this offense.
In Austin last Saturday night, that 3rd and 17 play had but one objective, to go in and score!! To put the game out of reach. It was not the time to be conservative or to play not to lose.
The Tigers were playing to WIN!
Thanks for reading.
Material sourced for this article sourced from http://cfbstats.com