Up-to-the-Minute Purple & Gold News RSS Feed - SportsNOLA.com
LSU Tigers - SportsNOLA.com covers LSU Football, Basketball, Baseball and More in the SEC

A pleasingly offensive LSU would be a welcomed change

LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry and the rest of the Tigers hope 2013 is the time for the offense to reach the endzone more frequently.LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry and the rest of the Tigers hope 2013 is the time for the offense to reach the endzone more frequently.Have you ever wondered just how good LSU football could be with a productive offense?

Have you ever wondered how the Tigers won 43 games the past four seasons without one?

In 2013, perhaps question two will be a non-issue, and question one will be answered.

In the past four seasons, LSU has finished 77th, 57th, 81st and 102nd in the FBS in total offense. For one of college football's elite programs, those rankings are staggeringly low.

In 2012, LSU went 3-1 in SEC road games, despite some incredibly poor offensive numbers.

At Auburn against a poor defense, LSU was able to muster only 351 yards and 15 first downs in a 12-10 escape.

At Texas A&M, LSU won despite 316 yards of total offense and 18 first downs.

At Arkansas, the Tigers won their regular season finale despite gaining only 306 total yards and 16 first downs against another lackluster defense.

In an October loss at Florida, the Tigers did not get away with having no offensive production. LSU was able to muster only 200 total yards and 8 first downs.

Here's a head scratcher. LSU won six of eight SEC games and led Alabama in the final minutes despite gaining no more than 22 first downs in any league game.

Against Clemson in the Chick fil-A Bowl, LSU gained only 219 yards and tallied a paultry nine first downs. Yet, the ACC Tigers needed a dramatic final drive to beat the Bengal Tigers in the Georgia Dome.

If there ever was a case for a change on offense, the 2012 Tigers made it.

Fortunately, Les Miles didn't ignore the obvious. It is not the first time he has had to act to save a side of the football.

After a three-win SEC season in 2008, Miles went for proven experience, hiring defensive coordinator John Chavis plus assistant coaches Brick Haley and John Cooper.

After a season of woeful performance, the ascension of LSU's defense into the college football elite began.

It is up to Cam Cameron, the former Baltimore Ravens offensive coodinator, to do the same revival for the LSU offense.

At SEC media days, quarterback Zach Mettenberger said the offensive plays won't change much.

"Football is football," said Mettenberger. "The passing routes and run are much the same."

Yet, what LSU needs from Cameron, they have gotten from Chavis. That is a disciplined approach. One that features unwavering consistency and fewer mistakes.

Other needs include an offense that features a coordinator who can make the right call at the right time and get his unit to execute late in two minute and four minute situations.

What if coaching hasn't been so much of the problem?

Maybe Miles has just done a great job recruiting defenders, and a poor job of acquiring offensive playmakers.

The last four seasons, LSU has five first round picks in the NFL draft.

The list includes Tyson Jackson (2009), Patrick Peterson (2011), Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers (2012), and Barkevious Mingo and Eric Reid (2013).

All played defense.

LSU has not had a first round NFL draft pick on offense since sending JaMarcus Russell, Dwayne Bowe, and Craig "Buster" Davis to the pros in 2007.

Maybe the talent was not there, or maybe it was not developed well enough.

Last week, Miles said his offense has a chance to be "dynamic."

That would be a most welcomed change.

Video from LSU Athletics