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Monday, December 01, 2008

What went right, wrong, and is ahead

What went right: As expected, LSU had a very good running game with a very good offensive line. Unfortunately, coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton were not content to build the team around that. They did not run enough. They instead tried too much to be a passing team with two very inexperienced quarterbacks in Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch, who may also not be that talented.

What went wrong: The defense was supposed to carry the team until the offense came around under the young quarterback or quarterbacks. Instead, the defense grossly underachieved with a lot of speed and talent and became the worst defense LSU has had since Lou Tepper in 1999. There were some new starters at cornerback, outside linebacker and strong safety, but they all were in the program for some time and were well recruited. The fault of the defensive problems is squarely on new co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto. Miles promoted the pair for "familiarity of call," as they both worked under previous defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. The defense started its downfall late last year, however, and continued like an avalanche this season because opponents benefited from "familiarity of call" on their end since LSU has been doing the same thing for four years now.
Also, Crowton and Miles did not prepare any of their quarterbacks well for the season and totally mishandled the position. As soon as Hatch was injured, they should have gotten Jefferson ready. Had Jefferson been allowed to play earlier, LSU may have beaten Alabama, had a better chance against Ole Miss and may have beaten Arkansas.

What’s ahead: If Les Miles is as great as his legions of supporters in the fan base, the athletic department and most pockets of the apologist media say he is, LSU will be a national contender again next season. But if that is really going to happen, Miles has to hire a defensive coordinator who knows how to blitz, when to blitz and how to disguise blitzes like former coach Nick Saban. Whoever gets the new DC job should break out the defensive film from 2002, 2003 and 2004. And with Russell Shepard coming in next year as the likely new starting quarterback, Miles and Crowton need to drastically improve on their coaching of a freshman quarterback.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. You touched on all of my thoughts and I agree with your accessment of coaching Jordan earlier and giving him playing time in Games like Tulane and before. I have an uneasy feeling about whether Les Miles is willing to step up and make the major changes needed. He may be afraid to hire Chavis or Orgeron as these are strong guys that will not stand around and let him run their jobs.


3:46 PM  
Blogger ARKtiger said...

re: "What's ahead:" if Miles does not learn from ALL of this year's mistakes, he should study history, i.e. what happened to Dinardo after 2 miserable seasons at LSU, and to Tuberville and Fulmer this year. "What have you done for me lately?"

9:06 AM  

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