When the LSU Tigers fired Les Miles and Ed Orgeron stepped into his spot, we new big changes were coming our way. The team had looked complacent and was playing poorly under Miles, and Orgeron told us from the jump that he was making a lot of adjustments to the way the program did things.
He lessened the time spent practicing on the field, opting to spend more time watching film and preparing mentally for opponents. Coach O implemented “themed practices” in order to help motivate the players and get the team focused and improving in certain areas of the game.
The biggest, and most obvious thing needed to change was the team’s approach on the offensive side of the ball. Under Miles and Cam Cameron, the offensive was predictable and struggled to be productive nearly every week. Orgeron and his staff wanted to fix that, and they started by putting an emphasis on throwing the football.
This is where the LSU Tigers were able to make their biggest breakthrough under their new head coach. The staff has done a great job implementing a consistently productive passing attack, and the increased percentage of pass play has given LSU a balanced offense. The inability to achieve such a feat is part of the reason Miles was fired, and the new staff has been able to do it in a very impressive amount of time.
Balancing out the offense to keep the defense honest is huge going forward for this team, and the way they have been able to do so is remarkably simple. All they have really had to do is design plays that give quarterback Danny Etling quick, open throws to his first or second read on every play.
It’s a simple concept, one that we have seen work on countless occasions throughout football. You have your receivers run short to medium yard routes underneath that essentially guarantee that the player will be open. That way your quarterback can take the snap, drop back, and have the ball out of his hands quickly and into the hands of a playmaker for at least five yards.
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It’s so simple and effective, so why don’t more team do it? The problem most coaches have with such a system is the lack of big plays it produces. You will have a great chance to move the ball down the field, but rarely does the team break off a huge pass play that can change the momentum of a game.
But with the talent this LSU team has, that isn’t much of a concern. The Tigers are loaded on the defensive side of the ball, so needing big plays to get back into a game is not something this team is really ever faced with. All they really need is an offensive that can take time off of the clock while moving the ball and scoring points.
When Etling is doing his job and getting the ball to his talented receivers, the field is opened up for the dynamic LSU running backs to break off big runs. We saw it against both Missouri and Southern Miss, as Etling would complete a few passes in a row, force the defense to respect the pass, and next thing you know Derrius Guice is off to the races.
Ed Orgeron did not have to do anything elaborate to get this offense back on track. All he had to do was spread the field and put Danny Etling in position to get the ball to his receivers without doing too much. We have seen back-to-back offensive explosions as a result of that small adjustment, and if they stick to it, things will only get better.
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