The LSU Tigers continued their dominance over non-conference foes in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night with a 20-14 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers. As has been the case this season, defense and special teams dominated the game and secured the victory for the Tigers. The offense, on the other hand, continues to be the hot topic after another disappointing performance.
It’s been written about ad nauseum for the past three weeks and yet we are still here complaining about the same thing. The offense is horrific. Maybe not horrific (the running game is much improved from last year), but it is nauseating. A chorus of boos rang through the air in Death Valley after LSU could not put West Virginia away late in the third quarter and into the fourth. I don’t condone booing and will always tell the people around me to stop when they do. Yet maybe the 92,000 plus in attendance are voicing their displeasure to something that doesn’t involve a student-athlete or a coaching decision. Maybe they’re booing the hope that was given, the potential that is not being realized, or the optimism that is being lost with such a poor performance on offense. Let’s hope so.
At Monday’s press luncheon, Coach Les Miles, when asked who would be the starting quarterback this weekend against Tennessee, answered Jordan Jefferson. While that answer won’t sit well with Tiger fans, there’s nothing we, as fans, can do about that decision. Booing won’t make things better. But you have to think that the leash is a whole lot shorter than it was a few games ago, and even Miles acknowledged that fact in only the way he knows how—vague and between the lines.
There’s nothing to point to that says it’s not the quarterbacks fault. Yes, there have been a few dropped passes. Maybe a few wrong routes that we, as fans, can’t see or don’t know about. Yet there are other options on the field, other receivers and backs that can receive a pass, and Jefferson simply can’t get them the ball. A telling stat: Jordan Jefferson is averaging 4.6 yards per attempt in the last three games. It was 3.5 yards per attempt against West Virginia. That is incredible when you think about it. Stevan Ridley is averaging almost double that per rush!
Speaking of rushing, would it be unfair to say the coaches need to let Russell Shepard carry the ball more than Jordan Jefferson does in a game? Funny, the most dynamic playmaker on offense rushed the ball two times for 12 yards, yet Jefferson ran it nine times for a whopping 2.3 yards per carry. Here’s an idea, let the quarterback throw and let the backs and receivers run with it. There’s your simplified offense for you.
There’s only so much that can be said or written. There’s no doubt that the young men that suit up in the purple and gold give their all and prepare hard each week. Including the quarterback. But sometimes change is good. Look at Florida this past weekend. A freshman came off the bench for a little spark and scored six touchdowns. That’s why it never hurts to just give it a try. You never know what you may get.
Beyond all this mess with the offense, we’re missing out on the good things that this team is doing. The Tigers are 4-0. The defense is relentless. We have a defensive back that is a Heisman hopeful; another that screams Freshman All-American. The best kicker and special teams in the country. All positive things that can turn an ordinary season into a special one. So, now let’s see if the offense can turn things around.