30 days, 30 topics inside the world of LSU football.
TSD is previewing and analyzing the 2014 edition of the Tigers from every angle, bringing you a daily dose of "Summer Session" each weekday through June 11, three days before the unofficial kickoff to football season at SEC Media Days.
Be sure to check the bottom of this post for links to our previous 10 stories.
TODAY'S SESSION: OFFENSIVE OVERHAUL?
It's been well documented LSU now has two quarterbacks at the front of the depth chart both capable of hurting opposing defenses in the run game. The operative question, however, still remains: Will Cam Cameron overhaul his offense to accommodate their talents?
If spring ball was any indicator, the answer is not really but there will be some new wrinkles. Here's what I wrote on the subject on April 14, shortly after the spring game.
Yes, coordinator Cam Cameron installed and drilled his signal callers on the read-option, but we didn't see it in the spring game (as expected). There was also a higher percentage of plays run from the Shotgun and even sometimes from what appeared to be a Pistol formation look. So the Tigers may be evolving away from being predominantly pro-set, but it was pretty obvious Cameron hasn't put in the whole enchilada yet. One area where we did see change was in the targets. Tight ends and backs accounted for 14 of the 21 catches in the spring game. Of course this doesn't as much represent an offensive movement as much as young quarterbacks who are keen on the check-down and no longer have the likes of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham toasting DBs.
What's all this mean now that we've had two more months to process it? Essentially Cameron can expand the playbook to different dimensions, allowing LSU to attack certain defenses with the threat of a quarterback run/keep, but the Tigers aren't going to abandon their strengths – running with talented tailbacks behind a big, strong offensive line and making teams pay in play-action.
The other important thing to remember is that Brandon Harris has a gun under center. LSU's true freshman from Bossier City, in a battle with sophomore Anthony Jennings for the starting job, is still very much trying to hone his accuracy and struggles at times in the short-to-intermediate passing game, but he can absolutely chunk it downfield … and with some touch, too.
So when you think about what Les Miles – who more or less shares a brain with Cameron offensively – prefers to do in the passing game, Harris allows Miles to keep that downfield element in the offense. Don't look for them to thumb their nose at that potential.
Where I suspect there will be the most change, though not an overhaul necessarily, is in the packaging.
LSU is likely to attack defenses from different looks and formations and with different personnel than Tiger fans have become accustomed to in recent years. Part of that is strategy and part of that is adapting to where the offense's strengths are. When you have questions at receiver, you don't go three- and four-wide as often. You use H-backs, and two-back systems and wing backs, all of which LSU has in abundance (think Melvin Jones, Desean Smith, Tony Upchurch and multiple combinations of the four scholarship tailbacks).
In that respect I think the Tigers have a chance to affect and dictate defensive alignments to their advantage, but I would expect the end result (scheme/concept) won't vary too much from years past. The runs and play-actions may not always come from I-formation and two-tight sets, but backs will run and receivers will get a crack at getting open down the field and near the sidelines when defenses commit to eight in the box.