SPRING STORYLINE: The Tony Ball Effect

New wide receivers coach Tony Ball has an extremely talented group of pass catchers. Can he be the guy to take them to an elite level and help make this LSU offense into a legitimate threat through the air?

Only a few days remain until LSU gets back on the football field for the start of spring practice.

We’ve been previewing the Tigers from every angle for the last couple weeks to provide you with all you need to know for the spring. Be sure to catch up on our countdown of LSU’s 10 best players. Today we highlighted No. 3 Jamal Adams.

We’ve also been tackling some storylines for LSU entering the spring. So far we’ve discussed:

Kevin Steele’s new defensive scheme

Impact of the four early enrollees

Today we’ll take a look at the newest addition to LSU’s coaching staff. What impact will Tony Ball have on this highly talented group of wide receivers?


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When LSU announced Adam Henry was heading back to the NFL, my immediate reaction was that LSU would hire a recruiter to replace him. Henry was one of the best on the staff, and his connections in Houston and Dallas had proved beneficial in the past. But LSU went the opposite direction with former Georgia receivers coach Tony Ball.

Known as a better technician and position coach than recruiter, some LSU fans scoffed at the idea of bringing Ball to the staff. But now that we’re close to Ball’s debut on the practice field, I’ve started to believe that he’s the perfect coach for this year’s team.

LSU’s passing attack in 2015 has to improve on last season. B/R’s Barrett Sallee went so far as to say that Cam Cameron’s on the hot seat, especially if he can’t get his quarterbacks to a competitive level. But the wide receivers aren’t exempt from blame for the passing ineptitude in 2014.

Their timing was off, their routes weren’t crisp and too many balls were dropped that should’ve been caught. That’s where Ball can come in.

While his lack of recruiting prowess may be a concern long-term, his success as a teacher should be a big boost in the short-term. The pressure’s on to win now, and the Tigers are a successful passing attack away from being legitimate contenders for a national championship.

And it’s because LSU has recruited so well in the past few classes that Ball steps into the perfect situation. Henry got the Tigers to this point by landing guys like Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and John Diarse. Now it’s time for someone to take their games to another level.

One of the most intriguing things to watch this spring will be how quickly the receivers adjust to their new coach. With a lot of eyes on the quarterbacks, an improved corps of pass catchers can make those QBs look even better. They certainly have the talent, and based on Ball’s track record, you’d have to imagine he’s capable of making them even better.

LSU has the benefit of returning all of its top receivers from a year ago. Another year of experience will certainly help, and if Ball’s up to the challenge, he can take those receivers and make them the weapon LSU needs for its offense to get where it should be.


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