Trying to decipher whether poor quarterback play for LSU last season led to poor receiver play, or the other way around, quickly gets to be a chicken-and-egg debate.
Look, the quarterbacks were not up to par. Nobody is arguing that. It's really impossible to when considering the primary starter at the position completed only 48.9 percent of his passes.
But there's also undeniable culpability for the receiving corps. Malachi Dupre readily admits as much.
"I feel like myself and the whole receiving corps plays a big role in that," Dupre responded to a question about building quarterback confidence. "We’ve got to make plays for them. If they put the ball in our area, we have to make the play no matter what.
"I don’t want to say that we ever pointed fingers, but I just feel like we trust each other more. I definitely trust the quarterbacks more than I did, and they trust us more. It’s very obvious. Moving forward that’s going to be a big thing, and I know we’ll keep it going into the fall."
Dupre had a solid debut season last fall, finishing second on the team in receiving yards (318) and touchdowns (five) while leading LSU in yards per reception (22.7). His 112-yard, two-touchdown performance in the spring game signaled he's ready for more as a sophomore.
The John Curtis product shares the same sentiment about LSU's offense as a whole.
"(I learned from the spring game) that we have a very explosive offense and it’s more balanced. We definitely can pass the ball and run the ball. I feel like that’s the big takeaway," he explained. "We’re very confident moving forward, we’re a year older and the freshman class with myself, we’re not freshmen anymore. I feel like we’ve matured big-time."
At the top of the list of ways the wide-outs have made life easier on the quarterbacks this spring is more routinely gaining separation from defensive backs.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron recently gave a nod to the receivers in this department, and Dupre acknowledged it's been a major point of emphasis with new position coach Tony Ball.
"It's just hard work and practicing and Coach Ball teaching us the techniques and stuff. That’s been helping us a lot," continued Dupre. "But he [Cameron] is telling the truth. We have been getting a lot more separation, and in turn that makes the throws for the quarterbacks a lot easier. So it all goes full-circle. It makes the quarterbacks’ confidence go up when the completion percentage goes up, and when we keep getting separation it makes it easier for us to make plays."
Finally, on the transition from Adam Henry to Ball, Dupre concedes there have been good qualities in both receivers coaches. The difference in Ball, though, is similar to what many have proclaimed about new Tiger assistant - Ed Orgeron.
"More energy," Dupre said succinctly on the difference. "Coach Ball and Coach Henry are both great coaches in their own way. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from him for a year, and I still stay in touch with him. But Coach Ball brings more energy. I’m not saying it’s better, but they just have two different personalities. That’s the biggest thing."
All parties involved are hopeful the new energy, more refined technique and natural maturation for a freshman-heavy crew translate into playmakers that revive a floundering passing attack.
What's good for the receivers is good for the quarterbacks is good for the offense. Doesn't matter whether it started with the chicken or the egg.
Dupre: Maturing receivers improving QB play
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