This week, the conversation following LSU's loss to Wisconsin is can Les Miles and Cam Cameron get it done? Is it time to look elsewhere from Brandon Harris at quarterback? Where were those offensive changes that were talked about?
LSU's offense averaged 5.14 yards per play against Wisconsin, but mustered one offensive touchdown and turned the ball over three times in critical points of the game.
Wisconsin outphysicaled LSU. Outside of a couple Leonard Fournette runs, LSU's offense threw a few jabs, but never delivered a roundhouse kick. Defensively, the Badgers flew to the ball, confused LSU's offensive line and played more aggressive than LSU. The defense set the tone for Wisconsin for the entire game.
The problems LSU has offensively lie in two areas — execution and quantity. Quantity? Where is he going with this? Hang on.
Execution lies with the players
There are clear, quick-fix execution issues that the players can fix. If they can't, LSU is in even more trouble and we'll be seeing other playmakers on the field for the Tigers. Executing correctly can cover a lot of the deficiencies in my next problem area.
The offensive line needs to communicate better. K.J. Malone owned that his pass protection adjustment on the final interception wasn't made loud enough for William Clapp to hear. That's unacceptable. I doubt Malone will forget to be loud at Auburn in a few weeks.
Danny Etling is waiting in the wings and Miles said takes first-string snaps with the offense in practice. On Saturday against Jacksonville State, he'll likely get first-string snaps in the game at some point. It's time LSU at least sees in a game atmosphere, what Etling brings.
Malachi, you gotta want to come down with that jump ball down the sideline late in the first half. It was taken from you. For all the NFL talent you have, gotta make that play. You know what they say about big-time players in big-time games.
Derrius Guice, keep your head up. Two carries for three yards and a fumble wasn't what any of us envisioned for you last week. Be ready to rock when the Tigers need you.
I'm by no means defending Miles for what LSU trotted out offensively against Wisconsin and putting this all on the players. There's onus on both sides. We'll get to that now.
Quantity of quality play calls
It's true that most everything the Tigers should be doing offensively is in the playbook. I'm still looking for a running back screen to actually be called though.
It took until just over four minutes left in the third quarter for LSU to run a bubble screen to Travin Dural that went for a touchdown. The second time LSU ran a quick screen, Dural went for a first down with LSU backed up against its endzone. Why'd it take so long?
Cameron has to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers quickly. Harris to Dupre on the curl routes works, if executed. The bubble screens have proven to work. Go to it more often.
It's quantity of quality play calls versus what's actually in the playbook. Like Dupre said before the season, you won't see LSU change what they are, but you will see how LSU gets Harris in a groove. Give Harris more opportunities to actually do so.
That's what I didn't see against Wisconsin though. Outside of a short crossing route to Dural, who went for a first down, Harris and the LSU offense didn't exactly get anything going to help Harris. That plagued them the entire game.
It's on Cameron to call plays to get Harris going. If Harris can't get going, this one-dimensional offense will continue to struggle.
With more offensive struggles, it won't just be time to look at who's executing the plays, but it'll be time to look at who's calling the plays.
If LSU has to examine that, it'll likely be too late to save an LSU season that as of right now, can still be special.
The quantity of quality play calling against Jacksonville State will tell us a lot about what to expect from LSU the rest of this season.
Video: Every Harris throw vs. Wisconsin