According to head coach Les Miles and his staff, the defense has been ahead of the offense throughout the spring, and has been a dominating force. The offense on the other hand had a mountain to climb, and involved more work.
With three new offensive coaches, including offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, and wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy, players and coaches were forced to adjust quickly due to an early spring practice schedule. With a new quarterback, new receivers and a stable of running backs, Miles and his staff have had a lot to work out to say the least.
The principal difference in next year's offense will be the wide-open option. Senior quarterback Matt Flynn said the offense will be more spread out with shorter passes and even an option spread. Expect the quarterback to be in the shot-gun more, with receivers and backs spread across the field.
"We are starting to get the timing down and getting reads down," Flynn said of the option. "Offense is coming real well. Later in the spring, the offense has been doing more things. That says a lot for us."
Flynn said he likes the spread offense, but still expects to line up tight and pound the ball through the middle like in years past.
Senior receiver Early Doucet will likely be Flynn's go-to target, and said he thinks the offense has come a long way since the first day of camp.
"It's nice," Doucet said. "Both quarterbacks can run the ball. It's a good thing to give them a double threat. Being able to run and throw is better."
Defensive players and coaches have bolstered throughout spring practice that the defense was playing better than the offense. Many offensive players however didn't like that the defense was receiving all the credit, especially Doucet.
"They always say that," Doucet said with an aggravated tone. "It's a battle. Its competition out there everyday. They win some, you win some. The reason to have spring ball is to compete. It's good that the defense is playing well, and the offense. It's good to know we can go out there and get the job done."
As for the running game, senior tailback Jacob Hester said he thinks both the running backs and offensive linemen have improved over the past few weeks, and said 2007 will be another season of running back by committee.
Even defensive safety Craig Steltz believes the offense is improving, and thinks the spread offense will benefit the Tigers speed.
"It's a lot more spread out," Steltz said. "A lot of one-on-one plays have to be made. For the offense it's a good deal. If someone missed a tackle or an assignment to could brake lose for a big gain."