Looking for an Attack

Times are tough for an LSU offense that is not just worst in the Southeastern Conference, but ranked 109th in the nation.

After he finished with 95 yards against Georgia, Charles Scott passed the 2,000-yard plateau for his career.

During his time with the Tiger program, Scott has staked his claim as one of the greatest runners to put on an LSU jersey.

In 2008, the Saline native started all 13 games at tailback and led the SEC with 18 rushing touchdowns, also the second highest mark in school history.

This season, Scott has two touchdowns. Both came in the final few minutes of the game in Athens.

When Scott carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards against Florida, head coach Les Miles questioned aloud at the post game press conference why his staff had not given the ball to No. 32 more often.

When Scott was asked this week about Miles’ comments, he agreed – and added his thoughts on when the Tiger offense is at their best.

“I think we are most effective in the one-back run,” Scott said. “Then we play action, catch someone biting on the run. That should be the foundation; that should be the start. We have to do what is needed at the moment, what is need to win the game. But, that is what we are.

“We establish the run to set up the pass.”

The rushing offense, which has averaged just short of 124 yards through six games, is ranked 88th in the NCAA. That would be good for worst in the conference if Georgia were not also in a slump. The Bulldogs average a little over 97 rushing yards a game.

Where to begin fixing something that, depending on whom you ask around the Tiger football facility, may or may not be completely broken?

For Scott, and the rest of the LSU players and coaches, the outcome of the Florida night has people stepping forward and owning up to responsibilities, and seeing what must be done to change the faults of the past.

“We want everyone to get better, so everyone is stepping up like a man and taking responsibility for what they need to do,” Scott said. “We look at the things we did wrong and are to the point where we are calling guys out.

“[Running backs] Coach [Larry] Porter came to me and he called me out,” he added. “Everyone got their criticism. We are acting like grown ups and telling each other what we need to do.”

According to Miles, the offensive line, which has failed to live up to the high expectations he set up for the 2009 campaign, is not completely lost.

“Several of the guys had very big days [against Florida], and blocked very well,” he said. “We just have to correct some bits and pieces.”

For Scott, the thought of only 11 out of 120 NCAA programs having less effective offenses than LSU is almost unfathomable.

“It is embarrassing,” he said. “And the defense has given us opportunities. We have so many weapons that we can do it all, it is just about getting it done.”

Six games in, not much has gotten done for Gary Crowton, one of the most respected offensive minds in the country, and his Tigers.

Is the direction of success on the ground? Miles seemed to think so last Saturday night, as did Scott on Tuesday.

Or, will it remain a passing offense, with the ball in the hands of sophomore Jordan Jefferson and hopefully into the arms of a plethora of athletic LSU wide receivers?

Though the glass half-empty Tiger fans question if Jefferson can get the job done, the LSU headman has little doubt.

“He is the leader of our team,” Miles said on Tuesday.

One thing is certain, Jefferson will remain the quarterback, and at this point it appears that freshman Russell Shepard, who has substituted in for Jefferson in what has evolved into obvious running situations, will be not getting vertical with his game.

On a somewhat related note, expect the option attack with Jefferson, which at times has proven ineffective for the Tigers, to also stay.

“I think it is something that Jordan can do, because I think it is a weapon that he is good at,” Miles said. “There will always be a piece of our game plan that will involve him operating that weapon.”

As for how to balance it all out remains to be seen.

With a bye before Auburn heads to town next Saturday, Miles and his staff have some time to think about it.

“We are all scratching our heads and asking how to make it better.”

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