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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
LSUODYSSEY.COM reported on 12/23 that LSU were interviewing Graham Harrell for the position and that a successful early interview has the USC playcaller in the ascendancy:
Harrell, the former Texas Tech record-shatterer is only 35 years old and his NFL playing career may have been merely as a backup, yet he still won a Super Bowl behind Aaron Rodgers' 2010/11 Packers (additionally alongside LSU's Matt Flynn) and had a decent career before switching vocations behind the headset.
At USC, Harrell has taken flight for 33.3 points per game behind QB Kedon Slodis, his Air Raid offensive set up pumped out 7.2 yards per pass (319 per game) and clocked 449 yards of offense each time the Trojans stepped on the field.
This was a big improvement from the USC offense, boosting the team's chances overall from last year's 8-5 and helping them to a top 20 ranking for most of the campaign (climbing all the way to #13), enjoying an undefeated 5-0 regular season and a slot in the Pac 12 title game (losing 31-24 to Oregon).
However, there are some worrying signs LSU fans must pay attention to:
Due to Harrell's high octane Big 12 college career, he favors a certain flavor on offense which eschews balance for the most part: this style of top gun offense devalues running backs / the running game completely and USC were also frequent wild cards in the red zone...pretty much everything LSU's 2020 offense sucked at as well.
Harrell's offense may be soft on rushing intensity and short on balance (265 passing attempts to 184 rushes) as the Trojans eeked out a flimsy 97.3 total rushing yards per 60 minutes as their leading rusher finished on 238 yards overall alongside only 3 rushers over 100 yards... (compared to 2019's 4 rushers over 300 yards):
This is a unit who ranked 86th in red zone performance (a regression from 2019's 66th ranking: 21/34 overall TD to attempts ratio, 27/34 in total trips earning points) while converting on 3rd down 43% of the time (LSU's 2020 offense finished at 34% to give you an idea, although remember...USC play in the more defensively inept Pac 12).
Do we want a repeat of our one-dimensional offense from last year?
If so, we may as well hire Scott Linehan for offensive coordinator....
Remember, LSU's 2019 juggernaut offense put up the most points, total yards and destroyed four #1 ranked defenses...yet this domination was committed in full (without any defense stopping LSU's 2019 freight train of Saban Stain) because Clyde Edwards-Helaire's contributions were just as key as Ja'Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson's big time catches:
Utilizing a balanced approach, 567 passing plays to 513 rushing attempts paints the perfect picture of exactly why Steve Ensminger, Joe Brady and Joe Burrow's 2019 renegade offense ripped the esophagus out of every collegiate blue blood from Norman to Tuscaloosa to Clemson, South Carolina...
Rushing for 166 yards per game, 32 total rushing touchdowns and 2,818 yards....LSU had 4 rushers score 4+ TDs, including two then-freshmen (Davis-Price & Emery) as well as their Heisman winning quarterback Joseph Burrow (his final rushing score being the monumental, come from behind goal-line rush vs Clemson)...
Frankly, the OC and DC hires can be all about innovation and aerial fireworks, of course....but if they're not about back to basics, fundamentally sound, disciplined football as an establishment for this young roster to build from, then Orgeron will know they're the wrong hire.
Coach O now has the blueprint: Matt Canada as the OC he should've never hired and of course, Bo Pelini now as the DC who's red flags were chameleonic and catastrophic...
In the end, Pelini actually should've been a success, it's just Orgeron's gamble didn't pay off due to the way Pelini responded from big gains, bad plays, losing personnel or losing games....he constantly failed to adjust or realize the bigger picture for his young defenders...
That's what Orgeron must sniff out:
We look for innovation, hunger, intensity, energy, understanding of youth....but more than philosophy, age or scheme, the biggest prerequisite for becoming LSU's offensive / defensive coordinator?
How will they respond when the shit hits the fan?
Will these men know how to use LSU's bountiful array of talent?
Will they be willing to adjust their scheme to the players?
Can they identify the best possible talent?
Will these new coordinators give everything?
Are they ready for the SEC????
.....Are they ready for LSU???
Is Graham Harrell???
BLACK LIVES MATTER
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2020 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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