LSU football’s current state of affairs stems from many issues
As I sit here and consider what has already occurred and what’s to come at LSU, I can share my current thoughts.
It has to be asked. Are the wheels coming off or is it that the lugs just need tightening? If so, what is the solution?
Actually it’s easy to identify but challenging to achieve. The team, as a whole, will need to strive to take positive steps and to eliminate mistakes. Positive plays on both sides of the ball build confidence throughout a program. On the flip side, mental errors can be totally deflating.
It matters not who the opponent is. The offense’s goal is to move the chains and produce points on every drive. The defense’s chore is to do whatever it takes to impede the progress of the opposition. Sounds simple? It’s not. And the better the competition, the tougher the assignment.
LSU football is perceived to be the Big Brother in the state of Louisiana. Yet the Tigers trail Tulane, Louisiana Tech and UL-Lafayette in total yards, passing yards and rushing yards.
It appears that there is not a total connection between coaching staff and the players. There may be some confusion. The squad needs leaders within the rosters as well. Just because a player has been on the roster as many as five seasons doesn’t qualify that said individual to command attention. It must be earned.
I’ve heard Nick Saban, Sean Payton and many other successful coaches state emphatically that if it requires a player to go through numerous reps before the information sticks, ‘We can’t wait. We can’t hold up the rest of the players,’ has been the consistent response. Some people, even the most talented ones, learn at their own pace. I’m discussing football players and coaches who may have had a disconnect in getting a point across. Not knowing who to block, who to cover. The mental mistakes are avoidable. It’s compounded when it’s a regular occurrence across a unit or the rosters as a whole.
Although there has been some improvement from week one to week two, would you view the victory over McNeese as a legitimate positive step or Fool’s Gold? Consistent effort throughout the play was still lacking in some areas against an FCS foe. Not holding a block, not running out the route when you know that the ball is not coming your way or shoddy tackling is NEVER an excuse at any level.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit went off on the Tigers on College Gameday last Saturday, citing lack of effort as a major contributor to their recent woes. I concur, to a degree. I also don’t see a killer mentality in the eyes of the players.
I’m not going to call out any player specifically. Frankly, there are far too many culprits right now. The team as a whole has a lot of gelling to do in a hurry.
Much of the running attack responsibility falls on the shoulders of the offensive line. Due to the late arrival of new offensive line coach Brad Davis, there may not have been enough time to develop a rapport and implement his system.
The desired result was to show improvement following the loss to UCLA. The results – 103 total rushing yards against McNeese on a 2.9 yard average – doesn’t qualify enough to check the box on that one.
Some of the responsibility for the substandard ground attack lies with the running backs. That group is responsible to watch film, have a concept of how the play might be blocked, be prepare for where the creases may develop and be adept enough to use their vision and skills to turn a short gain into more.
There are still too many drops by the receivers on catchable throws. Neither the coaches nor the fans want to hear ‘they’re young, they’ll get better’ at this level of program built on the highly rated recruits who fill out the roster. The receivers work all off season both on the field and with the jugs machine, developing their catching skills. No excuses. Catch the ball! Especially the ones that hit your hands or in your chest. Concentrate!
Players with academic issues are also unfathomable. With the best academic advisors and tutors available to student athletes, I cannot imagine how this could occur.
I don’t doubt for a second that the players and coaching staff want to win every game. Is the team preparing adequately enough to attain the desired results?
LSU is currently 1-1. There is a lot of ground yet to cover for the 2021 campaign. College football is supposed to be entertainment but I know that some fans live and die emotionally on a weekly basis depending on how their favorite team performs.
To the diehards I say this. Try not to look too far into the future about how the remaining season may unfold. Take a deep breath. Things should get better. If not, there will be plenty to discuss regarding major changes.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…