LSU Offense Sputters, But Tigers Fans Can Exhale
If you decided to look at the stats for the LSU L-Club Spring Game, you may have found the results unsettling. You may have even thought they were disappointing.
With such an explosive offense last season, many hoped this year’s LSU group would show a bit of fire in its first test. But with Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris combining for only 367 yards in the air, four touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumbled snap, many of you look at that and immediately thought it was a mediocre showing. I was there, though, and I can tell you that definitely was not the case.
Harris threw for 205 yards on 11 completions with three of those going for touchdowns. He may have fumbled his opening snap, but I think it showed his true character.
The freshman showed composure in the pocket after making that mistake and made some great throws, showing maturity beyond his years. Granted, he did make a few errors, but he came out and put on a performance that made the starting quarterback position his to lose.
The LSU offense is where I thought it would be heading into summer workouts. The quarterback race is up for grabs with Harris catching Jennings. The run game is the main focus with commits Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams not having even yet stepped on campus. The offensive linemen are dominating and are looking stronger than ever as a unit.
The question mark on this offense is at wide receiver.
Travin Dural separated himself from the other receivers with five catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. He is going to be the No. 1 receiver, without a doubt. The battle for the No. 2 slot, however, is wide open.
I can name five players fighting for that spot. Three of those are Leslie, Diarse and Peterson, who were able to "participate" in spring practice. That's a bit of a stretch, however, since all three have battled through injuries during the spring.
The other two are highly praised commits Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn. They can flat-out ball and I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them got a good amount of playing time in their first year.
There is also one position that LSU fans have not seen a lot of action from in the last few years that will be a major part of this offense. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has mentioned that the tight end position will be getting a lot more looks this season, so watch for some names to emerge this fall.
Two guys who will get their fair share of catches are Travis Dickson and DeSean Smith. A sophomore, Smith caught three passes for 45 yards in the spring game, including one for a touchdown. Two other names to look for are commits Jacory Washington and Tony Upchurch.
Washington has a lot of upside and is the prototypical tight end for Cameron’s offensive system. Upchurch is currently a wide receiver commit, but with his size, he could end up transitioning to that end spot.
With all the hoopla that comes with the spring game, nobody should be worried about the LSU offense this season. Harris will be put under a lot of pressure if he wins the starting job, but from what I saw during the spring game, he will do just fine. The running game will continue to be the basis of the offense with two returning backs in Magee and Hilliard, not to mention some extra firepower coming in with Fournette and Williams.
Hopefully, the Tigers can find an answer at wide receiver, but with such a young receiving corps, I see this group growing as the season goes on. The offensive line is going to be the glue that holds the offense together. This front five will set the tone for the offense and I feel they will be able to perform at a high level.
Breathe in, breathe out, Tigers fans. Everything is going to be alright. You have a young group of players who are getting used to the offense and are perfecting their craft each and every day. With a phenomenal coaching staff and an assortment of talent coming in, this year’s offense will be one to remember.