Dig Baton Rouge

Purple & Gold Plans

By Andrew Mongrue
@Andrew_Mongrue

As you do a double take on that headline, let me assure you it’s right. LSU football needs a major strategic plan overhaul for 2016. Let me assure you, I’m here to grab your attention and continue to assess next season as we head into the home stretch of college football recruiting season.

It’s time to forget 2015, another disappointing football season, and plan what needs to happen going into National Signing Day and spring football.

The biggest question right now that needs to be answered is who will be the offensive coordinator. Cam Cameron took his final exam at the AdvoCare Texas Bowl and passed with flying colors, as the Tigers demolished Texas Tech University 56-27.

What grade would I give him? I’ll be generous and give Cameron a B -. Football is a game two halves and LSU’s offense was much more impressive and consistent in the second half.

If LSU wants to have success using Cameron’s pro style offensive scheme then Brandon Harris should not be the Tigers’ quarterback. I think the QB competition needs to be reopened in spring football and believe that Purdue QB transfer Danny will emerge as the favorite.

I also expect freshman Justin McMillan to be very competitive and would go as far to suggest a position change for Anthony Jennings, and maybe one for Harris as well, if he even wants to have a shot in the NFL.

Not a day goes by in Baton Rouge without a Tiger fan griping about LSU’s QB situation and why LSU cannot consistently recruit reliable quarterbacks. I did like the move of Cameron from the booth to the sideline in the Texas Bowl, allowing him to personally interact and consult with the QB’s.

That’s an improvement, but by no means a fix all. We still witnessed Harris’ inaccurate passes and lack of touch and remember Jennings’ lack of versatility in the 2014 season.

Etling has a cannon of the arm and LSU is wasting too many talented receivers with inaccurate passing and a run heavy offense. I can’t blame LSU wide receiver John Diarse for transferring, and I am extremely excited about what the incoming highly touted four WR commits will bring to the Tigers’ receiving corps.

Etling is a Cameron recruit through and through. He and Cameron went to the same high school, and I believe his skills as a pocket passer and his rocket of an arm is the closest thing to Zach Mettenberger that LSU has seen in awhile.

Shifting focus from offense to defense is easy, when LSU’s offensive performance is miles behind their defensive performance the previous two years.

Quite frankly, I could care less that Kevin Steele is gone. I’m more ticked off that for the second straight year LSU has lost a defensive coordinator to an SEC West Foe.

Thankfully, Miles, athletic director Joe Alleva and the rest of the LSU Administration moved swiftly in the hiring process of new defensive coordinator, Aranda.

By looking at Aranda’s resume and the stats his Wisconsin defenses put up during his tenure in Madison, I expect steady top ten defenses again soon in Baton Rouge.

I was never a fan of the Steele hire. Maybe I’m bias, because I’m a huge Ed Orgeron fan, and LSU’s defensive line carried the team this year, but what happened to DBU?

Steele was not even a DC at Alabama when LSU hired him. No one will ever forget when his Clemson defense allowed West Virginia to put up 73 points back in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

I believe LSU’s offense can only improve from here and that its defense will return to dominance once again under Aranda. LSU can truly be a playoff team in 2016, but the Tigers are still lacking the exceptional play at quarterback.

All Tiger fans should be hoping for an open competition at quarterback this spring and maybe even a quality quarterback graduate transfer. Without a reliable threat under center, the Tigers’ postseason ceiling will once again be limited in 2016.

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