LSU’s offense has the potential to become a power, showing what it is capable of in the win over Louisville. Now, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada must take it to the next level.
While most of the college football world spent the last three or so weeks arguing back and forth over whether a player like LSU running back Leonard Fournette sitting out his bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft was selfish or smart, the Tigers and head coach Ed Orgeron focused on fixing an offense that was extremely stagnant at times this season.
It paid off, as the Tigers came out and put on one of their best efforts of the season during a 29-9 win over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl.
Fournette might have been the star for LSU, but Derrius Guice was the workhorse in the backfield and showed why his name will be mentioned in preseason Heisman Trophy talk going into 2017; throwing defenders to the ground while punishing the Cardinals for 230 total yards and two touchdowns, being used in a myriad of ways, including kick returns.
The breakout player of the game was wide receiver Malachi Dupre who, given his height (6’4) and speed, would be a big target in new offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offense next season if he decides to return for his senior season. Dupre’s lack of eye-popping statistics – 139 of his 454 receiving yards on the season came in the bowl game – mostly has been due to the lack of quality play at quarterback and an offensive game plan that at times seemed stuck in the 1970s.
Of course, the Tigers’ offensive output in the bowl victory and against Texas A&M in the regular-season closer could all be a mirage, as we have seen many times over the past several years a productive offensive game be followed by impotence.
That pattern was why Les Miles got the hook, and why one of the biggest, if not most important, moves that Orgeron promised when interviewing for the permanent head coaching position was to bring in an offensive mind like Canada who can harness all of the skills that the Tigers possess and turn it into a machine.
If Danny Etling is not the answer at quarterback, the Tigers will look toward incoming freshmen Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, who both enter with big ratings and arms.
The possibilities are endless for the new regime in Baton Rouge, and a threatening offense would make the Tigers a national contender again.
No pressure, Coach Canada.