It’s the same old song and dance for LSU: death, taxes and an allergy to the forward pass.
At halftime Saturday, Les Miles claimed, “We’ve thrown the ball well,” during a radio interview. In what universe does Miles live to think that what transpired at Lambeau Field constitutes throwing the ball well?
After barely keeping his job last year, Miles didn’t need this to start LSU’s season. Wisconsin 16, LSU 14. If the Badgers had a competent quarterback, it wouldn’t have even been that close. With the exception of turnovers, Wisconsin completely dominated preseason No. 5 LSU, which has superior talent but rarely has a passing game to match.
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris will face a ton of criticism for his 12-of-21 passing, 131-yard, one-touchdown, two-interception performance. He can’t escape the bad pick he threw right to Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon to end the game. It was almost like the defender was his receiver.
What happened next was pathetic. LSU offensive lineman Josh Boutte delivered a vicious cheap shot on Dixon as he celebrated the interception, an act that resulted in an ejection and surely should include a suspension for Boutte. Miles explained to reporters that Boutte claimed he was only trying to make the tackle and thought Dixon was returning the interception. Good luck believing that.
As bad as Harris was on Saturday, this is on Miles. It’s on Miles year after year after year for not having a competent passing game.
There will be people calling this a major upset. While I certainly didn’t see a Wisconsin win coming — and kudos to Paul Chryst and the Badgers for controlling this game and playing with far more poise — let’s stop viewing LSU the way we did before Alabama shut out the Tigers in the 2012 BCS Championship Game.
Why would people think the Tigers are wearing different stripes in 2016, at least enough to rank them No. 5? Miles survived a coup attempt last season; he didn’t suddenly create a competent game plan to throw the ball.
Miles almost got fired because of his offense. So what did he do? He got a new defensive coordinator and kept the same offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. That makes perfect sense.
Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette — a once-in-a-generation type running back — is watching his three years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, go to waste. Once Fournette goes to the NFL, he’s going to love the freedom to finally not run against stacked boxes.
With the exception of Zach Mettenberger, who was a legit quarterback at LSU for two years, it’s incredible that this program with immense talent can’t develop better signal callers. The Tigers don’t even need Mettenberger. Someone like Blake Sims or Jake Coker would do, as Nick Saban managed to win with over the past two seasons at Alabama.
Entering 2016, LSU’s passing yards per game ranked 94th or worse nationally in six of the past seven seasons. Only Air Force, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Army and Navy rate that poorly in passing since 2009.
That’s right. LSU is basically a service academy offense throwing the ball.
This season isn’t over for LSU. It’s one week. But we’ve seen this story before.
LSU has played that exact game Saturday under Miles time after time after time. Sometimes Miles pulls one out of his hat while eating some grass. But in today’s high-scoring world of college football, you can only pull off so many escape acts without fully committing to the forward pass.
Miles told his players there would be no Lambeau Leaps. LSU’s offensive players took it to heart. They didn’t even run before the jump.
Now they’re back to being who we should have known they are: A team that can’t throw. And if you’re a team with national championship aspirations in 2016, that’s about as damning an indictment as you can have.
Source: CBS Sports / Same old story for LSU: Les Miles has no passing game, plenty of problems