Like much of the college football world, the CBS eye is on LSU heading into this season, the Tigers’ first full year under coach Ed Orgeron.
Gary Danielson, the network’s longtime Southeastern Conference analyst, said the program had become stale under former coach Les Miles, especially on offense.
“I think it made sense for Ed” to become the coach, Danielson said Thursday on a CBS teleconference. “I watched the final chapter with Les, who we all enjoyed covering, and how the team lost confidence in Les’ program. They stopped believing in his structure. They didn’t score enough points.
“Athletes find it hard to blame themselves. Since they were 12, they’ve been told they were the greatest in the world. Then they get to LSU, and they couldn’t score points or throw the ball well enough. They hear criticism and start to question the whole program. Ed very smartly sold his management style to go out and hire the best offensive coordinator (Matt Canada), like they got the best defensive coordinator (Dave Aranda) a year ago.”
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Danielson said LSU almost can’t help but improve offensively if the Tigers, who have been dogged by offensive line losses, can stay healthy.
“If they stay healthy, they can be much improved on offense,” Danielson said. “My biggest question mark is, it isn’t the same dominant offensive line from the last four or five years. Before, that was a given, but I don’t see that this year.”
CBS analyst Rick Neuheisel said getting the hang of Canada’s new offense, a significant departure from LSU attacks of seasons past, will be more of an adjustment than learning Aranda’s defense was last year.
“Because there are more moving parts, offenses always take a little longer,” Neuheisel said.
That said, Neuheisel liked what he saw of Canada’s offense last year at Pittsburgh.
“They had a transfer quarterback (Nathan Peterman, from Tennessee) and they mixed (run-pass option) into their traditional offense,” Neuheisel said. “They got in some shootouts, but they certainly had darned good showings on offense.
Foster Moreau’s mother told him to sleep in.
“Now he’s going to LSU, where there’s lots of talent, whether it’s D.J. Chark (at receiver) or whoever. But he starts with a guy named Derrius Guice, who we all think is a special player, and an experienced guy in Danny Etling. If he can put the pieces together with the skill they have on the bayou, it could be really fun to watch.”
Danielson will call SEC games with new play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler, who was also on the teleconference. Nessler, formerly with ESPN, takes over from longtime play-by-play man Verne Lundquist, who went into semi-retirement.
“It’s one of our favorite places to call a game,” Nessler said of Tiger Stadium.