Matt Canada didn’t need a lengthy discussion or debate about how to fix the LSU offense’s early woes.
The first-year offensive coordinator knew what he wanted to say before he ever walked into the coaches meeting Monday morning.
Canada said it might be time to simplify the offense.
“We have had that discussion about simplifying things,” coach Ed Orgeron said. “First thing Matt came up with was, ‘Coach, we’ve got too much in.’
“We need to simplify. We’re going to streamline what we’re doing and do what our players do best, which is play LSU football.”
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Since Canada took over the offense this spring, the Tigers have instituted a dramatically different scheme than they have employed in the past, especially along the offensive line.
The first offensive play of the opener against BYU, LSU had its entire offensive line swap sides with the exception of center Will Clapp.
In that game, tackles KJ Malone and Toby Weathersby shifted five times each.
That trend continued the past three weeks as LSU typically shifts several times every drive.
But with such young, inexperienced players, particularly at the guards, struggling to handle the communication responsibilities that come with all the shifts and changes, LSU is considering simplifying the offense.
LSU center Will Clapp said coaches had not told players of any changes to the offense before Monday’s practice, but he’s previously echoed Orgeron’s concerns of communication issues along the line.
“There are some things that happened on Saturday, guys went one way and other guys went the other (way),” Clapp said, referring specifically to if personal changes alone could be a solution. “That’s something we need to correct. I don’t think it’s anything about who’s playing where. But we just need to make sure everybody is on the same page, and when we have a protection call, everybody follows their protection.”
Clapp also downplayed the effect the shifts have on the line, saying most of them are predetermined before they line up and are not calls made once they are set.
But Orgeron suggested the changes will come, regardless.
One of the major problems is that the guards, with first-year starter Garrett Brumfield on the left side and a rotation of as many as three players — none of which have much experience — on the right.
True freshman Ed Ingram is expected to be the starter Saturday, Orgeron said, but sophomore Adrian Magee was thrown into the mix last weekend against Syracuse.
“(Magee) did well,” Orgeron said. “He was assignment sound. He got turned a little bit on this technique. He hadn't played in a while. He was a little rusty on his technique. I thought his assignments were good. He did a good job of getting to the second level. Gave us some stability there. But he had some technical errors that I know coach (Jeff) Grimes is going to fix.”
As late as the middle of July at SEC media days, LSU running back Derrius Guice said the offense was still getting "confused" by some of the pre-snap calls, despite Canada claiming it was the easiest offense in America in the spring.
Players have since fallen into the official party line.
“I don’t think our offense is a super complicated one,” said quarterback Danny Etling. “I think it’s just a regular offense. We have a lot of options to do different things at different times. I think it’s something we’ll continue to keep growing into.
"But I thought we made strides in different areas and aspects of our offense on Saturday, and then we fell back into some things that were not so good.”