5 LSU players who would have benefitted the most in a modern offense
For years, LSU fans were stuck watching a dreary and outdated offense. It’s what eventually led to Les Miles’ firing at LSU as the Tigers fell behind on the offensive side of the ball.
Miles just wanted to turn around and hand it off. There wasn’t much creativity, either. When the Tigers did have successful passing attacks under Miles, like in 2013, it was a scheme that relied on talented receivers winning their routes.
When it worked, it worked. There were times LSU was able to overpower teams and run the ball at will.
When it was paired with an elite defense and fantastic starting field position, it was fine too. LSU didn’t have a prolific passing attack in 2011 and Miles’ group still managed to win the SEC.
But the sport caught up with them, and it got tiring. LSU had too much talent to be doing that on offense and it wasn’t going to work in the SEC.
We know the story. Miles was fired, Ed Orgeron was hired and he brought a modern offense to LSU. Plenty of players in the Miles era could have benefitted from a similar attack.
Here are five players that would have had more success had they arrived at LSU just a little later.
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[autotag]Malachi Dupre[/autotag] was one of the crown jewels of the 2014 recruiting class. It was the second-best class in the country, and along with Dupre, it featured the likes of [autotag]Leonard Fournette[/autotag] and [autotag]Jamal Adams[/autotag].
According to the 247Sports Composite, Dupre was the second-best receiving recruit in the country.
But he’d be joining an LSU offense that was about to enter QB purgatory. [autotag]Anthony Jennings[/autotag] took over in 2014 and struggled. [autotag]Brandon Harris[/autotag] had some success in 2015 but was eventually benched the next year.
Danny Etling brought some stability but didn’t scare teams. In 2016, with Etling, Dupre had one of the best 25 receiving grades in the Power Five according to Pro Football Focus. He capped his career with a 139-yard performance in the Citrus Bowl.
Dupre was a steady contributor for three years at LSU. The talent was always evident, but he never got the chance to play with a consistent quarterback. Had Dupre gotten that opportunity, I think we would have seen a more prolific career.
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Travin Dural’s speed was off the charts. Even with LSU’s struggles at QB, he remained a threat to take one 80 yards to the house.
In 2015, he led the SEC in yards per catch with 19.7 and was third in yards per route run. Despite that efficiency, he only had 531 yards on the year in 10 games.
LSU needed big plays and could have used Dural to stretch the defense. Fournette faced crowded box after crowded box in 2015 and that was because LSU’s coaching staff didn’t know how to use a guy like Dural.
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Randle had a good career at LSU. He was the team’s leading receiver in 2011 and ranked third in the SEC in receiving yards and touchdowns.
He finished his career at LSU with 1,634 yards and 13 touchdowns.
But as a recruit, Randle was the top receiver in the country and the eighth-best player overall per 247Sports. He declared early and was a second-round pick, despite not having a 1,000 season. Considering LSU’s offense, he met expectations.
In a modern offense that aired it out, I think Randle would be a household name at LSU.
Imagine a guy with that talent, who was good enough to play in the NFL, catching passes from [autotag]Joe Burrow[/autotag]. Even in the last couple of years with [autotag]Max Johnson[/autotag] and [autotag]Jayden Daniels[/autotag], Randle could have hit the 1,000-yard mark.
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Like Randle, Toliver was the top receiver recruit in the country. He played right away, appearing in 14 games as a true freshman. His best year came in 2009 when he caught 53 passes for 735 yards.
He had a solid career, but playing that offense never offered the opportunity to pile up the stats he could have. He shared the field with Randle in 2010. LSU had two top receiving recruits out there, but ranked just 45th in points per game.
The Tigers still won 10 games, but that offense could have been much more.
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Smith’s name isn’t as big as some as the others on this list. He never caught more than 10 passes in a season. But he was an athletic tight end, and fans were always waiting on him to breakout.
Under Miles, LSU never made the tight end a priority. They were never really involved in the passing game. In an offense that made it a point to work in the tight ends, Smith could have been a dangerous threat.