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Clinic Talk: The LSU Offense in 2018

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A complete guess on their scheme, but Burrow has the talent

Ohio State v Rutgers Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Joe Burrow is the starting quarterback of the LSU Tigers and LSU’s quarterback room dissipated instantly upon the news. The Tigers quarterbacks are now Burrow and the young but strong armed Myles Brennan. Burrow is a graduate transfer from THE Ohio State University where he played a backup role to JT Barrett and was beaten out by Dwayne Haskins for the job this past spring.

Burrow is a six-foot-three, 208 pound former four-star prospect that while he’s labeled a pro style quarterback does have the athleticism to move the pocket and run for a first down if needed. I expect to see the LSU offense look all too familiar to the style Ed Orgeron and Steve Ensminger employed back after Les Miles was fired and Oregeron was named the interim head coach. Burrow, from a football family, understands the pressure to succeed in Baton Rouge.


Crossing Routes

On this extremely tight double shallow cross above, Burrow shows excellent vision, footwork, and accuracy. As pressure creeps upon him from the backside, Burrow steps up in the pocket while keeping his eyes on the safety. Burrow shows poise as a passer by waiting for the receiver to pass through the window and get into space and his accuracy is there as he leads the receiver but not too far to slow his momentum.

Burrow, however, is much like Cardale Jones in that he can pick up yards with his legs but he’s not quite the battering ram singlewing quarterback that Tim Tebow or JT Barrett could provide Urban Meyer in his ground-and-pound the quarterback offense. Coach Meyer prefers running quarterbacks and while Burrow could’ve been the throwing mechanism and JK Dobbins the one rushing for 100+ yards per game Meyer’s staff went with the more mobile Haskins.


Back Shoulder Fade

Showing poise in the pocket, Burrow stands in and delivers a beautiful ball to the receiver on his back shoulder. Back shoulder throws are difficult but Burrow shows his touch to place it high and away, so that the defensive back couldn’t make a play on it, while also taking a little off the throw and making it a catchable ball.

Look at Burrow’s eyes on the play. He stares down the safety which keeps him in the middle of the field. Burrow flashes his hips right, then flips them late to the left and throws the fade. This got the safety to flip his hips and move to the top of the screen basically taking himself out of the play with Burrow’s great head and hip fake.

Danny Etling was never going to go out and win a football game with his arm, and with the Tigers losing 2,000 rushing yards to the NFL and graduation they need a quarterback that can make plays and keep the offense moving.


LSU Spring Offense 2018

The Tigers and new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger showed in the spring game that they do intend to play more spread football and in the shotgun more in 2018. Sure, the Tigers still came out in some heavier sets with tight ends and even fullbacks but the 10 personnel (one back, no tight ends) groupings were common, too.

The hope will be that LSU wants to do for Burrow what Rob Chudzinski didn’t do for Brock Berlin when he transferred to Miami from Florida. Chudzinkski tried to pigeon hole Berlin into his more pro style offense, but Berlin was a shotgun passer that needed to take his drops from the shotgun and it improved his reads as far as experience both as a prep and in college. Burrow, too, is used to the shotgun and spread out formations in the OSU offense.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a local from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge and played sparingly in 2017. He’ll be the feature back, from what we can assume. Tight end Foster Moreau has raved about Burrow and the six-foot-six, 256 pound athlete caught three of Etling’s sixteen touchdowns a year ago.

In the formation above, the Tigers ran a bunched set and called play-action hitting the bunched receiver in the flats. Burrow won’t have to settle for as many safe check downs as he has the accuracy and vision to make big plays.

I will leave you with this GIF of the LSU pocket and what their spring quarterbacks did in it and what Burrow does in similar pockets above. While Justin McMillan panics and scrambles Burrow shows that he will step up underneath the rush and make the throws needed to keep drives going and pick up big first downs.


Summary

First of all, I can’t believe the college football season is back, the ‘Canes are a top 10 caliber program again, and are facing off in week one against the LSU Tigers. Miami has the clear edge of coaching advantage, the better offense, and an equally strong defense. However, Joe Burrow and Ensminger give the Tigers a bit of a wildcard as there aren’t as many easily identifiable tendencies that LSU can see on Miami’s film with the offensive staff returning in tact and Malik Rosier back behind center.

To the contrary, the Tigers are playing a quarterback that’s hardly taken a meaningful snap in college football. When Manny Diaz starts dialing up pressure will Burrow remain as comfortable as he was in a controlled scrimmage? I don’t think so and Miami will dial it up, rattle him, and come away with the victory.

Miami- 27

LSU- 10