Having a nervous breakdown, drives me insaaaaaaane!!!!!"
No, that's not a Robert Plant falsetto backed by Jimmy Page riffs. That's LSU DC John Chavis last Saturday after the drumming laid on his defense by MSU QB(and Louisiana native) Dak Prescott. In LSU's lockeroom every level of defensive personnel sang the same chorus. "We just didn't communicate well", said one defensive lineman. "We lacked communication on some key plays", an LSU linebacker said on tape. "We just had some communication breakdowns", said Jalen Mills, LSU's junior and most experienced member of the secondary. A secondary that was supposed to be the strength of the defense this season.
If Jalen Mills name sounds familiar it's because he was the LSU DB seen jumping up and down in disgust last season during similar defensive collapses against Georgia, Ole Miss and Arkansas. UGA and Ole Miss resulted in season killing losses. The reason for the collapses? Communication breakdowns.
It seems to me that when a defense continues to have the same problems from one season into the next, then either the players just aren't good enough or the system is too complicated. The defense is loaded with four and five star recruits. These players were recognized by scouts throughout the country as some of the best coming out of high school. Frank Herron, a five star DE from Memphis. Greg Gilmore, the #1 D-lineman form North Carolina. Kendall Beckwith, a four star LB form LA, top 5 in the country. Tre White, a five star DB from LA and Rashard Robinson, a standout CB from talent rich Florida.
Some say LSU missed on those high profile recruits. No way! Sure every class has their busts, but usually the highly touted recruits pan out and play to their high school rankings. At least at Bama they do.
Some say the recruits are still young. Attrition has hit the defense and the offense so hard, it will take time to recover. I ain't buying it. Texas A&M lost a Heisman winning QB, a left tackle picked in the top ten of the NFL draft and a starting RB. They start this season with a sophomore QB with zero starts on the road in top ten ranked South Carolina and put up 52 points. That's with a true sophomore with less starts than LSU true sophomore QB Anthony Jennings. That's with a true freshman WR and redshirt freshman WR, and new starting left tackle, right tackle and RB.
Attrition has hit LSU, but the OL is as experienced as any in the SEC. They return a QB with two springs, two falls and a bowl season running the offense. Also returned are two senior RBs and FB, a third year Sophomore WR and a senior TE.
So what's my point? I don't know.
I do know that other schools seem to be doing fine with similar experienced talent. I do know that other schools are running twenty first century offenses successfully with lesser rated talent than LSU. These schools are all coached by men less than 60.
Les Miles isn't less than 60. He also isn't a bad coach. He's an old school coach caught in a new school revolution. He's running an offense no longer being used in high school. Therefore he's recruiting round pegs for square holes. He's the old guy in the club. Denny Terrio on late night infomercials hustling 70's disco.
As for Chavis and the communication breakdowns. All I can say is defense is so passé now. All the communication in the world wasn't stopping MSU spreading the defense beyond the numbers. Until some defensive genius figures out a way to slow these jetset offenses down, defensive coordinators should concede between the twenties and try to hold teams to field goals. Otherwise high powered offenses are the wave of the future.
And the future is now.