Gee, where have we heard this before?

If you’re not reading the great LSU blog As And The Valley Shook as a general rule, you should be.  And right now, with the new hire at defensive coordinator, it’s an especially interesting read if you’ve been a Georgia fan over the past six years.

LSU has gone from a very traditional 4-3 guy in John Chavis to a coach in Kevin Steele who plays multiple fronts.  Sound familiar?  It ought to.  Take this analysis of the 3-4 for starters.

It’s important to lay out the scheme before addressing the question of whether or not LSU can fit these looks. People commonly assume the 3-4 is only what Saban runs, in style and personnel, when that’s far from the truth. There are many variations and possibilities. When Steele tells Lamar Louis they may incorporate 3-4 looks, that may be an easier way of him talking about the 4-3 under, in terms of roles/responsibilities. Louis has played both Sam and Will (weakside) during his time at LSU. Perhaps Steele thinks he may be best deployed as a will in the 4-3 Under, to take advantage of his athleticism. In that sense, he would function much more like a 3-4 inside ‘backer than a true 4-3 Will.

All that talk about 4-3 under, 4-3 over and personnel matches could come straight out of a half-dozen posts pretty much every Georgia blogger was writing about Grantham’s schemes when he showed up to relieve Willie Martinez.  Best get ready for that learning curve, Tigers fans.

Then, how familiar does this sound?

The primary knock on Steele comes from the heat of the moment in gameday situations — when it’s easy for emotions to boil over.

“He’s gotten caught up in the emotions of the game,” said Detillier. “You can lose focus and let one play affect how you call the next one. A coordinator has to have a level head there.”

Dr. B, formerly of the Clemson site Shakin’ the Southland, now available here, echoes those sentiments and says that Steele struggled to teach and translate all his knowledge to players.

“I think that Steele’s overly complex NFL-style set of adjustments led to his downfall,” said Dr. B. “He didn’t simplify his system. He just can’t pare his stuff back enough to communicate it to a player.  I really thought that our defense had too many checks and adjustments to be made on every play, and we suffered paralysis by analysis in every game.”

That’s discouraging to hear when a lot of the talk going around is of adjusting LSU’s current defensive scheme and being “multiple.” As important as simplicity can be on offense it is paramount on defense, where players are already forced into reacting to what the offense is trying to do.

Hey, it’s déjà vu all over again!

Steele and Orgeron are better recruiters than Grantham and his staff were, so it’s not a totally fair comparison, but this has all the makings of an interesting case study for us to follow for the next couple of seasons.  We’ll see how it goes in Red Stick.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

13 responses to “Gee, where have we heard this before?

  1. Brandon (Version1)

    If it does not work out I submit that more LSU fans will be quicker to accurately diagnose the problem than Georgia fans were. Dawg Sports comments during games in Grantham’s tenure were often like the damn twilight zone with people posting stuff like “Grantham is saving us” as we lead 34-31 late third.


    • 3rdandGrantham

      No doubt. Don’t forget the rampant Bobo bashing when we’d lose games by similar scores. I’ve never seen a coach get an ample supply of good will that Grantham received by looking/acting the part of a top DC, even though some of us saw right through his shtick from the beginning. And his confrontation with Franklin was embarrassing; yet many, if not most of the fans ate it up with glee, thus further cementing Grantham’s unbelievably long leach he was afforded.

      In the end, Grantham made total suckers out of many of us, which wasn’t realized by most until he bolted for Louisville, thus removing the emperor’s clothes.


      • Texas Dawg

        Grantham’s good will was mostly due to timing. We had fallen so far under Willie Martinez, that even a “bad Grantham” defense was perceived as an improvement (plus early on he had remarkable on field talent to cover for his inadequacies in schemes/play calling).


    • Russ

      Nah, not if my LSU friends are any barometer. They still bitch that the offense didn’t score the winning drive in a game where the defense gave up 35 points. They sound exactly like the UGA fans I hear. I don’t understand it.


  2. Gonna be hard to improve on Chavis’ results.


    • Bulldog Joe

      Agreed. Strange hire for LSU.

      Defense was not the problem last year for LSU, except the bowl game (when Chavis had already made the decision to leave).

      Unlike Georgia’s situation, LSU’s defense wasn’t broke. So why bring in a 3-4 former NFL guy to change everthing?

      Why are we not hearing about changes to their offense?


  3. BMan

    At least UGA had Bobo’s offense to help stay in some of those scorefests. LSU’s offense doesn’t seem to have the same ability when the defense craps the bed. Do Cajun defenders wave their arms with that funny accent?


  4. Gravidy

    And The Valley Shook.


  5. 69Dawg

    The rumor mill has it that the Chief could read the handwriting on the wall. He couldn’t stand the lack of an offense, not when playing defense is so hard curtsey of the rule book and the spread teams they had to play. Imagine him looking at the O that A&M will have and thinking hell if I can hold the other team to 30 we’ll win them all. At LSU he had to practically hold the other team scoreless to win.


    • Russ

      Yep, exactly what I’ve heard as well. Plus, Miles is constantly on thin ice it seems, and when Chief’s contract extension was listed as only 6 months after Miles leaving, he decided to check out. You think LSU to A&M is an equivalent move laterally? I don’t, but apparently Chief was ready to go.