Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard an LSU coach describe his offensive strategy like this and actually mean it:
“If we can use tempo to our advantage, (force) the defense to defend every blade of grass and getting our speed in space, I think that allows us to have the most success.”
It’s not that LSU has ever lacked for athletes. This is a school that had Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry together for three seasons, and Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice together for two. LSU’s 2016 team–the one that got Les Miles fired midseason–led the SEC with 6.71 yards per play. And yet over the past 10 seasons LSU has finished inside the SEC’s top five in scoring once. The 2018 club, which went 10-3, finished inside the top-10 and won the Fiesta Bowl, finished seventh in the SEC in scoring (32.4 points per game) and 12th in yards per play (5.50).
Enter Joe Brady, a not-yet-30-year-old hired to modernize the LSU attack. Brady did not graduate college until 2013 and immediately stepped into a job coaching linebackers at William & Mary, his alma mater. From there, Brady spent two seasons as a graduate assistant for Joe Moorhead at Penn State, then pogo-leaped his way to an offensive assistant job working for Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints.
Two seasons there taught him the Payton Way, which he’s now applying to LSU.
“We’re trying to get the ball out fast, get the ball in space, take shots, be diverse, play-action, quick game, drop back, utilize our running backs, utilize our tight ends, get our running backs the ball in space in the pass game,” Brady said at an LSU caravan appearance earlier this week.
Though he’s been hired to reshape the offense, he is not running it. That job still belongs to coordinator Steve Ensminger (Brady’s title is passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach), and Brady says everything is hunky dory on that front.
“We have a great give-and-take. He’s humble enough to hear if I have a thought, if offensive coaches have a thought, but at the end of the day he makes the final decisions. I know that Steve Ensminger wants nothing but LSU to have offensive success. It’s great to work for a boss where you know that all he cares about is LSU having success. There’s nothing about, ‘Oh, my way is the best way.’ It’s, ‘What can we do to have LSU and this offense have the most success?’