BATON ROUGE, La. — The next quarterback the LSU football team is going to face just might be the best player in college football. But if Saturday was any reminder, sometimes the best player in college football doesn’t look too great against LSU.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. This surprised no one. What did surprise a good number of people was who Jackson spent a portion of the night celebrating with: former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Let’s disregard Johnny Football’s off-the-field antics for the time being. They’re worth talking about, and boy have I spent a lot of time talking about them in the past, but that’s not what I want to focus on right now.
Instead, I want to point out how Manziel just might be Jackson’s worst on-the-field role model when he and his Louisville Cardinals play the LSU football team in the Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31.
It’s hard to remember now given what happened in his ill-fated NFL career, but in the two years he started at Texas A&M, Manziel was undoubtedly the most effective player in college football. In 26 games, Manziel accounted for 93 touchdowns. By comparison, Peyton Manning scored 101 touchdowns in 45 college games. Yeah. Johnny Football was good.
But against LSU? Manziel didn’t just look human. He might’ve been just as bad as he was in the NFL.
|Stat||Manziel Career Averages||Manziel vs. LSU|
|Pass Yards Per Game||300.8||250|
|Rush Yards Per Game||83.4||40.5|
|Yards Per Carry||6.3||2.8|
It’s unfair to let Manziel’s status as a party boy and an NFL bust diminish what he did in college. Unless you’re talking about what he did against LSU. Which was effectively nothing.
So if you saw Jackson and Manziel palling around Saturday night and thought Manziel might’ve been a bad influence, you might’ve been right. Especially if Manziel tried to give Jackson pointers on how to expose the LSU defense.
He’s as clueless on that front as you and me.
This week’s LSU football poll
While we’re on the topic of Lamar Jackson, let’s talk a little bit about his productivity.
I don’t want to bore you with too many stats, and I’m saving my film study for when the bowl games gets closer. But I do want to point out four averages.
- Lamar Jackson averaged 282.5 passing yards per game this season
- The LSU defense allowed an average of 201.2 passing yards per game
- Lamar Jackson averaged 128.2 rushing yards per game
- The LSU defense allowed an average of 121.8 rushing yards per game
To say this is a matchup of strength-versus-strength would be a bit of an understatement. It’s really a matchup of strength-versus-one-man-wrecking-crew.
So my poll question for you this week is simple: Will Lamar Jackson be able to match his season averages against this stingy-yet-banged-up LSU defense?
As always, you can vote in the poll below. The results, as well as my opinions, will be revealed in tomorrow’s Bayou Bengal Briefing.
Three things: LSU’s offensive coordinator search continues
Because it’s a day that ends in Y, there’s news about LSU’s offensive coordinator search that we need to talk about.
As Ross Dellenger of The Advocate reported yesterday, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada, Alabama offensive analyst Steve Sarkisian and former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich have joined Lane Kiffin as the main candidates to replace Cam Cameron as LSU’s offensive coordinator.
I have a couple of thoughts.
Thing 1: Matt Canada is a major flight risk.
Canada is one of the best young offensive minds in college football. But Pitt is the fifth school he’s been at since 2010. At every stop, he’s been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who stays in one spot for very long. Just a thought.
Thing 2: Helfrich should take a year off.
Helfrich is a good coach. I don’t care how bad his last year at Oregon went. I don’t care about the perception that he could only win with Chip Kelly’s players. It takes a good coach to lead a quarterback to a Heisman Trophy and a team to a national championship game. Take the year off, Mark. Wait until a mid-sized or bigger Power 5 coaching job opens up and take that. There’s no reason to go back to being an OC.
Thing 3: Hiring Sarkisian would bring new meaning to the word “awkward.”
Ed Orgeron wanted to be the head coach at USC. Being the head coach of the LSU football team might’ve been his dream job, but after he finished as an interim at USC, Coach O wanted the full-time gig. But the athletic department picked Sarkisian over Ed. It makes me feel icky just thinking about those two working together again. It’s unnatural. Like Kiffin going back to Tennessee unnatural.
Your weekly NFLSU update
As is the case every Sunday, former LSU football players put on a clinic in this weekend’s NFL action. Here’s a rundown of some of the notable performances.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) December 12, 2016
- Let’s start where we always do: with the always-noteworthy Odell Beckham Jr. The New York Giants wide receiver caught four passes for 94 yards in the Giants’ win over the NFC-leading Dallas Cowboys. One of his catches, as you can see above, went for 61 yards and a touchdown, which was the difference in the game. Afterwards, Odell turned out some fancy dance moves.
Youve been hit by https://t.co/lnbyd2Fpa3
— LuisMiguelEchegaray (@lmechegaray) December 12, 2016
- Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones is turning into quite a pro player. In the Falcons’ 42-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams yesterday, Jones made 5 tackles, 1 for loss, defended 2 passes and intercepted 1, returning it 33 yards for a touchdown. This was the second pick-6 of Jones’ young career.
- Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill broke 100 yards for the second time this season, breaking off 111 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries against the Cleveland Browns. He also caught 3 passes for 31 yards.
- Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 4 passes for 103 yards, including a 71-yard bomb that somehow didn’t go for a touchdown.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander continued his spectacular sophomore campaign with 7 tackles, 1 for loss, and a pass breakup. Alexander now has 104 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 4 pass breakups and a touchdown this year.
A recruiting minute
I try not to talk too much about recruiting in these columns because SEC Country’s own Sam Spiegelman does such a great and thorough job of that in his “Eye on the Tigers” recruiting notebooks. (Only at SECCountry.com/LSU. Don’t miss them.)
But let’s spend 60 seconds talking about recruiting.
Literally. Here’s a video of me talking about LSU football recruiting for exactly one minute. Enjoy.
Your Monday non-revenue sports recap
It was a slow weekend for LSU sports. Only one team took the field, or in this case, the court. Here’s a quick recap.
- The women’s basketball team earned coach Nikki Fargas her 100th win as a head coach at LSU with a 69-51 win over Tulane. Raigyne Moncrief led the way with a whole host of statistical contributions, including a team-high 12 points and 5 steals, as well as 4 rebounds and 3 assists. The Tigers are 7-2. They will next take the court Wednesday at home against Sam Houston State.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the fine folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, today is “National Ding-a-Ling Day.” What the heck is that, I hear you asking.
Well, apparently, National Ding-a-Ling Day is the day when you’re supposed to call people who you haven’t talked to, or even thought about, in a long time. Whether it’s an old friend from middle school or a former work acquaintance or a third cousin you met only one time, today is the day when you reach out.
So, how can we make this about LSU football? Simple. Let’s talk about LSU football players you haven’t thought about in a little while. I’ll throw one name out there, then let’s keep the conversation going over on the post of this article on our LSU Insiders Facebook page.
You know who I haven’t thought of in a while? Lavar Edwards.
Remember him? He was the defensive end who backed up Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery but still managed to notch 10.5 sacks of his own during his Tigers career.
Well, he’s still in the NFL. He’s been on both the Panthers and the Colts this season. And he’s made 1 sack for each team. Mingo and Montgomery have a combined 10 tackles this year, none sacks. And yes, all of those belong to Mingo.
Who’d have figured?
So today, give a Ding-a-Ling to the memory of Lavar Edwards. And be sure to contribute your “remember him” LSU football player in the comments and on Facebook. I’ll have fun moderating this trip down memory lane.