Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is impressed by the variety of offensive coordinator Matt Canada's attack.

LSU football: What Dave Aranda thinks of Matt Canada’s new-look offense

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we recap the Baton Rouge Tiger Tour stop with information coming from Matt Canada, Dave Aranda, Will Wade and more. Enjoy!

The pin and the pull

The LSU athletic foundation hosted a 2017 Tiger Tour stop in Baton Rouge on Monday night, headlined by LSU football coordinators Matt Canada and Dave Aranda.

Without coach Ed Orgeron there to lead the show, LSU’s softer-spoken coordinators mostly kept to discussing strategy and personnel, all the while confirming a couple of Orgeron’s trademark anecdotes. Canada dropped plenty of knowledge, explaining his first impressions of Danny Etling and LSU’s quarterbacks, as well as how thankful he is to have Derrius Guice in the backfield.

But, interestingly, no one was more instructive in categorizing LSU’s offense than Aranda. After a full spring of having to prepare for Canada’s offense, Aranda is impressed.

“It hits you like the triple option,” Aranda said of the new-look LSU offense. “The fly, there’s a lead block for the fly. That’s two gaps. The zone, the power, they can stretch the ball. There’s a pin-and-pull aspect. There’s gaps and all the different shifts and motions they do. To see that on Saturday after a couple days prep is tough.”

Effectively, Aranda is praising the variety of Canada’s attack. On any given play, the ball can feasibly end up in four different places, making it next to impossible for a defense to plug every point of contact. This variety is a far cry from the up-the-gut strategy employed by former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. And, as Aranda said, it’ll be hard for defensive coordinators to prepare for the whole offense in five short days.

Unfortunately for Canada’s summer morale, the one man who might be able to cram that much teaching into five days is Aranda. Canada is still adamantly echoing Orgeron’s refrain that his defensive counterpart is the best coordinator in college football. So, if Aranda is calling LSU’s offense “tough,” you better believe it is.

Elsewhere on the tour

“CanadAranda” wasn’t the only attraction on Tiger Tour stop on Monday. Athletic director Joe Alleva also stopped by, as did gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargas and men’s basketball coach Will Wade.

With this many personalities in a room, there was no shortage of excitement. Breaux brought down the house with a surprise wardrobe reveal and some rousing and descriptive stories about the sorry state of women’s athletics facilities at LSU prior to Alleva’s tenure, then threw some not-so-subtle jabs at rival Oklahoma’s weak postseason strength of schedule. Breaux and Fargas then engaged in a loving, Abbott-and-Costello-esque comedy bit about their mutual respect for each other and their programs, before Fargas amicably mocked her players’ successes.

Then, Wade took the floor. And though he was telling the same jokes he’d told at previous Tiger Tour stops, the jokes were only hitting harder. He told a recruiting story that got the biggest laugh of the night, compared Elbert Robinson to a tractor trailer on top of a Ford Focus and repeatedly used the line “There are two ways to do things: The right way, and again.”

But my favorite Wade moment of the night came in the following video.

That’s right, LSU basketball fans. Things are going to be aggressive to the point of being willfully illegal. If that sounds like a significant change of pace, it’s because it will be.

Get used to it.

LSU football poll recap

In Monday’s Bayou Bengal Briefing, I asked for your thoughts on Leonard Fournette’s chances to win the NFL Rookie of the Year award for 2017. It was our simplest poll ever and the masses have spoken. Here are your results:

lsu football

Sixty-three percent of respondents took Vegas’ 7:2 odds and voted that Fournette would be the Rookie of the Year. Fittingly, that bar came up Jacksonville Jaguars green on the bar graph. Therefore, by simple math, 37 percent of respondents voted no, pretty much exactly in a proportion that makes sense.

I promised that I’d give my take on the situation, so here we go: Right now, I’m going to vote no. That’s not because I don’t think Fournette’s going to be good. I just think it’ll be hard for Fournette to be recognized for his success while Jacksonville still is a bit of a train wreck of a team. Especially after the immediate success of guys such as Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott last season on good teams.

This is why I think it’ll be easier for guys such as Christian McCaffrey, OJ Howard or Evan Engram to win the award. And that’s not even mentioning the quarterbacks. Fournette could rush for 1,500 yards, but if Deshaun Watson leads the Texans to the playoffs, he’ll probably get the trophy.

Being a quarterback is still an overvalued commodity, but it doesn’t mean people won’t give them credit. Fournette might be the best offensive rookie in the NFL. In fact, he probably will be. But that outside factors might make it tough for him to noticed. Which is such a shame.

Transfer City

The LSU football team received good news on the recruiting trail Monday in the form of a commitment from Texas Tech transfer wide receiver Jonathan Giles. Given that Giles hasn’t graduated yet, he won’t be eligible to play for LSU until 2018. That said, his talent and value will stick out as soon as he can play.

Giles led Texas Tech in receiving yards last season with 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns, also a team high. And that’s saying a lot, given that Texas Tech was the nation’s top passing offense. By a wide margin. Only four of the nation’s other 127 teams threw for within 1,000 yards of Texas Tech. And the Red Raiders only played 12 games, compared to Clemson’s (the nation’s No. 3 passing offense) 15 games.

Anyway, Giles will be a welcome addition to LSU’s 2018 roster. Just for fun, here’s how LSU receivers could look in 2018 when Giles is eligible and after D.J. Chark and Russell Gage have graduated.

  1. Jonathan Giles (RS Jr)
  2. Drake Davis (Jr)
  3. Dee Anderson (Jr)
  4. Stephen Sullivan (Jr)
  5. Derrick Dillon (Jr)
  6. Mannie Netherly (RS Fr)
  7. Racey McMath (RS Fr)
  8. Kenan Jones (Fr)
  9. Jaray Jenkins (Fr)


News never stops. Here’s some LSU football (and baseball and gymnastics) news you might’ve missed Monday:

Keys to success

It might seem like I talk a lot about how good LSU defensive end and linebacker Arden Key is. But that’s only because he’s really good. And, if for some reason you still need to be sold on this, here’s another example:

Yes. That’s an evaluator from Draft Breakdown saying that Key might be the best prospect in the entire 2018 NFL Draft. Of course, the 2018 NFL Draft is a long ways away and there’s a lot of football to be played between now and then. But Key’s sophomore tape is next-level good.

Need another expert to validate the opinion? How about this list that ranks Key as the No. 1 pass rusher, No. 1 SEC player and No. 7 overall player in college football this year?

Thus ends our weekly “Arden Key is good” segment. On with the column.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at, Tuesday is “National Love a Tree Day.” Not every tree. Just one tree. Pick a tree and love it. Like Lindsay Bluth and Johnny Bark did.

Sorry. It had been more than two weeks since I’d referenced Arrested Development.

Anyway, yeah. Go out and love a tree on Tuesday. But don’t confuse today with Arbor Day. That was a couple of weeks ago. Though, if you missed the boat on celebrating Arbor Day, go ahead and celebrate that today, too. And if you want to celebrate Arbor Day, may I suggest celebrating with a different, non-Arrested-Development sitcom: Raising Hope.

Today, we are all tree huggers. As long as you’re only hugging one tree.

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