Imagine the possibilities: Multiple Tigers in motion, shovel passes, screens, cut back runs and a quarterback, well-coached, who plays almost error-free football.
The multiple looks lead to confusion on defense, with running backs and receivers running free in the secondary.
The LSU offense, suddenly deceptive? It could be coming to a Tiger Stadium near you.
For one of the most offensively challenged fan bases in college football, offense may actually be fun this season under new coordinator Matt Canada. It better be.
LSU made Canada the highest-paid offensive assistant in college football and also paid the University of Pittsburgh $375,000 to buy out his contract.
In spring practice, Canada will install his offense, with more talented skill players, and a bigger, more talented offensive line than the one he had at Pitt.
That the LSU offense has been this mediocre (or worse) for this long in a state littered with outstanding skill players is mind-boggling. Since 2012, LSU has finished 77th, 33rd, 75th, 58th and 71st in total offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Last season, Pittsburgh was 38th in total offense, with a far, less-talented cast.
When Canada came to Baton Rouge to interview for the job, he showed head coach Ed Orgeron the tape of the Clemson game. His scheme had Clemson on its heels.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman executed the shovel pass to perfection. He also threw a wheel route to a wide-open running back for a touchdown, and on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, he threw a perfect pass in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Peterman had the look of a confident signal caller, one who could make big plays under pressure. LSU hasn’t had that guy at quarterback since Matt Flynn.
Could the LSU offense actually confuse the Alabama defense? If that thought makes you giggle, it is understandable.
At Pitt, Canada made excellent use of pass-catching tight ends. A cut-back runner like Derrius Guice would seem to be tailor-made for Canada’s offense.
At Pitt, the Panthers played with average college receivers.
At LSU, Canada has a chance to get the ball downfield to wide receiver D.J. Chark, who averaged 18 yards a catch.
So, maybe there’s a new day of offensive football dawning at LSU.
“He’s a great offensive mind,” said Peterman said of Canada. “He’s really creative.”
When’s the last time anyone said that about offense at LSU?
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.