Rueben Randle literally accounted for more than 50 percent of LSU’s receiving yards by wide receivers last season. He was the big play threat. He was the third down target. He was the red zone option. With Randle out of the mix, the passing game figured to be a tad different. No one receiver possessed the skill set Randle featured, but as a whole the pieces figured to be just fine. The blend of youth and experience seemed to be there, and new position coach Adam Henry appeared to have things more tightly tuned than Billy Gonzalez.
MORE THAN I EXPECTED:
The whole Mettenberger-Boone touchdown thing got weird there. Boone was on the receiving end of Mettenberger’s lone touchdown toss of 2011 and the first three of 2012 before Jarvis Landry broke that off in the Idaho game. We knew what Odell Beckham could do, and Jarvis Landry had made strides in spring and fall. James Wright figured to be the size of the group, but Boone was a little bit the forgotten man. The play of the season from Boone was the outstanding adjustment and diving catch at Texas A&M before the half. That play changed the game, and it’s not one we had seen from Boone in practice or the games. Boone finished third on the team with 24 catches for 334 yards which isn’t too far out of the ballpark you may have seen entering the season, but accounting for 40 percent of the touchdown grabs would have been a stretch back in August.
I’m basically talking to Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Man, those guys shocked me with the early drops this year. Beckham had a rough time against Washington, and I think that stuck with him for awhile. Landry sprinkled his in throughout the year, and I didn’t think he would have more than one or two all season. Boone’s early drop in Gainesville hurt, and then you had all of Russell Shepard’s problems in September. As a whole, this unit picked it up as time progressed, but there was a time there when everything was being made harder than it should have been
LESS THAN I EXPECTED:
I thought once again the LSU offense would blow the top off of opposing defenses with the deep ball. With Randle gone, someone was going to have to assume that role, but it didn’t seem like that person would be hard to find. Certainly, LSU hit some big plays. We mentioned Boone’s long one at Texas A&M, and Landry made a ridiculous play in Arkansas, but there was no consistency there. Beckham dropped a big one in Auburn, and he fumbled the big play away the next week in Gainesville. Outside of the Towson game when Beckham got loose twice, the longest passing touchdown of the year was 34 yards against North Texas. That was the season opener. Maybe it was foolish, but I thought the group would strike from deep a little bit more often.
Take out the Towson game and Beckham doesn’t score through the air. Crazy, right?
JUST WHAT I EXPECTED:
We don’t learn much inside the gates at the Ponderosa, but we all learned how good Jarvis Landry could be in a very short time. And I’ll say this after watching him for one full season, Landry is the best slow, short wide receiver I’ve ever seen. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. He doesn’t run all that well, and he’s not much over 6-feet, but he’s plenty effective. After shaking off the early drops, he led the team in catches and tied for the team lead in scores with four. He capped his season with the play of the year in Fayetteville. If you remember his first catch of the year against North Texas, he snared a ball one-handed along the LSU sideline. He’s got some of the best hands I’ve seen, and he’ll show them off. Once he began to play almost exclusively in the slot, he became a matchup problem for every one. If you noticed, it was former Covington star Otha Peters, a linebacker, on Landry for the circus play at Arkansas. A linebacker? Good luck. Landry has two more years left at LSU, and he’s going to be a really good one. I expected that.
Tight End Play
With Deangelo Peterson gone, at least the expectation of using the tight end was largely out the door. What you got from the tight ends this year was a modest effort. Chase Clement, the senior starter, made four catches in 12 games. Nic Jacobs finished his abbreviated season with five receptions, and Travis Dickson made all five of his in the Ole Miss game. Safe to say that probably wasn’t in the Rebs’ scouting report. I thought Jacobs’ two catches at Florida were timely, especially when Beckham and Landry were being hawked by two great corners. I thought the 3rd and goal fade to Jacobs against South Carolina was a bit of a stretch. All in all, the tight ends made 14 grabs and didn’t score. That’s about right.