The past three years of LSU football have seen the Tigers regain their form from the first three years of Les Miles' tenure. After posting two sub 10-win seasons, the Tigers have rebounded to post 11, 13 and 10 win campaigns. One part of that resurgence was the phenomenal hire of John Chavis in 2009, who brought swagger back to the LSU defense.
The offense, then, became the lynchpin upon which the LSU teams of 2009 and beyond would be judged and would be measured by. With a stout defense to depend on yearly, all the offense had to do was get it out of its own way, right?
This infographic is a snapshot of the LSU offense over the past three years and demonstrates why it's had so much to do with LSU's success, or lack thereof relatively speaking. See it after the jump.
Click the image to view full size.
At first blush, it seems there really wasn't a ton of falloff from 2011 to 2012. Indeed, had the 2012 team played an extra game to even it up with 2011 it would have crested 5,000 yards of total offense, besting the 2011 club. It's not until you get to the bottom, at the table, where you see that 2012 didn't really stack up. (While we're here, let's be honest, 2010 had no chance in this comparison.)
Let me say, though, none of these three teams were bad by any stretch of the imagination. They won a combined 34 games. These team were good, very good.
2011 was stupid, crazy good.
With Mettenberger at the helm, the passing offense improved appreciably over past years (but didn't move the needle in SEC rankings) throwing for more total yardage and YPG since the mid-aughts.
The difference between 2011 and 2012 was efficiency. What you think of Lee and Jefferson aside, what they did in 2011 was not make mistakes and that made LSU the most efficient it's been at that position since 2006. The '11 team also never once let opportunities go by the wayside, to the tune of a 93% red zone scoring percentage, best in the conference. They were second in the SEC in red zone scoring percentage, while '12 and '10 were middle of the pack. The 2011 team is something we might not ever see again at LSU. Just look at the table. It mops the floor with 10 and 11 win clubs.
There's a lot for the 2013 team to build on. There's immense talent there and all the major pieces come back. It would not surprise me to see the 2013 offense be better than we've ever seen under Les Miles.
Also heed a cautionary tale in the numbers, though. As the passing opportunities rose, the efficiency suffered. If LSU continues to rely on the pass in situations where it shouldn't, it could cost the Tigers more games down the road.