It makes sense for Ed Orgeron to turn to Joe Brady again to fix LSU's offense
Ed Orgeron is counting on Joe Brady.
It was less than 2 years ago that Orgeron plucked the unknown Brady off Sean Payton’s staff with the New Orleans Saints to become LSU’s passing game coordinator.
Brady transformed the passing element of Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s offense as Joe Burrow broke all kinds of passing records and led LSU to the 2019 national championship.
The remarkable turnaround earned Brady the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football as well as an opportunity as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers.
In the absence of Brady, Burrow and a whole bunch of other championship components, things fell apart for Orgeron, Ensminger’s offense and the Tigers as they struggled to a 5-5 record this past season.
Scott Linehan didn’t work out as Brady’s successor and Ensminger moved into an analyst role with the program.
Orgeron decided it was time to start over – with a new offensive coordinator and a new passing game coordinator.
He circled back to Brady.
On Wednesday, Orgeron announced his replacements for Ensminger and Linehan.
They both worked with Brady on the Panthers’ staff this season.
Jake Peetz was Carolina’s quarterbacks coach under Brady. Now he’s Orgeron’s offensive coordinator.
DJ Mangas was an offensive assistant under Brady, much as Brady was an offensive assistant under Payton.
Now Mangas is Orgeron’s passing game coordinator, returning to LSU, where he was an offensive analyst during the championship run.
The hiring of Brady could not have turned out any better for LSU than it did.
So it’s understandable that Orgeron would try to recapture that magic as he rebuilds his offensive staff.
Peetz is 37 and Mangas is 31. It makes sense that Orgeron would turn to young coaches who are formulating their own offensive philosophies and schemes based on what they have learned, much as Brady did, as they usher in a new offensive era for the Tigers.
Orgeron emphasized the Brady connections in announcing the hires.
He said they both came “highly recommended from one of the premier and innovative offensive coaches in the game in Joe Brady.”
Brady certainly innovated LSU’s offense, introducing sets featuring 4 and 5 receivers split out wide, mixing and matching wideouts, running backs and tight ends to create favorable matchups, enabling the quarterback make quick, easy decisions about where to deliver the ball.
The Tigers had the skill players necessary to thrive in that scheme with receivers such as Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. as well as running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and tight end Thaddeus Moss.
The 2021 LSU offense might not match the overall talent and versatility as the 2019 offense, but it has enough talent and versatility to thrive in a similar system.
The offense won’t have a quarterback likely to have a season approaching what Burrow had in 2019, but Myles Brennan is certainly capable of orchestrating the offense in a highly productive manner. He was outstanding in 3 games last season before getting injured.
The expectation shouldn’t be that these coaches’ association with Brady will somehow re-create what happened in 2019.
The expectation should be that these coaches, like the tandem of Ensminger and Brady, should be able to maximize the productivity of the talent on hand, that the Tigers will be able to run and pass effectively out of any formation, that they won’t be predictable, that they will be balanced and explosive.
Orgeron promised “a dynamic offense for LSU in 2021.”
Peetz had 9 years of NFL experience before working with Brady.
Orgeron said Mangas “did a tremendous job” working alongside Brady during the Tigers’ record-setting season.
Prior to Brady’s arrival on first-year coach Matt Rhule’s staff, Peetz was Carolina’s running backs coach when Christian McCaffrey became just the third player in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
Peetz and Mangas are prepared to continue the transformation of the Tigers’ offense into one that embraces the blurring of lines that traditionally have drawn distinction between running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.
That’s what Orgeron wants. That’s why he hired Brady. That’s why he has turned again to Brady.
It makes sense.
But only the performance of the offense will demonstrate whether they were the right choices.