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If it was 2007, LSU fans would be ecstatic about their new offensive coordinator. Steve Kragthorpe would have been coming off a successful stint as Tulsa's head coach that saw the Golden Hurricane make three bowls in his four years at the helm.
But it's 2011, and Kragthorpe's reputation has taken a bit of a hit since then.
After taking over for Bobby Petrino in 2007, Kragthorpe went 15-21 with Louisville, a program that had risen to become a Big East power. Despite being known as an offensive guru, the Cardinals experienced a major offensive slide while under his leadership. In his last season in 2009, the Cardinals averaged just 18.1 points per game – last in the Big East.
So is LSU going to get the Kragthorpe of Louisville or the Kragthorpe of Tulsa? One thing is certain; the Tigers don't have Gary Crowton anymore, which is addition by subtraction. But how big of a step up is Kragthorpe from Crowton? Is he the offensive whiz that led Tulsa to Conference USA prominence, or is he the guy that was at the helm while Louisville slipped back to become just another anonymous Big East team? Probably somewhere in between.
Kragthorpe is taking over a team that has a little bit of momentum. In the last four games of the season LSU's offense actually looked halfway decent, averaging 39.5 points per game after averaging just 25.3 in the previous nine games. He will also get the luxury of having a third player joining the quarterback battle. Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee struggled last season, but former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger will join the two veterans after a successful one-year stint at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
Is this a home run hire? Hardly. It's more like a long single. There's potential there, but things will have to fall in to place for it to be successful.
But then again, it's Les Miles, and he has the ability to make even the most absurd decisions turn to gold. So expect LSU to lead the nation in total offense next season.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
2010/2011 Off-Season Column Archive:
LSU Hires OC Four Years Too Late – January 20, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC East Rankings – January 19, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cam Turns Pro – January 14, 2011
BCS National Championship Review – January 11, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cotton Bowl – January 8, 2011
Five Thoughts On Why Auburn Wins – January 7, 2011
Five Thoughts On Dan Quinn – January 5, 2011
Tuesday Question: Should Rich Rod Be Fired – January 4, 2011
Five Thoughts on Charlie Weis – January 4, 2011
CFN Analysis: Charlie Weis as the Florida OC – January 3, 2011
CFN Analysis: Outback Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Gator Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Capital One Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Liberty Bowl – December 31, 2010
CFN Analysis: Music City Bowl – December 30, 2010
End Of The Season Accountability – December 27, 2010
Pryor Can't Be Compared To Newton – December 23, 2010
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 19, 2010
Malzahn Makes The Right Move – December 14, 2010
Five Thoughts on Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Florida Hires Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Cam's Heisman Landslide – December 11, 2010
Five Thoughts On Urban Meyer – December 9, 2010
Meyer Leaves Legacy, Question Marks – December 8, 2010
Click here for the 2010 regular season archive
Click here for the 2010 Three & Out archive