If LSU’s going to invigorate a stagnant offense, they’re going to do so from within.
Following up on reports that surfaced in earnest earlier in the week, LSU confirmed Wednesday that Ed Orgeron has promoted Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator. The new coordinator spent the 2017 season coaching tight ends — the same job he held with the Tigers from 2010-15 — after he spent the 2016 season coaching quarterbacks and serving as interim coordinator the last two-thirds of the year.
Ensminger, who will officially be introduced at a Thursday press conference, will replace Matt Canada, the highly-touted hire who lasted just one rocky season with Orgeron.
In his one year with the Tigers, Canada directed an offense that was 76th in scoring (27.2 ppg) and 54th in yards (411 ypg) in 2017. The year prior to Canada’s arrival, the Tigers were 68th (28.3 ppg) and 59th (423 ypg) in those two categories.
There is some empirical evidence that LSU’s offense could improve with Ensminger calling plays as he did just that in 2016 in replacing Cam Cameron, who was fired along with head coach Les Miles before the calendar had even turned to October. From the coach’s bio on the team’s official website:
Ensminger was elevated to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Sept. 25, 2016, and his impact over the final eight games of the season was remarkable. Before Ensminger took over play-calling duties, LSU’s offense had scored only nine touchdowns and was averaging 18 points and 339.5 total yards per game.
In eight games under Ensminger, LSU improved drastically in every offensive category as the Tigers averaged 32 points and 464.9 total yards per contest during that span. LSU scored 38 or more points five times under Ensminger, including 54 in a win over Texas A&M and 38 against both Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Tigers averaged 7.1 yards per play and converted 46-of-102 third-down opportunities during that eight-game stretch.