So in brief summary: 2007:
80/175, 45.7% total 3rd down conversions played by Flynn 2009:
58/145, 40.0% total 3rd down conversions played by Jefferson
Obviously a drop in both number of attempts and conversion rate. Not a huge difference though (we're talking 7 or 8 conversions). 2007:
39/58, 67.2% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less 2009:
28/49, 57.14% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less
Again a drop in both attempts and conversion rate. Once again, a bigger difference this time but still not major
4/17, 23.50% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts 2009:
5/14, 35.71% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts
So Jefferson was actually better than Flynn in converting 3rd and short passing situations.
Now, the craziness: 2007:
35/41, 85% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in rushing attempts 2009:
23/35, 65.71% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in rushing attempts
Damn. A 20 percent drop in rushing conversions. That's truly unbelievable. Remember those 7-8 conversions I was talking about earlier? If we convert 8 more 3rd and 4 or less RUSHING ATTEMPTS this season, that's 7 or 8 extended drives and an 88% conversion rate (similar to 2007).
To go further: 2007:
41/117, 35.04% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more. 2009:
30/96, 31.25% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more.
Not a major change... 2007:
35/98, 35.70% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts. 2009:
24/76, 31.57% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts.
Again, not much difference between the two. 2007:
6/19, 31.50% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in rushing attempts. 2009:
6/20, 30.00% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in rushing attempts.
Totally negligible difference.
So, what do we glean from these statistics?
a) Flynn is better (albeit only slightly) than JJ in converting 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts.
b) JJ is better than Flynn in converting 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts.
c) LSU's run game in 2007 was only stopped on 3rd down and short 15% of the time. LSU's run game in 2009 was stopped on 3rd down and short 35% of the time.
d) LSU ran 771 total plays in 2009. In 2007 they ran 1054. Our opponents ran nearly 200 more plays than us last season. This is partially the fault of the defense. It also illustrates the inability of the offense to pick up 1st downs and keep drives alive.
To me, this plainly illustrates that the major drop off in the offense occurred in the rushing attack, not the passing attack.
The stats back up that JJ performed either better, just as well or slightly worse than Flynn from a purely performance standpoint. So why then should the downfall of the offense be blamed on "poor QB play?" 4) Attrition
You can refer to the other post linked above for the finer points, but this, in my opinion is the major reason for our downfall.
Last year's team had a Senior class from the 2005 recruiting class. OF that class you had Lyle Hitt and Ciron Black as OL starters. Both underachieved this season, and Hitt shouldn't have been on the field (coaching mistake).
From the 2006 class that should be redshirt juniors/true seniors you lost: Matt Allen, Steven Singleton, Zhamal Thomas, and Mark Snyder to attrition. Singleton and Thomas will be starters this year for rival SEC teams (South Carolina and Arkansas respectively). Snyder and Allen didn't work out, but that happens. The other two were lost for disciplinary reasons. Could a 6'3 296 lb(Singleton) and a 6'5, 343 lb. not have helped last season when we're playing a 6'6, 280 LG?
From the 2007 class that would be redshirt sophomores/true juniors you had Joseph Barksdale, Josh Dworaczyk & T-Bob Hebert starting. Of the 3, Barksdale was the only one who wasn't a "project" in terms of needing to add major body weight/strength to play. From that class we lost Ernest McCoy, 6'5 330 lbs., and Jarvis Jones, 6'7, 290 pounds, both of whom had shone out in practices.
Essentially we lost all the beefy, grind it out OL from 3 consecutive classes, so we ended up playing some players before they were ready (Dworacyzk and Hebert) and others due to lack of talented depth/poor coaching decisions (Hitt).
As a result, our run game went leaps and bounds backwards, becoming half as productive.
On the surface, it is easy to blame Crowton, Jefferson and the QB play for our struggles. I openly acknowledge that Crowton isn't a world beater OC and JJ isn't an All-American type of QB (yet).
But survey the data for yourself. What does it suggest to you?
To me, it says that we have a run game which was basically a non factor (there were quite a few of those 3rd and shorts that were 3rd and goal to go and ended in FGs). With a nonperforming run game more pressure is placed upon the QB to excel. JJ wasn't (and maybe still isn't) to the point of simply throwing his team on his back and completing 35/50 passes and winning games.
So essentially, last season we were a ball control/clock control offense that couldn't control the ball or the clock.
I expect the new beef up front and new backs this season to add an extra 1,000 yards on the LSU rushing attack, making LSU a capable offense once again.
eta: The lone downfall to the study is that these numbers are compiled purely off stat sheet review and there is no accounting for dropped passes and other variables.
This post was edited on 4/20 at 5:57 pm