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Where Does Max Johnson Hope to See Most Improvement in LSU Offense?

Johnson spending bye week to work on reducing turnovers, continue to tinker with offensive scheme

For LSU quarterback Max Johnson, football is his fun. While many players could be prompted to relax a little bit more during a bye week to get their minds and bodies right, Johnson will be diving even further into the offense and what he wants and hopes to improve before season's end.

This isn't the path that Johnson nor this Tigers team envisioned at the start of the year. LSU's offense just hasn't quite looked the same from a passing perspective since star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte went down. The Tigers have leaned heavily on Tyrion Davis-Price and the running attack, which was exquisite against Florida but came crashing back to earth against Ole Miss.

With Boutte down, Johnson and the passing offense has struggled to get much going downfield. Finding those trustworthy receivers on an every down basis is still something this offense is working through.

For the most part, Johnson has done a good job of not turning the ball over but that issue crept up in the loss to the Rebels and has been a big area of focus. In the loss, Johnson threw one interception and lost two fumbles, something that comes from him holding the ball too long and not simply throwing it away.

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"Just kind of understanding the offense. I think our coach has done a good job of getting us prepared and ready each week," Johnson said. "I've learned where to throw the ball but I need to minimize some of the mistakes such as turning it over on fourth down. I've got to keep two hands on the ball."

Of course the other component has been inconsistent protection that's led to LSU reverting back to six man blocking schemes, limiting the options down field for the Tigers. This group has had its moments but have been far too inconsistent to trust on a week to week basis to protect Johnson.

"I think we're trying to figure it out. I think we need to go with some more five man protection, kind of get (five weapons) back out," Johnson said. "I think this will be good for us to have a bye week and kind of focus on us. We've been back and forth this entire year. There's been a few games where we went five man and mostly six man protections."

There's been plenty to critique with this LSU offense and the finger pointing likely won't end anytime soon. But the outlook on this season for the Tigers' players hasn't changed as this group will refuse to crumble like last year's team when the going got tough.

"We're trying to fight every day and just not think about the future, not think about the past," Johnson said. "Just focus on today and what's in front of us. Our guys are fighting for each other."