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Why Lincoln Riley Would Fit LSU Football Coaching Job

Riley offensive style fits exactly what LSU wants to replicate from success of 2019

LSU could see big offensive numbers if Lincoln Riley comes to coach LSU, the same way it happened when Joe Brady came to Baton Rouge.

When taking a look at the skill position players that benefited from the offensive style of play for the 2019 LSU team, it’s also much the same way for the 2019 Oklahoma team. Those teams worked off the great coaching from two primary coaches.

There are some coaches that just have a knack for creating unique offensive packages for their players. They find ways to put defenses in a bind. LSU fans saw that all year long in 2019 with Joe Brady leading the way as the Wide Receivers and Passing Game Coach.

That’s also what Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley has done for Oklahoma, who’s also the de facto Offensive Coordinator for the Sooners. His offenses are consistently amongst the nation’s best, and his 2019 unit was one of his best, too.

LSU finished the season with the No. 1 scoring offense with an average of 48.4 points per game, while Oklahoma finished with the No. 6 scoring offense with an average of 42.1 points per game.

Those totals were earned with wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and quarterbacks all making big plays beyond the line of scrimmage.

Here’s a look at the two offenses from a couple of seasons ago, and how they resemble each other. This could soon be a situation of deja vu, as the Tigers are attempting to lure Coach Riley to Baton Rouge.

2019 LSU Wide Receivers

The Tigers produced one of the most explosive offenses in the history of college football, and it started with the following three players.

Ja’Marr Chase: 84 receptions, 1,780 yards, 21.2 average, and 20 touchdowns.

Justin Jefferson: 111 receptions, 1,540 yards, 13.9 average, and 18 touchdowns.

Terrace Marshall, Jr.: 46 receptions, 671 yards, 14.6 average, and six touchdowns.

Coach Brady was the one instructing them, and he was also aggressive with his play calling to make sure his talented players were presented with chances to catch the ball. Far too often in LSU’s history, talented pass catchers were not given nearly enough chances to catch the football.

That was not the case with Coach Brady, and it would not be the case with Coach Riley either. Here are the statistics for the top two 2019 Sooners’ wide receivers.

CeeDee Lamb: 62 receptions for 1,327 yards, 21.4 average, and 14 touchdowns.

Charleston Rambo: 43 receptions, 743 yards, 17.3 average, and five touchdowns.

From that point, the next three Oklahoma wide receivers of Lee Morris, Nick Basquine, and Jaden Haselwood combined for 56 receptions, 877 yards, 15.7 average, and three touchdowns. While there were more total wide receivers involved for Oklahoma than LSU, the result was at least somewhat similar in terms of totals. Keep in mind, again, the 2019 LSU offense was an all-time unit; Oklahoma’s offense consistently puts up combined numbers similar to the ones below each season.

2019 Primary LSU Receivers: 241 receptions, 3,991 yards, 16.6 average, and 44 touchdowns.

2019 Primary Oklahoma Receivers: 161 receptions, 18.3 average, and 22 touchdowns.

Both Coach Brady and Coach Riley also favor the tight end position as well.

Tight End

Some spread offensive attacks limit the tight end position, but when given the chance, Coach Brady absolutely made sure that the Tigers found the big tight end as well. Here are the statistics for LSU’s top pass-catching tight end from 2019.

Thaddeus Moss: 47 receptions, 570 yards, 12.1 average, and four touchdowns.

In 2019, Oklahoma had some injury issues at tight end. As a reference point, this year’s Oklahoma’s tight ends were substituted instead of the 2019 group. Unlike LSU, which had just one dominant tight end, the Sooners produced a three-headed-monster that actually surpassed the totals for Moss, albeit collectively, with the following statistics.

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Jeremiah Hall: 26 receptions, 244 yards, 9.4 average, and four touchdowns.

Brayden Willis: 12 receptions, 148 yards, 12.3 average, one touchdown.

Austin Stogner: 11 receptions, 105 yards, 9.6 average, and one touchdown.

2019 Primary LSU Tight End: 47 receptions, 570 yards, 12.1 average, and four touchdowns.

2021 Primary Oklahoma Tight Ends: 49 receptions, 497 yards, 10.1 average, and six touchdowns.

That’s an incredibly productive unit for Oklahoma, just like with LSU.

Overall, the talent from wide receiver and tight end groups would be enough to give opposing defenses fits. With that said, both coach Brady and Coach Riley still ran the football, too.

Rushing Attack

There was balance with Coach Brady. The Tigers averaged 166.8 yards rushing per game, with a now Kansas City Chiefs running back doing very well, as did the next three running backs for the Tigers.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 215 attempts, 1,414 yards, 6.6 average, and 16 touchdowns.

Tyrion Davis-Price: 64 attempts, 295 yards, 4.6 average, and six touchdowns.

John Emery, Jr.: 39 attempts, 188 yards, 4.8 average, and four touchdowns.

Chris Curry: 37 attempts, 186 yards, and a 5.0 average.

In similar fashion, Oklahoma’s offense ran the football well in 2019, and even produced two separate rushers to go over the century mark, with a caveat. The primary runner for the Sooners would be former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma for the 2019 season. The now Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was dynamic, and so were the top three running backs.

Jalen Hurts: 233 attempts, 1,298 yards, 5.6 yards, and 20 touchdowns.

Kennedy Brooks: 155 attempts, 1,011 yards, 6.5 yards, and six touchdowns.

Rhamondre Stevenson: 64 attempts, 515 yards, 8.1 yards, and six touchdowns.

Trey Sermon: 54 attempts, 385 yards, 7.1 average, and four touchdowns.

The Sooners ran the football through Hurts quite often. Now, Joe Burrow certainly ran the ball as well, but not nearly as often or as needed with Hurts. If Coach Riley comes to Baton Rouge, he will find a role for the quarterback to run the football that fits his talent. Here are the overall rushing statistics from 2019 to know.

2019 Primary LSU Running Backs: 355 attempts, 2,083 yards, 5.9 average, and 26 touchdowns.

2019 Primary Oklahoma Running Backs: 506 attempts, 3,209 yards, 6.3 average, and 36 rushing touchdowns.

Final Thoughts

Brady and Riley are similar to one another. They spread the football field, place defenses in unique situations, and create mismatches for their playmakers to exploit.

If Riley does indeed come to Baton Rouge to coach the Tigers, the LSU Football program will see an incredibly talented offensive coach place the LSU offense at or near the top of the NCAA rankings, just like Brady.