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Miles: Kragthrope Has The Experience To “Develop Quarterbacks”

LSU finally made the hiring of offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe official last night.  The former Tulsa and Louisville head coach replaces Gary Crowton who left LSU for Maryland.  Initial reports indicated Les Miles would take his time in finding a replacement, but he inked Kragthorpe exactly one week after Crowton’s announced his departure. 

Why Kragthorpe?

“Steve brings to our staff the type of experience necessary to develop quarterbacks,” Les Miles said via press release.  “He’s an experienced play-caller who will bring a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to the staff.  Steve will come in and build on what we’ve been able to accomplish on offense in the past.”

Ah, yes… quarterbacks.  Crowton became an unpopular man in Baton Rouge the past three seasons as he was forced to work with Andrew Hatch, Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson at the signal-caller position.  None of those three will likely be drafted into the NFL anytime soon.

But Crowton has a long history of working with successful passers and high-flying offenses.  Tiger fans don’t want to hear it — because everyone loves to bash their offensive coordinator — but it’s likely the past few seasons’ problems started with the players and not the coach.

That said, many of the much-publicized recent gaffes at LSU have come on the offensive side of the ball (at the end of the Ole Miss game in 2009 and at the end of the Tennessee game in 2010).

Kragthorpe will be called upon to fix those mental errors and tutor incoming juco transfer Zach Mettenberger.  Jefferson is back and he had a solid Cotton Bowl, but folks in the Pelican State are counting on Mettenberger becoming the starter sometime in 2011 (preferably in the spring).  Jarrett Lee and incoming freshman Stephen Rivers will round out the QB position.

RC Slocum — the former Texas A&M coach who once employed Kragthorpe as his OC — believes Miles’ new hire will be “a perfect match” at LSU.  “Steve is the kind of guy you can’t help but like.  And I think a lot of Les and what he’s done since he got to LSU.  Those are two very good people who are going to work very well together.”

Slocum doesn’t believe Kragthorpe’s history as a head coach will be a hindrance, either.  “A lot of guys come in with a big ego, especially when they’ve been a head coach like Steve, but he’s not that kind of guy.  He’s very knowledgeable and will offer a lot, but he won’t come in and try to fight the head coach every step of the way.”

Many expect Kragthorpe’s offense — “A pro-style, run-first offense that set up play-action passing” — to be a better fit with Miles’ desires than Crowton’s more pass-happy system.  Of course, Crowton also employed more option with Jefferson as his starter.

A former Louisville quarterback under Kragthorpe, Tyler Wolfe said of his old coach’s system: “He runs a pro-style offense and always does a lot of things — shotgun, I-formation and multiple wide receivers.  He does a little bit of everything.”

Whether he does the things Miles and LSU fans are looking for, well, that remains to be seen.



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