LSU head football coach Les Miles has hired former Louisville and Tulsa head coach Steve Kragthorpe as the new offensive coordinator for the Tigers.
I think I can feel the disappointment for LSU fans in the air, and I live in Indiana. And in their defense, Steve Kragthorpe is not a sexy hire to fix the worst offense in the SEC. He was a massive failure at Louisville, and Charlie Strong has shown only small signs of bringing them back this past year.
All of Kragthorpe’s credentials as an offensive mind from his days at Tulsa and as a developer of quarterbacks from his days with the Buffalo Bills took a major hit because Louisville just got worse and worse on the field. Off the field, Kragthorpe couldn’t seem to bring in the talent his predecessor, Bobby Petrino, had brought in to the football program. That spells doom, even in the Big East.
But let me defend Kragthorpe for a minute. At least until LSU’s offense sucks again come late summer.
First, Kragthorpe had to clean up an enormous mess at Louisville. Petrino did not leave that program in good shape. There were discipline issues galore because Petrino had essentially let his players do whatever the hell they wanted. When Kragthorpe tried to impose discipline, many players had major problems with that. He dismissed around 12 players from Louisville just in his first year, people. He was almost screwed from the start.
Don’t believe me? Read this article by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach from 2008 and tell me Louisville wasn’t a total disaster from the beginning.
*Thanks to whoever made the above picture. Awesome.
The 2008 season didn’t go well for Kragthorpe, and neither did 2009, which is why he was fired. But at LSU, Kragthorpe won’t have to run the entire program. He won’t have to worry about off-the-field discipline because that’s Les Miles’ job, and he’s not coming into a situation that needs a ton of fixing in terms of the way the program is run. He can focus totally on fixing what’s wrong with LSU’s offense on the field.
Make no mistake, if Kragthorpe can make Jordan Jefferson into an efficient quarterback that doesn’t make LSU fans want to kill themselves, he’s going to be a hero. Plus, he’s got Zach Mettenberger waiting in the wings and LSU is motherf**king loaded with talent surrounding the quarterback position. Gary Crowton couldn’t seem to utilize that talent, but maybe Kragthorpe can. If he can turn this talented unit into something viable, he’s the man forever in LSU fans’ eyes.
Louisville, on the other hand, was a no-win situation. There was no way he was going to maintain the success Bobby Petrino had, and he was the rebound f**k for the Cardinals anyway because Petrino dumped the Cardinals for the sexier, but much crazier, NFL. It was destined to be an ugly break up.
So cheer up, LSU fans. Steve Kragthorpe might not be the hottie that you wanted to replace Gary Crowton with, but none of the candidates for the gig were particularly sexy. Besides, Coach Krags still ran a pretty good offense even during his worst days at UL.
And even better, he’s not Gary Crowton. I’d say that’ll do for now, LSU fans.