Thirty-one of 39 for 393 yards and three touchdowns seems like an exceptional day for a quarterback at any level of football, especially if these numbers came against a historically superior defense.
Yet these numbers were not out of the ordinary for Joe Burrow in his Heisman caliber season. The senior quarterback gouged the Alabama’s defense for over 400 total yards of offense on Nov. 9 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The best part of that game was that Burrow might have had the second-best offensive performance for LSU. Sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire gained 180 total yards and scored four touchdowns.
Both efforts may be the career highlights for most players, but one man has made these players escalate to a level that they did not even know was possible—Joe Brady.
Take Burrow and Edwards-Helaire’s performances against the Tide in 2018. Burrow went 18 of 35 for 184 yards and an interception, and Edwards-Helaire rushed for only 14 yards and no touchdowns.
With the help of Brady, these two men have become closer to being draft picks game after game throughout the season.
Brady, most importantly, showed LSU fans that the win against Alabama is not an anomaly—it could be a routine victory.
Brady has shown LSU the mystery of an explosive offense that has eluded the defensive powerhouse for so long. A new type of offense for LSU that has it leading the nation in completion percentage while being third in yards per passing attempt.
While he is only the passing game coordinator, he has elevated the game of everyone on the offense.
Edwards-Helaire has played himself into draft discussions and has a new role as opposed to last year—being a receiver first, runner second.
This has allowed him to not let one facet of his game tell the tale. If the line of scrimmage favors the defense, the screen pass and the running back wheel open up.
If Edwards-Helaire cannot gain any traction, his partner-in-crime can throw to any of four pass-catchers to change the tide back in Edwards-Helaire’s favor.
This relationship works both ways, and Brady is to thank. He has made every aspect of this offense work, starting with the passing game.
The offensive line has a reason to pass block as Burrow continues to deliver darts to Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall and tight end Thaddeus Moss.
They also have a reason to block for the run because Edwards-Helaire continues to show that it takes multiple men to bring down the 5-foot-9 running back.
The bottom line is that Brady made this offensive explosive and, ultimately, fun.
The offense ranks fourth in total offense with 7.49 yards per play, and, with the back half of the season containing Arkansas and Ole Miss, that number and others should increase.
This production translates to the defensive side of the ball as Dave Aranda and company can play more aggressively for turnovers and sacks. With all Brady has done, there is one thing LSU has to do—make him the highest paid offensive coordinator in the league next year.
Current offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger is reaching the end of his career and has provided a solid foundation. It is time for 30-year-old Brady to continue to bring this LSU offense to new heights. Whether it is with Ensminger at his side as co-offensive coordinator, Brady has more than proved his worth.