Blog Entry

Miles: Crowton schemes were too 'elaborate'

Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 3:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

On paper, it's hard to imagine Maryland landing a better offensive coordinator than they did when Randy Edsall hired old colleague Gary Crowton in January. Crowton was the mastermind behind two of the nation's most explosive offenses of the past 15 years, first at Louisiana Tech and then BYU, and would go on to earn a national championship ring as the coordinator for Les Miles' 2007 LSU team. Speaking in terms of overall resume, only a handful of offensive coaches in the entire country are in Crowton's ballpark.

But if Crowton looks like a big catch for the Terps, it's without noticing the big catch on that resume: his final two years in Baton Rouge, in which his offenses -- despite a bounty of talent (quarterback arguably aside) that would be the envy of nearly any team in the country -- managed to finish dead last and 11th in the SEC in total offense, respectively. Despite Crowton's high-flying history at Tech and BYU, the Tiger passing game was particularly atrocious, finishing 97th in the nation in aerial yardage in 2009 and 107th in 2010.

What went so wrong? Speaking to the press this weekend about what he was looking for out of new coordinator hire Steve Kragthorpe, Miles may have let slip about what he saw as the problem (emphasis added):
"I just felt like [Kragthorpe] could short cut some of the elaborate thought process that was going on ," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I think the reality of it is I need a guy who needs execution. I don't want him to say, 'Boy, that's a good idea.' The 'good idea' that's not executed looks like an ugly play, OK. And so for me, I needed it to be done extremely well."
It doesn't even take much reading between the lines to see that Miles believes Crowton's philosophy got too "elaborate," that he tried to incorporate more "ideas" into the offense than his team could correctly execute.

As Chris Brown at Smart Football pointed out when Crowton was hired at Maryland , the kitchen-sink strategy was nothing new for Crowton. From a 1998 Sports Illustrated profile of record-breaking Tech quarterback Tim Rattay:
Rattay also liked Crowton, the mastermind behind what some people in football call a “global offense” for its anything-goes approach to moving the ball. As a journeyman assistant, Crowton studied under LaVell Edwards, Mike Holmgren and Tom Coughlin , among others, and at Tech he has established his reputation as a formation geek who really likes to chuck the ball. Having run out of numbers with which to label his plays, Crowton, who became head coach in 1996, turned to the heavens for inspiration. “We’ve got formations called Moon, Sun, Stars and Mars,” he says. “Something we did looked like a star, so I called it that."
Sometime between Crowton's early successes and LSU failures, Crowton crossed the line from keeping defenses off-balance with his offense's variety and keeping his own team off-balance and uncertain (a process Brown calls "subtraction by addition"), with Miles's stinging comments the final, don't-let-the-door-hit-you confirmation. That's in no way meant to suggest Crowton can't succeed and succeed in style at Maryland, but it also seems clear that to live up to his full resume's billing, he's going to have to simplify, simplify, simplify. As Miles said: at some point, putting even the best ideas to use is a bad idea.



Since: May 5, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 3:41 pm

Miles: Crowton schemes were too 'elaborate'

Watch LSU's offense over his term in BR and one can see that Crowton outcoached his players and himself on many occasions.  1st Crowton came to BR with a 5th year senior QB that played under Jimbo Fisher the previous 4 years.  Fisher was successful at LSU but was "falling into" a great situation at FSU.

No doubt Matt Flynn's presence made Crowton look good.  Smart kid that knew the system Fisher had in place.  Good skill people that allowed Crowton to inflect some of his gadgetry.

But pay attention to the real author of the gimmicks that made LSU click.  Fake punts, fake FG's and 4th down attempts come down to the Mad Hatter's call.

Crowton won with Fisher's system and Miles ad lib.

enter year 2 and a redshirt freshman QB-  Crowton did not know how to coach him.  Called plays he couldn't make.  FAIL

enter year 3 and a sophomer with little real experience.  Crowton handcuffed him by using plays designed for the former QB.  never did they really allow him to do what fit him.  HUGE failure!

enter year 4-  both QB's played better than their respected failed years.  but did anybody notice...

Jefferson NEVER ran a belly option right, why would you keep calling it?

Jefferson's bread and butter was roll out and pass if open or run.  WHY NOT KEEP DOING IT?

Lee was the better pure passer.  But he is type that needs reps to get in a grove.  HOW do you get in a grove playing so sparingly?


LSU won games because the D was good
even crowton couldn't totally screw up the Offensive talent...


Maryland will have a decent O if they have a smart QB

but after a couple years Crowton will move yet again

his system is hit or miss and most schools wont tolerate miss

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