The 2003 LSU offense was mundane but still had dynamic athletes
If the 2003 USC offense was likely to clash with the 2003 LSU defense, the Trojans were likely to excel on the other side of the ball. We wanted to interview an LSU analyst about the 2003 Tigers offense against the elite USC defense.
This is what Carter Bryant [@CarterThePower], host of the Power Hour LSU YouTube channel, said of the LSU offensive:
“This is the sexy part of the conversation,” said Bryant. “You look in a corner, you look at a sideline and you see USC and these huge, high-profile names. Now you get, on the other side, Matt Mauck (the LSU quarterback). Matt Mauck that season was really a clutch for LSU. He was obviously not exceptional “Joe Burrow”. You can argue that Matt Mauck had more talented substitutes than him: JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, both of whom were freshmen that season. He also had Marcus Randall as a backup.
“Matt Mauck was good. Was he spectacular? No. He pitched two picks in the Championship game (against Oklahoma), but he was also very timely. It was clutch. He ran the offense.
“Here is something that will cause conflict and disagreement. I know everyone (from USC) is going to say, this guy is biased. He just goes all-in on his LSU Tigers. But for me the difference between Matt Mauck and Matt Leinart is that Matt Mauck had better wide receivers. Its large reception hall was better. Devery Henderson, Michael Clayton, they’re as athletic a duo as you’ll see. Devery Henderson was such a deep elite threat. Then in the slot machine, Skyler Green, who was just a monster.
“Now, of course, USC has some great wide receivers. You can go down the list of all the big wide receivers including in this team (Keary Colbert and Mike Williams). But Matt Mauck had elite weapons on the outside. That’s what really helped him: When the game got tight, when he needed a big game, he could find one of those three guys, Devery, Michael Clayton and Skyler Green. These guys just kept doing big game after big game after big game.
“Justin Vincent shines a lot, and he should, but remember Joseph Addai. I think a lot of people know him better in the Peyton Manning Colts years. He was such a good player who could also catch up.
“The unsung hero (of the 2003 LSU Offensive) is Ben Wilkerson. It’s a fascinating story. He is currently an assistant coach for the New York Giants offensive line. After his career he was trying to become a coach. He was a center. He is one of the highest IQ football players of all time. A football encyclopedia, and he was looking for a staff assistant position in Arkansas.
“He’d had all those crazy Jimbo Fisher references to Nick Saban. Ben Wilkerson would have gotten that job in Arkansas… If it hadn’t been for a woman named Jessica Dorrell, who was part, with Bobby Petrino , arguably the biggest scandal in SEC history. So that’s obviously a little note: Wilkerson was candidate number two. Yes, it is, it is a wild story. Ben is rather gone. to Grambling and then he ended up going to the NFL.
“Ben Wilkerson was arguably LSU’s best offensive player this season (2003). He called all the shots. We must also remember that during this period the game was played at such a slower pace than it is today. The game was much simpler in terms of what you did offensively. It was really important to have a high IQ center to make the right calls, as we are going to be teaming doubles in this A-gap. Then we go to the next level.
“You ask anyone around LSU during this time. Ben Wilkerson was probably the MVP for this offense.