LSU Has To Focus On Next Three Games

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Important Part Of Coach O’s Audition Starts Tonight

Alabama defeated LSU for the sixth consecutive time last Saturday, temporarily stemming whatever momentum interim coach Ed Orgeron had built up in three home victories. While the Tigers’ effort and defense showed up, the offense was, well, offensive. Six first downs, 125 yards of total offense and 33 yards rushing will almost always result in an L in the record ledger.

Nick Saban’s defending national champions are ranked No. 1 again this season

SEC

Alabama Continues As SEC Powerhouse

for a reason. Although Alabama no longer has a dominating running back in the mold of Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy, or Derrick Henry, it is not void of backfield talent. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for 114 yards and the game’s only score on a 21-yard scamper with thirteen minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The defensive struggle, which pitted two of the country’s top units, was reminiscent of the “rock’em—sock’em” Southeastern Conference football of four decades ago. When the third quarter ended with the score tied 0-0, it marked the first time this season that it has occurred in an FBS game. Once again the Bama defense seemed to fill every gap, and have three or four guys flying to the football on every play.

Tide defenders followed up last season’s stoppage of Leonard Fournette (19 carries for 31 yards) by holding the powerful back to just 35 yards in 17 totes this time. Whether it is Les Miles or Ed Orgeron, or Cam Cameron or Steve

Leonard Fournette

Fournette Again Has Nowhere To Run

Ensminger, it seems Saban and his staff are one or two steps ahead in figuring out LSU’s offensive scheme. Inexplicably, elusive Derrius Guice was only called on twice to carry the ball, gaining eight yards.

Quarterback Danny Etling was sacked five times in his first 25 drop backs, understandably exhibiting “dancing feet” later in the game. He completed 11 of 24 passes for just 92 yards, a total that allowed Bama’s defense to man the gaps, and stop Fournette before he could get up a head of steam like he did against Ole Miss two weeks ago.

Although LSU lost, and more than a few questions must be answered about the lack of offensive production, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda continues to show that he has made the adjustment from the Big Ten to the SEC just fine. His schemes and his positioning of players gets better each week. Holding (and, yes, the pun is intended) Alabama to ten points, with the touchdown coming on a play that featured uncalled holding penalties, showcased a cohesive unit that went toe-to-toe with Bama’s offense until they faltered in the fourth quarter. LSU’s six first downs kept Tiger defenders on the field half a quarter more than the Tide’s defense.

This blogger was in the LSU Quadrangle for ESPN’s College GameDay show. If

LSU

LSU Demonstrated Great Effort Against Bama

nothing else, Orgeron’s three victories put some excitement and hope back into the Tigers’ fanbase. Personally, I felt the Bengals were doomed as soon as announcer Lee Corso did his usual pregame shtick of placing on his head the mascot representation of his chosen team. Tiger head, Elephant head, as HRC would have said, “what difference does it make!” Saturday’s tussle was won in the trenches, pure and simple.

An eye-catching sign in the Quad said, “Tigers Have Found Their ‘O’”. The sign was about Coach Orgeron obviously, but it can be sarcastically interpreted to represent “offense”. A week after a dismal offensive performance, both can be questioned. Good answers have to come for both tonight.

One thing for sure, both will be needed as the Tigers run the Arkansas, Florida, Texas A & M SEC gauntlet the next twelve days.

Losing because the other team had better talent is one thing. And that truism can be attached to the Alabama defeat. However, when a team loses because it was unmotivated and unprepared, that falls directly on the coach. Sadly, Miles fell into that pattern over the past three seasons (really since the 2012 BCS debacle). Orgeron and his staff can step up tonight and show how they dealt with the first setback in his audition for the LSU head coaching position.

He will be taking his squad on the road for the first time as head man, but if anyone can keep a football team motivated and not looking back, it is Ed Orgeron. The “Cookie Monster”-sounding Cajun has his dream job within his grasp, and

paper

Next Three Games Will Determine Orgeron’s LSU Coaching Fate

although he had to be disappointed with last week’s result, he will not let a lack of motivation cause him to be removed from the LSU coaching search that is currently going on via telecom and behind closed doors.

Arkansas shutout LSU 17-0 two years ago after the Tigers lost an overtime thriller to Alabama, 20-13. Last season the Razorbacks came to Baton Rouge and gave the Tigers the second of what would be three consecutive November losses, 31-14. Alabama had dominated the Tigers, 30-16 the week before. The Razorbacks victory put Miles squarely in Joe Aleva’s sights. Miles took two “flat” football teams into action after losing to Alabama. That was evident to even the casual observer, and it paved the way for his ultimate firing when he lost to Ole Miss after the Arkansas game last year. and lost two games early this season. Complacency has no place in college football.

The Razorbacks have been vulnerable on defense this season. Arkansas has lost to Texas A & M, 45-24; Alabama, 49-30, and three weeks ago were thumped by Auburn, 56-3. After an off-week, Coach Bret Bielema’s team regrouped and beat Florida last week, 31-10.

What version of LSU will take the field in Fayetteville? A motivated team with some semblance of offense, or will the impotent bunch show up. What edition of Arkansas will play host? The team whipped three weeks ago, or the one which defeated Florida impressively last week.

It has been a tough week for those who formerly lived in Arkansas, LSU faithful can hope that it continues for the rest of Razorback Nation tonight.

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