For the LSU Tigers football program, “Groundhog Day” is finally over! The Les Miles era is officially over in Baton Rouge. Defensive assistant Ed Orgeron has taken over the reigns as interim head coach, while Cam Cameron has been fired and former player and one-time Tigers quarterback Steve Ensminger has now been promoted to offensive coordinator.
A last-second victory celebration suddenly and stunningly turned in to utter loss and anger — as the Tiger’s last ditch effort to win at Auburn last week, was dashed by a lack of urgency on the final drive.
LSU has fallen to 2-2, and hopes of a National Title are all but gone.
The winds of change are blowing through the halls of Tiger Stadium for the second time this season. Coach Orgeron and Ensminger need to energize this lifeless Tiger offense.
LSU is averaging a paltry 21 points per game and have yet to play a ranked opponent. If you haven’t seen the rest of the SEC West, close your eyes because things might get worse before they get better.
A majority of the media is down on LSU for firing Miles mid-season, but fans and those who follow the team closely knew it was time.
Ironically, Orgeron has been in this spot before.
Photo courtesy of Louisiana State University
In fact, as I write this article, it is exactly 3 years ago to the day (September 29th, 2013) that Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin after he was unceremoniously dismissed at USC.
It was Week 5 in that scenario as well, and Orgeron led the Trojans to a 6-2 finish and upset #5 ranked Stanford — a loss that kept the Cardinal out of the championship game discussion.
Moving forward, there have already been noticeable changes in the “Orgeron Era”.
Portions of practice have been reportedly opened to the media, and players have tweeted about their excitement for the week ahead.
All of this means nothing if the Tigers continue their losing ways. The good thing for Coach O and LSU is that the next opponent is Missouri.
The Tigers of Missouri have a record of 2-2. In their wins, they have outscored their opponents 140-21.
Sep 24, 2016; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Ryan Williams (4) runs the ball during the second half against the Delaware State Hornets at Faurot Field. Missouri won 79-0. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
In my season preview article, I made mention of how poor the Mizzou offense was. It looks like I was slightly mistaken as this year’s team is much improved on that side of the ball.
Let’s face it, LSU presents much more of a challenge than the Eastern Michigan and Delaware State teams that Mizzou just beat.
Dave Aranda’s crew needs to come out firing on all cylinders for all four quarters; since we know the offense will have its own struggles.
Missouri Sophomore QB Drew Lock likes to throw the ball. He has thrown for 1,508 yards, along with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on the season.
It is no secret that LSU’s defense likes to give up big chunks of yardage. They are not very stingy in the red zone either, allowing opponents to score on 13 out of 15 attempts.
A majority of the scores are field goals, but points are points.
With the lack of offense for LSU, the defense must play damn near perfect.
Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive back Donte Jackson (1) and safety Jamal Adams (33) react to a near interception against the Auburn Tigers in the second quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
The Mizzou run game leaves much to be desired as both Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter have only combined for 429 yards on the ground.
LSU is called “DB University” for a reason, so this talented secondary needs to shut down the high powered passing attack.
It goes without saying, every game for the rest of the 2016 season is a “must win” for the Purple and Gold.
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Even with the coaching change and recent struggles on offense, LSU is talented enough to win this game. Let’s hope the Bayou Bengals show up to play and give the home crowd something to cheer for.
It looks as though Leonard Fournette might sit this one out as he recovers from nagging injuries.
Also of note that Davon Godchaux was indefinitely suspended for domestic battery in an incident with his girlfriend over the weekend.
There are reports that the suspension has been lifted by Coach Orgeron, but Godchaux’s status for this weekend is still in question.
Oct 10, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Perry Orth (10) throws as LSU Tigers defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (57) pressures during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
As the weather cools off in South Louisiana, let’s hope this Tiger team starts heating up.
The season is far from over, and emotion sometimes can be funny in that it can be used as a motivational tool — especially when you’re talking about players who some are still in their late teens.
Factor in with that the idea that Orgeron is BELOVED by his players, and you suddenly have the possibility that anything can happen with this football team, from here on out.
It will be interesting to watch starting 6:30 p.m. Central tomorrow night at Tiger Stadium.
FINAL ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
LSU hits the ‘reset’ button just in time and gets a breath of fresh air from their new Commander-in-Chief.
The defense continues to slowly gel, and Etling takes another step forward in Ensminger’s offense…….