It's a tired saying in Baton Rouge this week but LSU absolutely "blocked out the noise" against Florida. It was nearly impossible for Ed Orgeron or the players to not hear what was being said about the program for the last week.
The talk reached deafening levels in the 72 hours after the Kentucky loss but all Orgeron and this LSU team could do was push forward and prepare for Florida. Dating back to his early days as coach, Orgeron has consistently said that when the team underperforms it's on him, but when it wins it's on their efforts.
"I take it one day at a time and I love our team, I love LSU and we went to work this week like we were going to beat the Florida Gators," Orgeron said. "Nothing else mattered. I'm happy for our team."
Walking into the office on Monday, Orgeron said he saw a different energy level around his team. Guys were intently watching film, preparing for the game as best they could with the effort and focus that was steady throughout the week.
"It's not going to be about me, I know I'm not going to blink til the day I die," Orgeron said. "Our team didn't blink and I'm so proud of them. We wanna finish strong, our backs are against the wall, lets fight and choose to fight every day. We took one step but we still have a ways to go."
The LSU players know what the chatter is about the program from the outside and didn't want it to affect the way they prepared for this game. All week, the gameplan offensively was to rely heavily on the run and the offensive line took that to heart.
Center Liam Shanahan and the offensive line have known for a few weeks that this kind of performance was right around the corner and were able to dominate a very good Florida front seven from beginning to end.
"With how the year has gone so far, to be able to kind of earn that confidence from Coach Peetz and take advantage of that opportunity, it's a great feeling," Shanahan said.
LSU's defense was gashed on the ground a week ago but was able to bounce back in a big way, creating four turnovers and making some game altering plays throughout the afternoon. The Tigers were able to subdue the Gators rushing attack for most of the game and take another step in the right direction despite being down seven starters.
"It was those simple plays that kept hurting us," Clark said. "When it counted, we stopped them and were able to win the game. One think the coaches always hark on is next man up so I'm proud of the guys who stepped up today."
This is the kind of performance the fan base can get behind as the Tigers played with a level of effort and focus that culminated in a well deserved win. At this point in the season, stringing together games like this, where the Tigers are at least competitive and showing some fight is a product that everyone can rally behind.
The question that now comes is just how can this be carried over into Oxford and beyond to finish the 2021 season out strong.