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LSU Stares Down a Difficult Truth as its 2021 Season Hangs in the Balance

Program faces crossroads in Orgeron era with heat on program reaching a boiling point

Minutes after LSU's loss to Auburn, Ed Orgeron stood in front of the media and was asked about the state of the program. It wasn't just the loss to Auburn, the first one at home since the 1999 season that rubbed people the wrong way. It was the way LSU lost.

Leading 13-0 and in control early, LSU's mismanagement down the stretch, letting Bo Nix loose play after play and the offense's complete disappearance in the second half were the ultimate downfall. For much of the final two quarters, LSU looked like a team trying not to lose after coming out of the gate extremely aggressive on both sides of the ball.

It's a bitter pill for this program to swallow but the truth of the matter is, this is a team with some pretty glaring issues and the schedule only gets harder from here. 

So when Orgeron was asked about the state of the program, one that's gone 8-7 since that magical 2019 season, there was no other way to put it.

"You know I take it one day at a time. I don't look at it like that. I take it one day at a time," Orgeron said. 

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This is a crossroads in the Orgeron era of this LSU football program. The Tigers have one of the most difficult schedules to navigate in the conference, starting with a road game at Kentucky, a team that just beat top 15 Florida over the weekend. 

Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas were all teams highly ranked in the top 25 before last weekend's slate of games, but the Crimson Tide were the only ones who came away with a win. It's a gauntlet of a final six conference games that will ultimately decide what the future of this team looks like.

Protection up front, running lanes, more diversity in the playcalling and getting back to an up tempo style is what's most important for this offense. As for the defense, tackling and trying to find a way back to making plays in the backfield will be the focus as LSU sets its sights on a Wildcats offense that ran for 137 yards against Florida. 

With every loss, the chatter outside of the program will only intensify about the program's future. All Orgeron and this coaching staff can do is be brutally honest with the players about where this team is and what needs to change to salvage the most of what remains in this season. 

"We've been there before and they're hurt. We've got to look at it. I told them we just have to take accountability," Orgeron said. "We've got to coach them better, but there's some times we've got to play better. Let's just look at the film, tell the truth, see what happened. We're going to coach them better. That's all you can do, just tell the truth."