The Tigers preparation going into Saturday’s game against Ole Miss has been productive despite all the outside chatter regarding the program this week. Whether it be locking in on defensive schemes to limit Rebels quarterback Matt Corral or overcoming injuries, there’s been significant turnaround.
“I think we've had an absolutely great week of practice,” Orgeron said. “Our coaches are working their tails off. Obviously, this will be a tremendous challenge. Lane has a very,very good football team, hostile environment, but our guys are ready. Very pleased with this week’s work, very pleased.”
LSU’s first half success both on offense and defense has been a focal point to this point in the season, but crumbling come the third and fourth quarter has hurt this squad. Orgeron harped on the need to continue making adjustments come the second half, mainly defensively, whether it be quick substitutions or staying in position.
“I don’t think we’re getting worn out,” Orgeron said. “I think we’re doing a good job of substituting or there might be some situations where we’re a little bit tired, but I think it’s more or less the offenses being ahead of the defenses. They’re coming out in the second half on fire.”
Ole Miss is about as fast paced an offense as they come. Led by Corral, the Heisman front-runner has lit up virtually every defense they’ve come across. For the Tigers, they’ll have to be quick to make substitutions to keep the on-field energy up and Orgeron knows that.
“One of the things that hurts you is third down,” Orgeron said. “He’s [Corral] going so fast, you can’t put your nickel group in in your dime group in or something that you want. There’s a lot of things that we have to do, a lot of adjustments we made this week, to be able to keep the same guys on the field if we have to.”
With so many substitutions and so many different units on the field, this defense understands they’ll be putting in some guys who may not be accustomed to getting so much playing time. The Tigers “next man up” mentality will come into play yet again this Saturday.
“We’re going to have to play two units,” Orgeron said. “But the key to that is to rotate early, not to wait until they’re tired. We got to rotate early so our guys can go 60 minutes.”
Along with the myriad of injured Tigers, LSU will be without freshman receiver Deion Smith and senior offensive lineman Chasen Hines for Saturday’s contest. Though this gives the Tigers staff a chance to get another glimpse at sophomore stud Marlon Martinez, who filled the void of Hines in last weekend’s win.
"We're really excited about him [Martinez]," Orgeron said. "I thought he did well. The gap play was really good. He's growing up. Coach Brad Davis has done a tremendous job with him."
Down an unimaginable number of starters against a fiery Rebels offense, the Tigers will have their backs up against the wall yet again. As the locker room continues rolling as one and playing for each other, Coach Orgeron’s group has the chance to pull off another unexpected victory against a talented SEC opponent.