With two weeks left in his LSU coaching career, the one thing that Ed Orgeron has been in recent weeks is honest about the state of this football team.
He's been extremely complimentary about the job that Daronte Jones and the defense has done in recent performances since the open date. And he's been equally critical about where the state of this offense is with two games remaining.
In back-to-back weeks the offense has been held to 14 points or less in losses to Alabama and Arkansas where the Tigers had multiple opportunities to scrape out wins late in the game. The loss to the Crimson Tide certainly was painful for this group but the Arkansas loss hit the locker room particularly hard.
Orgeron mentioned multiple times how devastated the team was it couldn't pull out a win against the Razorbacks down the stretch. Center Liam Shanahan, who played on two sprained ankles, said it "sucked" that the offense was the reason the Tigers find themselves at 4-6 instead of 6-4.
On Monday during his weekly media press conference, Orgeron talked about the state of the offense and why the play calling and game plan both need to be better the final two weeks.
"I think they're pissed," Orgeron said. "I don't blame them to tell you the truth. We gotta take responsibility and put them in a better position, that's the only way we keep this team together. We gotta tell the truth. If it was a play we should've made, that did not happen."
Better position has been a common theme for this offense really all season but in particular during the last few weeks. When asked specifically about offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and the adjustments its taken for he and DJ Mangas as first time play callers, Orgeron told the truth about what he was looking for when making the hires this offseason.
"The one thing I did was trust Joe Brady. I wanted his offense, I wanted somebody who could run it," Orgeron said. "I knew there'd be a learning curve but that's why I hired DJ [Mangas], he's in charge of the third downs. Those guys are new, I won't say it was a mistake but they need to do a better job and they know that. I think they're outstanding men, it's not like they're not working. I just think that their experience level may not have been what I needed for this job."
Dating back to the Alabama game, a concern brought up to Orgeron was the offense having too much installed, which led to some confusion among the players. One play that was called into question against Arkansas and later confirmed by Orgeron as not having been practiced enough was the fumble with Tyrion Davis-Price in the Wildcat formation.
Orgeron said after the game that he didn't recall the Tigers practicing that play all year and it turned out to be a costly mistake that kept the purple and gold from going up two scores early.
It sounds like LSU will be moving back to sophomore Max Johnson behind center against ULM. The offense has just not found a rhythm in recent weeks and maybe ULM can be a springboard type of performance for this group before the season finale in College Station.
Whatever the case, Orgeron isn't afraid to tell it like he sees it when it comes to the recent struggles and at the end of the day, he's responsible for getting the offense back on the right track.
"There's a lot of times where they need to be put in better situations and I don't mind saying that," Orgeron said. "I'm responsible for that. Somebody's gonna write I put somebody beneath the bus, there ain't no bus where I live. I just tell the truth, we should put them in better positions."