Despite the nonstop hits LSU keeps taking, this Tigers team continues to stay together and confide in one another to battle each week. From the injury bug to Coach Ed Orgeron’s job status, it’s been an intense last few weeks, but it hasn’t stopped this unit from competing each day.
The injuries have been constant, but the Tigers “next man up” mentality is what put them in position to defeat Florida last weekend. Keeping the energy up and believing in one another is what makes this LSU team so special.
The offensive line has battled injuries dating back to fall camp, but starting center Liam Shanahan has believed in this group since day one. This group is finally starting to get healthy and show signs of more physicality and understanding of scheme.
Shanahan harped on the confidence he’s had in Marlon Martinez, who has stepped up when needed this season, along with the entire line as a whole.
"I got the utmost confidence in him, it's who we are in this offensive line room and on this team," Shanahan said. "We really try to embody the next man up mentality and everyone being held to the same standards. He [Martinez] was able to do his job."
Yes, it’s been a tough year to be a Tiger, but playing for each other is the ultimate goal of this team. To show out and compete every Saturday, every day in practice, it’s why this team still has the chance to contend each week.
"When I'm on the field, I'm just trying to get the victory, trying to help my teammates," receiver Jaray Jenkins said. "If it's blocking for the running backs in the run game or for the receiver that's got the ball, I'm always doing something for the man next to me."
Feeding off of the energy each teammate brings and making the most of their opportunities, it’s shown the depth of this LSU squad. Whether it be the freshmen group picking up the slack and making a play or the savvy veterans this team has, it’s been constant growth for this unit.
Getting defensive lineman Glen Logan back, it’s given a spark to this Tigers defense. Playing alongside his best friend Neil Farrell, there’s more energy within this front four. When your veterans show up every day ready to battle, it trickles down the totem pole to your young guys.
“Playing off each other for the last couple years made us better,” Logan said on playing alongside Farrell. “We're both older now, smarter players. We have more experience under our belts, so being able to go out there and get back out there with him made it way more fun. Now that we're both getting it rolling, I think we can really have a lot more fun.”
The main message of this team: Block out the noise and control what you can control on the gridiron. It’s been what Orgeron has voiced all season to his locker room and what each veteran has continued expressing.
Though this team has an incredible amount of outside chatter in their ears, this locker room has continued to battle as one. One team. One heartbeat.