Four games into the 2020 LSU season and if there's one thing that's been proven, it's that we don't know what to expect from this Tiger team week in and week out. Just take the most recent win over South Carolina for example.
Heading into the matchup, there were a myriad of different ways this game could've played out, particularly with a freshman quarterback in TJ Finley making his debut start for the Tigers. What transpired on a brisk Saturday night was utter dominance on behalf of LSU, reminiscent of what we saw far too often in 2019.
"This one was huge. It brought a lot of energy to us and something that we had to get back to, the LSU standard that we've all been knowing that we can do," linebacker Jabril Cox said. "This one was really well needed and going into Auburn that we can feed off of."
"We had to get that nasty gut feeling out of our stomachs. We really needed this win. For South Carolina to beat Auburn and then for us to beat South Carolina, it was a huge confident boost for us going into the Auburn week," running back John Emery added. "I love the energy at practice every day and I had no doubt going into the game we were going to win."
It was a much needed confidence boost for a team that had struggled to come together in its first month of the season. The freshman quarterback Finley said as much after the game. He couldn't pinpoint exactly why, but the team just felt disconnected, even after trouncing Vanderbilt 42-7 in week two.
But once LSU found out that the Florida game would be postponed, coach Ed Orgeron called for a team meeting. His message was simple, yet made a profound impact on the players’ minds.
"I feel like we have our swagger back," Finley said. "I feel like last year the guys played together, the offense and defense fueled each other. Like coach O says, big plays fuel emotion. The last three games, I feel like the team was separated but I felt like we came together tonight. It's like coach O said, as long as we stay together, we'll have success."
From that point on, starting in practice two weeks ago, LSU flipped the script. The focus improved, the corrections started getting fixed and the team showed off just what it can accomplish when the offense, defense and special teams are all pulling in the same direction.
It wasn't perfect by any means as Orgeron said defensively the team still has some work to do to prevent the explosive plays. South Carolina was able to get to the edge far too many times against the Tigers and facing another team in Auburn that relies heavily on misdirection and presnap movement, Orgeron knows the job is far from finished.
"We're going to play better teams down the road, we put some stuff on film that guys are going to figure out and we better fix it fast," Orgeron said. "We have a lot of things to shore up on defense, especially on coverage. Guys weren't running wide open and we still have to continue to fix it."