Orgeron’s job is to be Mr. Fix-it for LSU against Vanderbilt

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Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers take the field against Mississippi St. Bulldogs during a game in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 26, 2020 (Photo by: Chris Parent / LSU Athletics).

We all knew that the 2020 LSU football team wouldn’t be anything like the 2019 Tigers.

When you send 14 players to the NFL, lose three key players to season-long opt-outs during the preseason, then your most dynamic holdover is hospitalized and sidelined on the even of the season opener, well, you’re not going to be able to match a season for the ages.

So no one expected this team to come close to shattering offensive records on its way to an undefeated record and a CFP championship as last year’s team did.

But no one expected this either: Mississippi State 44, LSU 34.

Nobody expected Mississippi State to pass for 623 yards – the most ever by any quarterback ever for any SEC team ever in any game ever.

Nobody expected the Tigers to rush for a mere 80 yards and a mere 2.1 yards per rush.

So LSU has a lot of stuff to fix this week before it plays at Vanderbilt.

Head coach Ed Orgeron told the truth about it on Tell The Truth Monday.

“It’s my job to fix it,” Orgeron said. “I guarantee you this week we’re going to fix it.”

The Tigers need to block better, run better, pass better, cover better and tackle better.

That’s a lot.

It is Orgeron’s job to fix it, but he’ll need a lot of help.

There will be others in the spotlight with him.

Number one is first-year defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.

He had a tough job against Mississippi State. His defense’s first game featured a rebuilt unit even before star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. got sick. (He’s expected back against Vanderbilt.)

The new players were playing their new scheme against first-year Bulldogs’ head coach Mike Leach’s scheme, which has produced the No. 1 passing game in the country in 10 of Leach’s 18 previous seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech and Washington State.

Pelini is noted for being more aggressive than his predecessor – Baylor head coach Dave Aranda. The Tigers did manage five sacks and four takeaways even as K.J. Costello was passing for all those record yards.

But State receivers were running free way too often and Pelini stayed with his man-to-man plan rather than seeing if his young defensive backs might be more effective in a zone.

Vanderbilt doesn’t offer as strong a challenge as State did, though it was much more competitive in its opener than most expected in a 17-12 loss at No. 10 Texas A&M. True freshman Ken Seals passed for just 150 yards and was intercepted twice.

But it’ll be the other quarterback – LSU fourth-year junior Myles Brennan – who will attract the most attention.

Brennan’s long-anticipated debut as the successor to Joe Burrow wasn’t as good as his statistics might suggest. He finished 27 of 46 for 345 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

But he was indecisive early, inconsistent throughout and had to battle through seven sacks and persistent pressure.

That brings us to another area that has to be fixed – the offensive line.

Orgeron wants to see the Tigers run the ball more frequently and more effectively.

If Orgeron is successful as Mr. Fix-it, LSU will run the ball well, be balanced on offense, shut down the Commodores’ offense and win with some breathing room.

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Les East

CCS/106.1 FM/Daily Iberian

Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…

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