Nearly a year ago, the LSU football team suffered one of its most disappointing losses in program history as Troy entered Tiger Stadium and upset the Tigers 24-21, shocking LSU fans and football fans across the nation.
This week, the Tigers (3-0) face a similar challenge to Troy as they prepare for in-state opponent Louisiana Tech (2-0) who will bring with them a legacy coach in Skip Holtz and a high-powered offense led by quarterback J’mar Smith, who has already thrown for 589 yards with a .651 completion clip.
LSU offensive guard Garrett Brumfield said that game was on his mind while discussing preparation this week with his girlfriend, which he said she listens to despite his tendency to ramble.
“Games like that happen every year in college football,” Brumfield said. “It was such a shocker, of course, that it was LSU. That wasn’t supposed to happen. LSU is supposed to beat Troy.”Brumfield went on to say there’s no such thing as an easy opponent, as every team has competent football players who want to win games.
“Yeah, they’re Troy, but they’re still a football team,” he said. “Same as Southeastern and Louisiana Tech and all these other schools that people assume are supposed to be easy games.
“I don’t think that you should approach games that way. You should approach every game the same because every football team has players who can beat you.”
Staying focused will be paramount as the Tigers try to put an emotional 22-21 victory against then-No. 7 Auburn behind them.
LSU, like most every team in the nation, has a 24-hour rule in which it celebrates victories and grieves defeat for a day before putting that aside and focusing on the upcoming week.
That’s easier said than done, however, as teams across the country fall into “trap games” seemingly every week, losing to teams they should seemingly beat easy on paper due to lack of focus.
Head coach Ed Orgeron put the onus of responsibility of keeping LSU motivated on himself.
“It starts with me,” Orgeron said. “We block out the noise, good, bad and indifferent. We control our emotions inside the room. Today’s going to be a good day. We’re going to celebrate the win. We’re not going to talk about all the things that are out there. That doesn’t matter.”Rankings also don’t matter, Orgeron said a day after the Tigers joined the Associated Press Top 10 for the first time this season, jumping six spots to No. 6 in the country.
“We’ve played two top 10 teams so far,” he said. “Being a Top 10 team did not help them. That’s not going to win a football for us.”
Linebacker Devin White echoed that sentiment during player interviews, saying he doesn’t care about how fans and media think and predict a game should play out.
“I don’t care if we’re the underdog or the overdog,” White said. “We’re the LSU Tigers. We have great leadership and we have a great coaching staff. That’s where our edge comes from: week-in and week=out working hard.”
Blocking out the noise may be the goal, but it’s not always completely possible.
With the gauntlet that is Baton Rouge sports media some stuff is going to slip through the cracks and players and coaches alike will become privy to what people are saying
Tight end Foster Moreau said sometimes it can even come in handy.
“The media does a pretty good job of reminding us the task at hand so we don’t just continually reflect on the incredible successes we’ve had,” Moreau said. “We actually have to look forward to the troubles we’re going to have to face. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning, (strength and conditioning coach) Tommy Moffitt was drilling us saying ‘that was a great win, but we have another week, and we have workouts today. This Louisiana Tech team is going to come to play.’”