LEXINGTON, Ky. – LSU quarterback Max Johnson used just eight words to put the Tigers’ 3-3 2021 season and another embarrassingly bad game in perspective.
“It friggin’ sucks, I’m not going to lie,” Johnson said.
Yes Max, it does, especially when a perennial middle-of-the-pack SEC team flattened the confused and dazed Tigers like the league doormat roadkill they’ve sadly become.
It’s rare when the LSU football season is done and buried three weeks before the frost is on the Halloween pumpkins.
But last rites were given Saturday night as 14th ranked and unbeaten Kentucky, in a 42-21 victory, ran for 330 yards and basically lined up and beat the living snot out of what has become the worst coached LSU team since Tigers’ head coach Gerry DiNardo’s last season in 1999.
DiNardo fell on the sword with one game left. He hired bad coordinators. The players lost faith in the coaches.
Current LSU coach Ed Orgeron has a $22 million buyout in a six-year, $42-million contract awarded him by then-new LSU athletic director Scott Woodward after the Tigers went 15-0 and won the national championship.
You could say Woodward was duped, but he reacted the way any athletic director would after a season that was perfect in almost every way, including a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a Louisiana-born and bred head coach living the dream for he and his state.
Orgeron often said the offense was so good that season with Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the playcalling duo of Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady that he found himself an admiring spectator at times.
A lot changed for Orgeron after that season, personally and professionally. He filed for a divorce, and that’s certainly his private business.
But what is public is his failure to hire excellent assistants, since apparently he doesn’t want to or isn’t capable of making on-the-field coaching decisions.
It seemed like it didn’t matter whether he didn’t personally interview his hires (defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, passing game coordinator Scott Linehan in 2020) or did personally interview them (offensive coordinator Jake Peetz, defensive coordinator Daronte Jones this season), he picked the wrong ponies to bet on.
Apparently, no coach worth his salt wanted to work for Orgeron. It’s like they saw this train wreck coming.
For instance, first-year Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin hired Mike Bobo and Derek Mason, former head coaches with extensive major college coordinating experience.
Orgeron hired two guys who had never called a play or a defensive alignment before on the FBS level.
Also, Orgeron’s move to hire six assistants after last season because he said he wanted younger blood to “communicate better with the players” is horsepoop.
So you dump veteran coaches who helped you win a national title and two years later they are suddenly too old?
Judging from the repeated mistakes in this breakeven season with two SEC losses in the first three games, apparently there’s a communication problem with the “younger” coaches and this team.
From the very start here Saturday, LSU’s offense didn’t do squat until it was way too late.
The Tigers’ defense was lost from start to finish. Kentucky scored its first TD on a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line when LSU defense left UK running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. wide-open for a scoring catch.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, a Penn State transfer who until Saturday was merely a conductor, clinched SEC Player of the Week honors by accounting for 220 highly efficient yards and five TDs (14 of 17 passing for 145 yards and three TDs, 75 rushing yards on 11 attempts and two TDs).
“Some of the time at the point of attack we’ve got to be more physical,” Orgeron said. “I thought last week (in a 24-19 loss to Auburn), we tackled very well against their running backs and not against their quarterbacks.
“This week, we missed some tackles but we’re not the only team that’s going to miss tackles against these guys. But we’ve got to get more hats to the football.”
Yes, but it has rarely happened this season. And the fact LSU had 408 yards total offense with 147 yards rushing (all belonging to Ty Davis-Price) shouldn’t be celebrated because the game was long over by the time the offense awakened from its slumber.
Orgeron’s postgame assessment was his usual broken record of “Let’s look at the film, let’s coach better, let’s play better, let’s stay together.”
That’s his story and he’s sticking to it in a season that looks so bleak at this point – offensive and defensive playmakers Kayshon Boutte and Ali Gaye suffered possible serious injuries – that the only remaining suspense may be if Woodward has enough LSU booster sugar daddies with the cash to buyout Orgeron and his staff.
Woodward was on the LSU sideline Saturday night watching the horror show unfold live and up close.
For a man who has provided Orgeron with all the resources to stay near the top of the college football heap, Woodward did not look like someone feeling he was getting an excellent return on his investment.
He had to be thinking exactly what came out of Max Johnson’s mouth.
This is an improper super negative personal attack style writing!!!
STOP IT. Why do so many sports writers think it’s all about their superior wisdom?
An emotion laden snarky style with excess allegations and ultra negative assertions/opinions are a childish style.
To body slam the players and the coaches after the worst loss of players & coaches in SEC history plus best QB and top RB tells readers this is a hateful writer. Ron Higgins put it on triple thick for no reason. True fans know its out of line and depresses the entire LSU football program!!!
Doug, what game are you watching? Really? I write columns, which is opinion. My opinion is this is a talented team with a clueless head coach who has made series of bad hires that has turned a really good program to a really bad program. I feel sorry for the players who are being prepared by inferior coaches and I feel bad for LSU fans who shell out hard-earned dollars to watch this garbage. I couldn’t give a damn who it depresses because nothing is more depressing than watching a head coach with a $22 million buyout mail it every week.
By the way, just go ahead and say sarcastic instead of snarky Mr. PhD. Thanks, Ron Higgins Bachelors Degree
An LSU coach I appreciate more than ever is Steve Ensminger. Last year, the Tigers’ problem was defense, not offense. And who ran the offense after the boy-genius Joe Brady moved to the Carolina Panthers? Steve Ensminger, who had been the offensive coordinator with Brady in 2019.
The Tigers were able to finish 5-5 last year because the offense was still SEC caliber. We beat Florida 37-34 and Ole Miss 54-48 the last two games to finish at .500.
Jake Peetz may be a disciple of Brady but he’s mediocre at best when not working with Brady.
Doug , I whole heartedly disagree with your comments to the sport writer’s assessment of the situation we now have at LSU and our beloved football program.
Telling it “like it is” , is not the fault of the sport writer .
Just listen to the comments made by all the analyst , for example by the host of COLLEGE GAME DAY !!
There is a consensus , that as much as I like Coach O , he has NOT been able to produce the results of the caliber and talent of the recruits he “convinced ” to become LSU TIGERS .
These young men placed their possible futures in the NFL in the hands of a football program that in the past has placed numerous players in the NFL , but right now that program and leadership is NOT up to the par of an SEC team .
I too am not sure what games you were watching but this is not a “personal ” assault on Coach O ! It’s statement of fact as to why we are in the HORRIBLE situation our LSU TIGERS find themselves in at this moment in time .
Coach O may become a very rich “Unemployed ” coach in the foreseeable future .
I agree with Ron Higgins and his OPINION of the state we are in at this time of the season , and it only looks even bleaker in the coming weeks for our team . Something has to be done !!!