According to Ed Orgeron, being “pissed” about the Florida loss helped his team put forth a focused, physical effort in LSU’s 36-16 rout of Georgia on Saturday.
As the Tigers turn their attention to facing Mississippi State this weekend, the top priority for Orgeron and his staff will be maintaining that intensity coming off an emotional win.
It sounds like Orgeron could go back to that motivational well one more time by harping on the humiliating 37-7 beating LSU took at the hands of Mississippi State in Starkville last year.
“We have a tough Mississippi State team coming in that out-physical-ed us last year on both sides of the football,” Orgeron said at his Monday press conference. “We still have that taste in our mouth.”
Mississippi State is coached by Joe Moorhead instead of Dan Mullen this time around, but the Bulldogs come to town with the same calling cards as last year’s domination.
“I sure hope we don’t have any trouble getting up for this team, because they’re really good on defense,” quarterback Joe Burrow said. “We’re going to get beat if we don’t play well. I wasn’t here last year, but Mississippi State stomped them into the ground last year is what everybody is saying.”
On offense that means a downhill running game led by the one-two punch of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Kylin Hill. The two have combined for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging north of 5.0 yards per carry through six games.
For LSU’s purposes, the bigger concern will probably be blocking that Mississippi State defensive line, which is arguably the most talented in the Southeastern Conference.
Orgeron, an expert in defensive line play, called Jeffery Simmons “probably the best defensive tackle in the country.” Defensive end Montez Sweat, the unit’s other stalwart, is tied for the SEC lead with 7.5 sacks.
“It was hard for us to block Simmons last year,” Orgeron said. “He’s physical. He plays over the guard. Big, long and lean. He reminds me a lot of Leonard Williams, coached him at USC, a first-round draft pick. Montez is tall, great pass-rusher.”
It’ll likely be true freshman Chasen Hines who has to deal with Simmons if the Bulldogs choose to test the rookie.
Senior starter Garrett Brumfield is unlikely to play this week, Orgeron said, and considered “very questionable.”
“We feel you’re going to see a lot more of (Hines) this week,” Orgeron said.
Both wide receiver Dee Anderson and reserve nose tackle Tyler Shelvin will be back this week, Orgeron said. Both players missed the Georgia game for unspecified reasons.
The status of tight end Thaddeus Moss isn’t nearly as clear. Moss has yet to make his LSU debut despite logging full weeks of practices.
Orgeron chalked his absence up to a “lingering injury” and wasn’t sure when LSU would get its second tight end into action.
“I’m trying to figure it out myself,” the coach said.
Linebacker Devin White was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and kicker Cole Tracy shared SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, the league office announced Monday.
White led the Tigers with 13 tackles and recovered a fumble in LSU’s 36-16 win over Georgia. Tracy was a perfect 5-for-5 kicking field goals and made all three of his extra points.