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It’s not over … is it?
LSU’s loss to Troy on Saturday night might’ve been the Tigers’ most embarrassing loss this century. It was bad. Real bad. A should’ve never happened kind of bad. But it happened. And it’s time to move on.
So, is there anything worth moving on to?
Contrary to how it might feel, the 2017 season isn’t over yet. As right as it may feel to dash your hopes and prepare for 2018, there’s still a little to be hopeful for this season. All seven of LSU’s remaining games are against SEC opponents. Like it or not, LSU still controls its own destiny with respect to the SEC Championship Game.
With that in mind, here are four things LSU needs to do take advantage of its remaining opportunities:
- Rediscover its identity: As linebacker Devin White said after the Troy loss, LSU doesn’t have an identity right now. It had one after the Week 1 victory over BYU, though. LSU ran the ball and played stifling defense. It’s the same identity LSU has had for 17 years. Get back to the formula. There’s a reason it worked for so long.
- Lean on the stars: Diversity and simplicity are good. But LSU’s offense doesn’t have enough proven weapons to spread the ball as much as it does. Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams and D.J. Chark are the bell cows. Funnel the offense through them. Let the other skill players serve as a supporting cast.
- Keep taking risks: Kicking will never be LSU’s strength this season. It might be time to ditch the Jack Gonsoulin-Connor Culp competition altogether and trust the offense with four downs in plus territory. LSU can’t afford to leave points on the field. Right now, the offense is more trustworthy than the kickers, even from gimme distances.
- Let the game be fun: Matt Canada was known for gadget plays at Pittsburgh. LSU hasn’t run any this season. Maybe it’s time to break those out. Or to try someone such as White or cornerback Donte Jackson on offense as a two-way player. Borrow a page out of other teams’ playbooks and have a turnover belt or golden spikes. Just do something to inject energy into the game. Because LSU needs it. Dearly.
Well, that was a segue
After the Troy loss, Yahoo Sports reporter Pete Thamel posted a story, citing anonymous coaches who called LSU “soft” and “quitters,” among other negative sentiments.
These coaches all billed themselves as people who either prepared to play LSU this season or have studied the Tigers on tape. In the interconnected world of college football, it makes sense why these coaches would want to stay anonymous, especially when they’re calling out Ed Orgeron’s team for being unable to reflect his energy.
Which is why it was equally surprising that, before LSU even played Troy, Syracuse coach Dino Babers ripped LSU, saying the Tigers are “ worse than North Carolina State.” For what it’s worth, the Wolfpack are a 4-1 ranked team that’s only loss was by one score to South Carolina. But coaches don’t say things like that unless they’re 100 percent certain what they’re saying is true.
The perception around LSU isn’t good right now. Opponents think Orgeron’s team is soft and prone to giving up. No one fears LSU right now. That’s the first thing the Tigers need to correct.
In case you feel like reflecting on the loss, here are a few of the stories we at SEC Country wrote following the upset:
- Everything went wrong for LSU in the Stock Report.
- Ed Orgeron put the blame on himself for the loss.
- The LSU defense is staying the same, and that’s making it worse.
- Orgeron’s inability to communicate is a huge red flag.
- Why did Troy win? The Trojans QB said they “ wanted it more.“
- The LSU offense has some soul-searching to do.
And, oh yeah, it’s Florida week
In case you’ve forgotten, the last 12 months of the LSU-Florida rivalry have been pretty darn notable. So, before the two teams face off again this Saturday, here’s a recap of some of the events of the last 12 months:
- The 2016 LSU-Florida football game was postponed and rescheduled as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Upon being rescheduled, the game was moved from Gainesville to Baton Rouge.
- In Baton Rouge, the Gators beat LSU by stuffing Guice on the 1-yard line as time expired to hold on and win. The win secured Florida a spot in the SEC Championship and ended any shot LSU had at qualifying for the Sugar Bowl.
- Outside of football, LSU and Florida couldn’t leave each other alone. The two schools finished tied for the SEC regular-season title in baseball and went 1-on-1 for the College World Series trophy in Omaha. They also matched up in the Women’s College World Series, where Florida won, and the gymnastics Super Six finals, where LSU came out on top.
- After the CWS, Florida announced LSU will be its homecoming game this Saturday.
There’s no love lost between these two teams. None. This weekend should be fun. Rivalries are what college football is all about, and this is a rivalry that won’t die.
In NFLSU news
Former Tigers always stand out on NFL Sundays. Here are a few of the most prominent examples from Week 4 of NFL action:
- Rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White continued his easy assimilation into the NFL with 4 tackles, 1 pass breakup and a touchdown off a fumble recovery as his Buffalo Bills upset the Atlanta Falcons. White’s 8 pass breakups lead the NFL through four weeks.
- Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu notched 12 tackles, 2 TFLs, a sack and a quarterback hit in the Cardinals’ overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers.
- Los Angels Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers had one of the best games of his career Sunday, posting 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits and 2 pass breakups. Pro Football Focus singled out Brockers and teammate Aaron Donald as the X-factors in the Rams’ win against the Cowboys.
Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports recap
The football team might’ve lost, but Tigers athletics isn’t confined to one sport. Here’s a recap of some of the other scores you might’ve missed:
- Volleyball defeated South Carolina, 3-1, Friday before losing to Florida, 3-0, Sunday.
- The soccer team lost to Kentucky, 3-0, Friday night.
- Men’s and women’s swimming and diving swept Tulane and Loyola on Saturday.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Oct. 2 is “ National Name Your Car Day.” This is only a holiday you can celebrate if you haven’t already named your car.
I, for one, never gave my car a name. My sister did. For the two years she drove it, she called it “Giorgio.” I assume the name carries over from driver to driver. But for the purposes of identification, I usually just call it “that white Camry over there.” Much easier than saying, “His name is Giorgio.” Some people might think I’m crazy if I say that.
Or, some might know I’m celebrating National Name Your Car Day. You never know. So, if you feel like it, give your car a name on Monday. Maybe it’ll feel more appreciated.
Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.
The post Bayou Bengal Briefing: 4 ways LSU can salvage this seemingly lost season appeared first on SEC Country.
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