Can you feel the flames? Do you hear the sparks and the crackling of the wood? Ed Orgeron is firmly on the hot seat at LSU, and if he can’t win this game against Florida.
By Matt Zemek
It would become a near-certainty that he will be fired later this season as LSU’s head football coach.
Gene Chizik 2.0 is a label which was tossed around last year, and this year has done nothing to change that label. Orgeron is a national championship head coach, and LSU fans wouldn’t trade the majestic 2019 campaign for anything in the world. By that measure, Orgeron exceeded the expectations which greeted his arrival a few years earlier. He was more successful than his fiercest critics were ready or willing to expect. Yet, the past few years looked a lot like Orgeron’s first year. The past two seasons (including this one) looked like the world critics always envisioned when Coach O came to Baton Rouge. If Orgeron is going to save his job, he has to beat the Florida team he upset last year. What does LSU need to do to win this game, other than having a Gator throw a shoe and draw a game-changing penalty?
1 – Pride
Have some pride, man. It’s a simple game key, but it’s the most important one, right? LSU gave up over 300 rushing yards to Kentucky. KENTUCKY. That should never, ever happen, but it did happen this past weekend. LSU’s defense didn’t offer any real resistance to an opponent which has rarely if ever been known for its offensive prowess under Mark Stoops. The Tigers embarrassed themselves, especially since it was already known that Orgeron was on the hot seat. The fact that his team no-showed in such urgent circumstances is why it seems nearly impossible to imagine Coach O surviving this season. If LSU wants to win this game, it needs to recall its hatred of Florida, but that’s not enough. LSU needs to take pride in how it plays and display maximum effort for 60 minutes. Can the Tigers do that? If they don’t, no other game keys will matter.
2 – Max efficiency
Max Johnson has to be an accurate downfield thrower in this game. He needs to be bold and aggressive and display accuracy within that aggressive approach. It’s not likely that this will happen, but it’s something which needs to happen for LSU to have a real shot. The Tigers need to acquire a level of potency they generally haven’t had on offense. Johnson did smoke Florida in The Swamp last year, so it’s not as though he can’t solve this defense. This would be a great time for him to step forward and surprise a lot of people.
3 – Make Emory Jones throw
Florida’s offense never looks worse than when Emory Jones is throwing passes from the pocket. LSU has to stop the Florida running game first. It also has to shut off Jones’ running lanes. That’s much easier said than done, but LSU has to do things in this game which the pundits aren’t expecting. The Tigers have to defy predictions and expectations in this contest.