When Ed Orgeron became LSU’s full-time head coach, the popular narrative was that he would hire a proven offensive coordinator, which he did in Matt Canada, and basically let Canada and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda get the team ready to play. Coach O would be the big picture guy and spearhead recruiting.
The narrative also said the Orgeron had learned many hard lessons from his disastrous three years as the head coach at Ole Miss and would not repeat them.
Well, it ain’t working. [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
LSU didn’t just get beat by Troy, one of the better programs in the Group of Five conferences. The Tigers got their butts kicked on the line of scrimmage in the 24-21 loss. It was LSU’s first non-conference home loss since 2000, so a string of 49-straight wins was snapped.
This loss comes on the heels of a 37-7 loss to Mississippi State and a less than inspiring performance against Syracuse. And now comes the fear on the part of LSU fans that they—meaning athletics director Joe Alleva--might have hired the wrong guy.
And it ain’t gonna get easier because now the schedule is starting to get real.
LSU has to go to Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS) for Homecoming. These two teams really don't like each other much since the controversy that moved last year's game to Baton Rouge because of Hurricane Matthew. LSU suggested--well, more than suggested--that Florida didn't want to play on the original date in Gainesville because of injuries. Florida took that personally and head coach Jim McElwain was more than elated when the Gators prevailed 16-10 on a goal-line stand on the last play of the game.
"The way I look at it they got what they deserved," McElwain said after the game. "And it should have been worse."
There was a shoving match between players before the game.
The point is: Nobody in Gainesville is going to feel sorry for LSU.
Here are some other things we learned on Saturday.
GEORGIA’S FANS CAN FINALLY DARE TO DREAM
After a 20-19 win at Notre Dame (4-1), a victory that looks better every week, and a 31-3 win over Mississippi State, Georgia fans certainly embraced their team. But at that point the Bulldog Nation didn’t dare to dream that Kirby Smart’s second team might be something special.
After watching Georgia win 41-0 at Tennessee even the most skeptical Bulldog fans are on board.
Based on the first five games there are three elite teams in the SEC. Georgia is one of them. Alabama and Auburn are the others.
“We have a good team,” said Georgia running back Nick Chubb, who returned to the scene of his horrific knee injury two years ago, rushing for 109 yards. “We’ll just take it day-to-day and not get ahead of ourselves.”
Georgia fans, however, are now free to think about a showdown with Alabama in the SEC Championship game.
AUBURN’S STIDHAM IS GETTING BETTER
After Auburn lost 14-6 at Clemson, where quarterback Jarrett Stidham got sacked 11 times, there were concerns that the transfer from Baylor might not be all he was touted to be.
Well, it turns out that when Auburn is playing anybody but the No. 2 team in the nation, Stidham ain’t too bad.
Saturday night against Mississippi State, Stidham completed 13 of 16 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-10 win. After five games Stidham leads the SEC in completion percentage (72) and is second (to Shea Patterson of Ole Miss) in yards per attempt (9.4). He had four passes of 47 yards or more.
**--Back in the spring Alabama coach Nick Saban told me he wanted to get his team back to the point “where people don’t want to play us.” He wanted less finesse and more brute force, particularly in the fourth quarter.
Alabama has outscored its first two SEC opponents (Vanderbilt, Ole Miss) by a combined 125-3. Since last season’s 10-0 slug fest against LSU, Alabama has outscored its last five SEC opponents 260-34.
Texas A&M is next in College Station.
**--Florida tied an NCAA record by scoring in its 365th consecutive game. The Gators have not been shut out since a 16-0 loss to Auburn in 1988. Florida can break the record on Saturday against LSU.
**--Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin had to hobble out to midfield to shake Will Muschamp’s hand after the Aggies beat South Carolina 24-17. When asked about it in the post-game Sumlin said that he was trying to do too much during practice earlier in the week. “I found out that I’m 53 years old now and not 23 and our players are pretty good. I think my playing days are over.”
Sumlin played linebacker at Purdue (1983-86) where his position coach was Joe Tiller. When Tiller became head coach at Purdue he hired Sumlin as a wide receiver coach and helped launch his career. Tiller passed away on Saturday at the age of 74.[/membership]