The first five games of the year have served as good confidence-builders for the 2019 LSU football team.
But the thick of SEC play starts Saturday, when the Tigers face what is sure to be an intense matchup against the Florida Gators.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and the team haven’t forgotten about last year’s 27-19 loss in the swamp, and know that going up against Todd Grantham’s defense will be tricky.
“We have to go back in his history, we have to look at the things that he’s done, we have to be prepared for line stunts, be prepared for four-man rush, be prepared for blitzes,” Orgeron said. “We have a lot of work to do this week. There will be a lot of walk-throughs, there will be a lot of film study. We have to be prepared for everything that he comes after. But the biggest thing that we have to do in practice is simulate the speed of their defensive line. So we’re going to put our fastest guys on the rush team and rush our guys all week, obviously.”
The Gators’ pass rush also presents a challenge.
“This is by far the best pass rush we have seen. I think I’ve said it every day in our press conference that I can, that we’re going to be tested and this is just what I was talking about. I watched the game against Miami. It was a tremendous pass rush. Last year we did not block their pass rush very well. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”
The Tigers will look to give the Florida defense some trouble in the red zone — an area LSU sits at No. 1 in right now.
Orgeron says that statistic is good news for the public to hear, but doesn’t mean anything to him.
“We got to get better. The work that we do today, we do red zone on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. So we work more in the red zone. I do believe that the schemes that we have and the game planning that we have in red zone have been phenomenal. And we have good players and our quarterback can get the ball to them.”
Having certain players back on both sides of the ball could give the Tigers an added boost, and Orgeron provided an injury update Monday.
Left tackle Saahdiq Charles will play, while linebacker Michael Divinity and defensive end Rashard Lawrence are questionable and will practice. Defensive end Glen Logan will be limited, and Orgeron isn’t sure if he’ll be ready in time for the weekend.
As he has all season, Orgeron is confident as ever in quarterback Joe Burrow. But he’s shocked the nation and exceeded his coach’s expectations by staying in the Heisman Trophy picture all season.
“No, not really. Not really. We just wanted a good quarterback,” Orgeron said when asked about if he thought Burrow would be a potential candidate for the honor when he first came to Baton Rouge.
“We just wanted somebody to throw the ball, run the spread offense but the thing that I was most impressed, two things most impressed about Joe is his intelligence and his toughness. We felt that once he took over the team, we saw him progress and I think he made a lot of progress last year in between the first game and the last game. He was a different quarterback. And then in the bowl game we saw him throw the football like we like him to throw the ball. And once we saw him in the spring, I felt that he was going to have a tremendous year. I never think about individual awards or that never even crossed my mind but I do know we have a winning quarterback. Let’s see what happens.”
LSU and Florida are set to kick off at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
Watch head coach Ed Orgeron's weekly press conference, this week previewing the top-10 matchup against Florida. https://t.co/HorzChKJTe— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 7, 2019