Coming off Saturday night’s loss to the No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies, LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron met with reporters ahead of LSU’s rescheduled game against Alabama, recapped the loss to A&M and addressed Terrace Marshall opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season.
Coach O felt that Saturday was the strongest game his defense has had all season long. The Tigers only allowed the A&M offense to score 13 points and limited them to a season-low 267 yards. After holding Arkansas to 0-10 on third down last week, the Tiger defense was strong again only allowing A&M to convert two of 16 attempts.
“We’ve been phenomenal on third downs the last two games on defense,” Orgeron said. “I thought the turnover on fourth-and-one was an excellent effort play. I watched it about 20 times. Turned the outcome of the game. They were about to go up 17 points. Just a tremendous effort by the defense.”
Offensively Orgeron summed the effort up simply: “the scheme has to be better.”
Orgeron stated the obvious saying the offensive line has to be better. Freshmen quarterbacks TJ Finley and Max Johnson were hit far too often by free rushing blitzers and the running game stood no chance because of the line’s inability to control the A&M front four.
“We watched that yesterday, identified what went wrong,” Orgeron said. “We came up with a lot of solutions. Today is going to be a big day on fixing what went wrong on offense.”
Orgeron then addressed the biggest news surrounding LSU: junior wide receiver Terrace Marshall opting out. Orgeron said that Marshall talked to him Sunday morning “like a man” about the decision.
“Terrace Marshall has opted out. Been a great LSU Tiger for us,” Orgeron said. “We wish him the very best. He’s going to have a great career in the NFL. Always going to be a great Tiger. He did a lot of things for us. He just thought this was the time to opt out. We’re going to respect his decision and wish him the best.”
Orgeron said that he has not heard anything about other players opting out, but said “we’ll take it day by day and see.” It’s worth noting that the NCAA’s rule for the coronavirus pandemic is that players can opt out at any point.
Orgeron listed Arik Gilbert and Jontre Kirklin as the two to replace Marshall’s production. O said “hopefully” Trey Palmer can return to the field; Orgeron also called Kayshon Boutte and Koy Moore two great young receivers and that the receiving unit as a whole has players that are “hungry to catch the ball.”
Looking ahead to Alabama, Orgeron said “we’re going to see” who starts between TJ Finley and Max Johnson. The two will split reps during the week and a decision will be made based off what the game plan demands.
“Playing Alabama is a great rivalry for us, a great game over the years for us, a tremendous challenge,” Orgeron said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country coming to Tiger Stadium. Let’s play.”