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Winners and Losers: UCLA

Same song different verse

LSU v UCLA Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The common analogy I saw from Saturday night’s loss the UCLA was “basically 2016 Wisconsin all over again.” Open a season full of high hopes on the road in a great atmosphere against a Power 5 opponent only to lose in bitterly disappointing fashion. The 2016 season saw Les Miles lose his job and Ed Orgeron assume the position. For Ed’s sake, he’d better hope history isn’t repeating itself.

Winner: Kayshon Boutte

Safe to say Boutte was the only bright spot from Saturday? Boutte caught nine balls for 148 yards and scored all three of LSU’s touchdowns. Since Terrace Marshall opted out last November, Boutte has risen to the challenge of being LSU’s No. 1 receiver and hasn’t blinked (456 yards and 6 touchdowns going back to the Ole Miss game). He’s awesome and the list of corners who can cover him is few and far between.

Loser: The Offensive Line

Loser: The Defense

Loser: Ed Orgeron

Here we are a year removed from the disastrous 2020 season and the problems that killed LSU last year are in full bloom again. Ed Orgeron even said as much after the game.

“Those things continue to haunt us and hurt us.”

The book is apparently out on how to beat LSU: load the box on defense and run nothing but crossers on offense. In hindsight it was ridiculous to expect much if any improvement from the offensive line. “Everyone’s back!” we said. Yeah...but everyone’s back, you know?

LSU was constantly rotating at the right guard position between Chasen Hines and Anthony Bradford, and by my count the Tigers used three different left tackles: Cam Wire, who injured his knee, true freshman Garrett Dellinger, and backup center Charles Turner who all we’ve heard is he’s talented but undersized. Now he’s being relied on to set the edge?

Unless this offensive line improves exponentially, LSU’s going to be capped at around seven or eight wins. If Max Johnson is picking himself off the turf every Saturday between now and Thanksgiving and Ty Davis-Price has Cheerio sized holes to work with this thing’s a wrap.

Of course even if the line improves that may not matter because the defense is still bad. The defensive line looked as good as advertised early on but as the game wore on couldn’t muster the same push at the point of attack. The second level is a liability in coverage—hey remember Mike Jones? The guy who’s supposed to be an awesome cover linebacker? Coaching staff must have forgotten about him.

It all falls at the feet of Ed Orgeron who surely has the hottest seat in America right now. Since hoisting a national championship trophy in January 2020, LSU has lost six of its last 11 games and there doesn’t appear to be any sign of improvement from last season to this. Turns out hiring a guy who’s never called defense at the D1 level to be your DC and Joe Brady’s buddy may not have been the move to make with your own future on the line.

What’s worse is Orgeron’s starting to look like a fool off the field too. Orgeron barked at UCLA fans heading into the stadium, lost the game, and now he and the program are getting dunked on by UCLA twitter accounts.

Losing is one thing. Embarrassing the program is another and I’m not sure how many more embarrassments Scott Woodward can stand.