- By BRYAN LAZARE, Associated Press
By BRYAN LAZARE, Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU has little time to celebrate an emotional victory that ended a September slump.
A 17-16 victory over the then-ranked Gators was much needed following a week of criticism initiated by a home defeat to Troy which marked a second loss in three games. Whether LSU can muster the type of performance needed to knock off No. 10 Auburn on Saturday remains to be seen.
“This Monday is a lot different from last Monday,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “I finally slept a night. That victory was a testament that we believe in each other. There was attention to detail all week. But, we will put it all to bed. … We have another tough team coming.”
Orgeron hinted that LSU (4-2) found a path his team could use to pick up more victories during the second half of the regular season, which begins against Auburn (5-1). The blueprint has nothing to do with plays, but more with the players’ mindset, Orgeron said.
“This game was very close to how we have to play,” Orgeron said of the triumph over Florida. “We gave it all we had all week. That was everybody in the building. Everybody gave every ounce of energy. We finally galvanized as a team. We had not been playing as a team. We galvanized as a staff.”
LSU built a 17-3 third-quarter lead against Florida only to have the Gators pull within an extra point of tying the score late in the period. But, Florida’s Eddy Pineiro missed an extra point attempt for the first time in his career. The LSU defense held Florida to one first down on its three fourth-quarter series.
“When they missed that extra point, that was it,” Orgeron said. “We felt that we could win that game. If Florida didn’t score, they wouldn’t win. We pinned them deep in their territory on two punts. We had a pass rush. There was a belief that we were not going to lose.”
Orgeron acknowledged Auburn could provide more of a test than Florida. Auburn has won Southeastern Conference games against Missouri, Mississippi State and Ole Miss by an average of 32 points. Orgeron coached the line when Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele had that same role for LSU in 2015.
“Auburn is a very physical team,” Orgeron said. “They want to run the ball. Kevin and I had a fantastic relationship when he was here. He let me run the front. He was a tremendous man to work for. I am very happy to see Kevin doing a great job at Auburn. They have a very stingy defense.”
LSU may be without its two starting offensive tackles against Auburn. Both left tackle K.J. Malone and right tackle Toby Weathersby, who left the Florida game with injuries, are questionable for Saturday’s game.
If neither Malone nor Weathersby can play, there will be three true freshmen on the offensive line, as was the case for most of the Florida game — Saahdiq Charles at left tackle, Austin Deculus at right tackle and normal starter Ed Ingram at right guard.
“Under the circumstances the three freshmen did very well,” Orgeron said. “They made some mistakes, but they can handle the physicality of the SEC. They could handle the one-on-ones. Their mistakes were assignment mistakes.
“We have to stay positive with them. We don’t say ‘You’re a freshman.’ There are no excuses. You play like an LSU Tiger.”
LSU also hopes to see more from running back Derrius Guice, who has been bothered by ankle and knee injuries since preseason practice in August. After missing LSU’s loss to Troy, Guice returned against Florida with 50 yards on 17 carries.
“Derrius has a nagging injury,” Orgeron said. “In order to play full speed against a team like Florida, you have to practice full speed. Derrius has been limited in practice. There were signs late in the game he can do it when he broke some tackles. Is he hurting? Yes. Is he limited? Yes. But, he is getting better.”
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