LSU scored five touchdowns in its victory against Syracuse last Saturday.
However, the offense benefitted from big plays.
Greedy Williams intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the Orange’s 1 to set up the first touchdown. The Tigers’ next two scores came on long pass plays – a 43-yarder to Stephen Sullivan and an 87-yarder to Drake Davis from Danny Etling.
Two explosive plays led to the next LSU touchdown – a 43-yard check-down pass from Myles Brennan to Darrel Williams which was followed by a 20-yard scoring run by Williams. The last Tigers score came on a 20-yard jet sweep by DJ Chark.
The LSU offense was unable to effectively run the ball all night against Syracuse. Williams gained 92 yards, but Derrius Guice was held to 14 yards on eight carries. At his weekly media luncheon Monday, coach Ed Orgeron expressed concern about the offense – particularly the line.
“There are some things we have to get better (on the offensive line),” Orgeron said. “(Offensive line) coach Jeff Grimes talked to Ed Ingram. He made some mistakes, but the other guys did too. We expect the older guys to play better.”
In the second quarter, Ingram was benched at right guard in favor of redshirt sophomore Adrian Magee. For the remainder of the night, Magee lined up at right guard. Orgeron would not say if Magee would start at right guard Saturday against Troy.
“Magee did well,” Orgeron said. “He was assignment sound. He got turned sometimes. He was a little rusty on technique. We haven’t decided yet who will start Saturday. I think Ed Ingram is our right guard.”
Orgeron admitted that the departure of Maea Teuhema, projected to be the starting right guard, has affected the work of the offensive line.
“Guys have done a good job not talking about (Teuhema leaving the program),” Orgeron said. “If he was here, he’d been starting and they’d be second team. Instead, these other guys have been thrown into the fire.”
When Matt Canada was hired as offensive coordinator, everyone knew that he liked to employ a number of shifts and motions. Four games into the season, there is some thought that Canada needs to scale back the offense.
“Technique was a problem with the offensive line,” Orgeron said. “Syracuse’s defensive line had good technique and our offensive line didn’t. We have to win one-on-one blocks.
“We may have to simplify things. Matt said that he may have too much stuff in. We have to do what our players can do best. We need to run the ball. We have to get back to the LSU style, being physical.”
LSU has still not used many four wide-receiver sets. When the Tigers have gone with this personnel grouping, one of the four receivers is usually a tight end. Orgeron said that the players needed for this package are not yet available.
“We have to get Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis, Dee Anderson and JaCoby Stevens up to speed to go four-wide,” Orgeron said. “They are not well versed in it. I don’t think we would have much success in this formation right now. We need more receivers who can play this position.”
Orgeron was quite satisfied with Brennan in his three series at quarterback. He expects to get Brennan more playing time with the outcome undecided this week. Etling is still the No. 1 quarterback.
“Myles did great,” Orgeron said. “He was fantastic for his first time under fire. He missed one pass and he and the receiver weren’t together on the interception. Myles made some great decisions. His dump (pass) to Darrel against the blitz was a great read.”
Orgeron was not happy with the defensive performance in the second half. Syracuse scored three touchdowns after halftime.
“We didn’t contain the quarterback outside and we let them get outside on some reverses,” Orgeron said. “We didn’t get off the field on third down and our eye discipline in pass coverage has to be better.”
Outside linebacker Arden Key was not a factor has he made just two tackles. Syracuse had nearly 60 pass plays with Key having no sacks and no quarterback-hurries.
“Arden Key is very, very rusty,” Orgeron said. “He is down to 260 pounds, but he is not in football shape. He’s not Superman. He missed three sacks when he was one step away from an elusive quarterback. If he gets those sacks, he would have come out with a great game.”
Orgeron indicated that Zach Von Rosenburg will continue to punt. Von Rosenburg had punts of 49 and 40 yards after Josh Growden averaged 34.7 yards on three punts. Chark will remain the punt returner although he made some poor decisions on fielding rugby punts.
“Zach is going to be our punter,” Orgeron said. “We were not pleased with (Growden’s) inconsistencies and Zach showed during the week that he can punt. DJ is going to be our punt returner. We will change up a few things he is doing.”
Defensive end Rashard Lawrence, who injured his other ankle against Syracuse, will miss this week’s game. Orgeron also said that Guice will not play against Troy although there was a change in his playing status late last week. Safety Ed Paris had surgery and will miss the rest of the season.
“We’re 3-1,” Orgeron said. “We’d like to be 4-0. We have played well in spots. We are strong in some areas. We are young in a lot of areas. The focus against Troy is that we want to play a complete game.”