Following LSU’s disheartening 24-21 loss to Troy on Saturday, coach Ed Orgeron made some pointed comments about offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s play selection.
Orgeron was not happy with some of the calls and specifically referred to the first offensive play when Nick Brossette was the ball carrier. It was highly unusual for a head coach to bring such negative attention to one of his assistants.
At his weekly media luncheon Monday, Orgeron admitted that he had input in some aspects of the offensive game plan against Troy. According to sources, the relationship between Orgeron and Canada is not the strongest at this time.
Orgeron emphasized that Canada will be in control of the offense going forward.
“This is Matt’s offense,” Orgeron said. “He implemented every play. I did step in last week which was the first time. I wanted to simplify the shifts and motions. We were going to start two true freshmen in the offensive line (right guard Ed Ingram and right tackle Saahdiq Charles).
“I thought we needed to have less shifts to get less penalties and better execution. At halftime last week, Matt thought we had to shift. (Offense) is totally up to Matt. He calls it. He scripts the plays. It is his offense. Matt’s reaction to what I have said was fine. I’m the head coach.”
The Tigers must find a way to shake their slump against Florida in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon. There were few positives Orgeron could identify in the setback to the Trojans.
“The positives were Christian LaCouture, who had his best game, and Greg Gilmore,” Orgeron said. “For the last two days, we have been looking for the fixable problems. Now, we are going to start to fix them.”
Orgeron has endured a rocky start in his first season as LSU’s permanent head coach. He knows the players must block out what is being said about the team and the head coach.
“Hopefully, the players are not reading the newspapers and are staying focused,” Orgeron said. “My job is to put the players in the proper mindset. That is one of my strengths. I’ll be very positive with the players. There was a players-only meeting Saturday night. That’s good.
“We need leadership, but we all need to do better. A meeting like that can foster leadership. To be a leader you have to be a good player. If you are not making plays, the team is not going to listen to you.”
Orgeron made it quite clear that there is no quarterback controversy. Danny Etling will take the first snap at Florida.
“Danny is the starter,” Orgeron said. “Hopefully, he’ll go four quarters in a big SEC game this week. We wanted to prepare Myles (Brennan) so he can go in if Danny gets hurt.”
Orgeron did talk about what went wrong in the loss to Troy.
“We are not playing the way we want on both sides of the line of scrimmage,” Orgeron said. “That was one reason I wanted no shifts on offense. We had to be more physical at the point of attack.
“On defense, our best player (Rashard Lawrence) has not been out there in our two losses. Then, we don’t have Ed Alexander and Frank Herron. Glen Logan, who is a redshirt freshman, had to play at defensive end.”
The players’ sense of urgency has not appeared to be as great as it was last season when Orgeron was the interim head coach. Orgeron didn’t disagree with that assessment.
“It does seem like we are playing flatter sometimes,” Orgeron said. “I always say that big plays fuel emotion. We fumble on the first snap and Troy scores a touchdown. That took the air out of us.”
Orgeron indicated that he has heard nothing about the criticisms of him five games into his first full season as LSU coach.
“I go to work, watch film, call my wife three times a day and text my kids,” Orgeron said. “Then, I go to practice, watch more film and go home. I don’t listen to the news. That’s out of my control. I understand the pressure. I understand how it is at LSU. I was born here. All of this doesn’t faze me.”
Orgeron did say that Lawrence and Alexander are expected to be back Saturday. However, he still listed running back Derrius Guice, H-Back John David Moore and offensive tackle Toby Weathersby as questionable for the game against the Gators.