Notebook: Technical errors plagued LSU OL; Orgeron to tweak pass rush
BATON ROUGE, La. — Florida ravaged LSU’s offensive line to the tune of five sacks and 10.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Upon further review, there was an additional five quarterback hurries and two hits placed on quarterback Joe Burrow in the season’s first loss of the season.
However, don’t expect any changes up front for the Tigers.
Senior left guard Garrett Brumfield will remain sidelined against No. 2 Georgia and Adrian Magee is expected to make his second start in his stead. Despite some struggles in The Swamp, the formula for improved offensive line play may ultimately be continuity.
“There were technical errors … things we could fix,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said during his Monday presser. “We had that talk last night (on Sunday). We want continuity. Adrian made some mistakes at left guard, but he had two days to practice there. We’re going to leave him there. We thought about switching him back to tackle, but that wasn’t fair to him or the other offensive linemen having to block another great front at a different position.
“We’ll keep it the same this week,” he stated.
Left tackle Saahdiq Charles made his return to the lineup after missing two games after suffering an undisclosed injury in the win at Auburn. The sophomore practiced one time between that game last Monday and showed signs of rust against the Gators, Orgeron said.
Brumfield could join Charles as early as next Saturday when the Tigers play host to Mississippi State.
“Garrett will not play this week,” Orgeron confirmed. “Hopefully, Garrett Brumfield will be back next week. That’ll give us some flexibility with Adrian Magee, but right now, we can’t do anything.”
LSU failed to register a sack in the loss to Florida last weekend. The defense will look to rebound, but has its work cut out against a Georgia offensive line that Orgeron gushed over.
The Tigers, who have sacked opposing signal-callers 13 times in six games this season, will be challenged by a Georgia front that has given up eight sacks to date, good for fifth-best in the SEC. The heart of Bulldogs’ line lies right smack in the middle with senior Lamont Gaillard.
“It’s the best offensive line we’ve seen so far,” Orgeron said. “They all look the same to me — big and strong. They all look good.”
LSU’s three down linemen combined for two hits on Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks and one hurry, per Pro Football Focus.
Even without much recognition in the box score, Orgeron found some silver linings after re-watching the film.
“We’re going to continue to try and do that,” he said, referencing different defensive line combinations to reinvigorate the pass rush. “We didn’t have sacks, but we had some pressures. Some guys had good rushes, but it wasn’t good enough.”
One of those guys was Travez Moore, a junior college transfer who entered the game in obvious passing downs and was unleashed to get after Franks.
Moore blitzed in three of his four snaps and made an obvious case for more playing time in a small sample size.
“He did very well,” Orgeron said. “He rushed the passer better than anybody. You’re going to see more of him.”
History says LSU won't drop two in a row
In Orgeron’s two-year tenure as LSU’s head coach, his team has never lost back-to-back games. That notion will certainly be tested when the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs come to Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
The most recent defeat stings even more after putting an indent in the loss column for the first time in 2018. However, just like the victories, there will be the customary 24-hour rule before shifting all of the team’s focus onto the next one.
“We have to digest this one. This is one hurts,” Orgeron admitted. “I try to be the same every week, but this week, it feels a little bit more. The attention to details is hopefully the same this week. It got their attention. We should have won that football game. The team is hungry and it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but we can’t hold onto it for this long. Now, it’s time to focus on them (Georgia), and I’m glad we have them at home.”
Multiple players have reached out to Orgeron to ask what the message to the team should be. The coach was encouraged by the outpouring of leadership after falling to 5-1 and No. 13 in the country.
Still, the second-ranked team in the country comes to town this weekend. Beyond that, No. 24 Mississippi State makes its way to the Bayou on Oct. 20. After a bye week, No. 1 Alabama is on the schedule for the annual showdown, this time in Tiger Stadium.
“We look at it one game at a time. It’s a hectic schedule,” Orgeron said. “We look back at August in a blink of an eye. Now, it’s the seventh game and onto Georgia. We’re 5-1. We’ve made strides as a team, but we have a long way to go. We just try to get better every week and we’ll see what happens.”
Phillips back on Monday
Orgeron and starting middle linebacker Jacob Phillips decided in pre-game warmups that the sophomore could not play against the Gators.
Phillips, who missed practice early last week and donned a gold non-contact jersey during Wednesday’s practice, was replaced in the lineup by freshman Micah Baskerville. However, he is expected to return to the field as early as Monday.
“He wasn’t able to play,” Orgeron said. “We talked before the game. He tried, but he wasn’t able to play.”
Baskerville is officially listed as Phillips’ primary back-up on LSU’s official depth chart.
Pressure leads to jersey change
Jonathan Giles was awarded the storied No. 7 jersey for the Tigers before the season. Through five games, the Texas Tech transfer had four receptions for 20 yards.
In the days leading into the Florida contest, Orgeron approached the junior wideout to determine if there was too much pressure in wearing that number, then issued him the No. 12 instead.
“I asked him if it was too much pressure,” the coach said. “He said no. I changed it up. I asked what his favorite number is. He said, ‘Coach, I’ll wear No. 12. It took the pressure off him.”
Wearing the No. 12 jersey, Giles caught three passes, the most in a single game this season, for 12 yards.