Lunch with Coach O: Vanderbilt Preview

Lunch with Coach O: Vanderbilt Preview
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron looks on during fall camp practice on Friday, August 21. (Source: Brandon Gallego/Brandon Gallego / LSU Athletics)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU head coach Ed Orgeron held his weekly news conference with sports journalists to recap Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State and preview the upcoming matchup at Vanderbilt.

The Tigers (0-1, 0-1 SEC) will face the Commodores (0-1, 0-1 SEC) in Nashville on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The game will be shown on SEC Network.

LSU fell 44-34 to Mississippi State, while Vanderbilt lost 17-12 at Texas A&M.

Lunch with Coach O: LSU vs Vanderbilt Preview (Full Interview)

Orgeron said he takes the blame for the loss but it’s his job to fix it. He’s going to start fixing it Monday.

“One of the things that we’re going to do today is we’re going to talk about substance lineman assignment, get back to fundamentals, get back to playing the LSU standard of performance, which was not there Saturday night,” said Orgeron. “And I take all responsibility. But we’re going to get it fixed and get it going. I believe in this coaching staff. I believe in this team. I know they’re hurting today, but I know that we’re going to come back and have a great practice.”

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He is hopeful Derek Stingley Jr. will be back as early as Tuesday and he expects him to play Saturday against Vanderbilt but that will be determined on how Stingley feels, what the doctors say, and what his parents think. He emphasized Stingley’s health is what’s most important. He also said Glen Logan will not be available until the game against Missouri.

Coach O said the things that surprised him the most against the Bulldogs were the passing yards and yards after the catch. Mississippi State quarterback KJ Costello was 36-of-60 for 623 yards and five touchdowns. The Bulldogs had nearly 400 yards after the catch.

“On defense, you know, they had 383 yards after the catch. Obviously, that’s tackling, that’s assignments to any guys running free. We gotta work on our coverage. We had some mistakes in our coverage in leverage and technique and assignments,” Orgeron explained.

Despite all of the yards given up, Orgeron had a few positives to say about the defense. He pointed out the five sacks, four turnovers, and a defensive touchdown.

There is also lots to fix on offense.

“On offense, we gotta protect the quarterback better. We gave up seven sacks. Some of that was scheme, some of that was technique. And we gotta protect the quarterback better, and then we gotta make better decisions in the pocket. We had some guys open, we didn’t hit them. Could have set up in the pocket and made the decisions. I think that’s going to come with more experience and with Myles [Brennan]. We gotta eliminate the drops. We had too many drops, especially in the beginning of the game we had some critical drops that hurt our drives, and we gotta run the ball better,” Orgeron added.

Orgeron had lots more to say about Brennan, especially his decision-making and pocket presence. He noted he thought Brennan threw the long ball fairly well and he’s looking for Brennan and wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to have a big-time connection throughout the season.

“They [Mississippi State defenders] were dropping in the short windows. They figured that we were going to throw them all short, easy throws to be able to get him [Brennan] comfortable. So, I thought they had a really good scheme on defense. Now, we gotta make better adjustments. I mean, we gotta spread 'em out, make better adjustments, especially when we’re looking ... we stop at the line of scrimmage and we look over and we know defense is better, we gotta make better adjustments right there, number one. I think he needs to get rid of the ball a little bit quicker. A little bit hesitant in the pocket. Stay in the pocket a little bit more, have better pocket presence, and make better decisions. I think it’s a combination of both,” Orgeron stated.

Those adjustments will need to be made for the game against the Commodores. Orgeron reiterated Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is an excellent defensive coach. He was also complimentary of defensive line coach Jovan Haye. Orgeron said Vandy’s defensive line is playing lights out and that’s their strength.

He talked about the Tigers’ defensive youth. He said lots of young guys played for the first time Saturday and they were put in difficult situations. He mentioned multiple times how Stingley’s absence really hurt them. He said the defense needs to get better on third down. He also offered some hope for fans by stating those young guys will grow up.

Orgeron said defensive coordinator Bo Pelini was the first person who came to him after the game and said he should’ve done a better job. Orgeron added Pelini is very loyal and hurt that the defense didn’t do better.

LSU has won eight straight against Vanderbilt and leads the series, 23-7-1. Last year, LSU had a convincing 66-38 win over the Commodores in Nashville. LSU is playing Vanderbilt in Nashville in back-to-back seasons for only the second time ever. It last happened in the 1935 and 1936 seasons.

There will not be any fans in Vanderbilt Stadium for the game.

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