Orgeron praises improvement on both sides of the ball but notes some areas still need cleaning up

Orgeron praises improvement on both sides of the ball but notes some areas still need cleaning up
John Emery Jr. during the first half of a game between LSU and Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Source: Gus Stark/Gus Stark / LSU Athletics)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s "Tell the Truth Monday and the truth is Ed Orgeron’s Tigers have one more home game with Missouri before they head to “The Swamp” for a showdown against No. 3 Florida.

LSU (1-1, 1-1 SEC) and its fans will never get overly excited about a win over Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-2 SEC) but all the Tigers can do is beat the team in front of them and they did that soundly to the Commodores.

LSU shows improvement but more needed

It all starts at quarterback, where Myles Brennan was firing rockets. He finished 23-of-37 for 337 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. It was his second consecutive game with 330 or more passing yards.

“Myles Brennan, the first player in LSU history to have 300-plus passing yards in his first two career starts,” said Orgeron. “Passing yards - 682, completions - 50, TD passes - 7. Most of any LSU quarterback in the first two career starts in school history. Pretty good start for Myles.”

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“We simplified it, obviously. We simplified it. And he worked all week on stepping up in the pocket, not scrambling to his right like he usually wants to once he feels pressure. Sliding up in the pocket. I made him a little cut-up myself of Drew Brees. I don’t know if that worked or not, but I know he studied it. I think we worked very hard on him staying in the pocket, stepping up, and making the right throw, and letting it rip. When he sees it open, let it go. That touchdown he made to Terrace [Marshall], that free safety was sitting right there. That ball was right on the money,” Orgeron added.

After his electric performance against Vanderbilt, many LSU fans seem ready to let John Emery Jr. take over the show at running back. However, Coach O said don’t forget about Tyrion Davis-Price and Chris Curry, who did not play against the Commodores due to an injury but there is hope he will be available against Missouri.

“We’ll have to see how healthy Chris is. Hopefully, those guys can share the reps back there, along with Tyrion. I still believe Tyrion Davis is an excellent back. I feel good about all three backs right now, and all three are equal in my mind. Very pleased to see John Emery have his career-best 103 yards rushing. Johnny made some great cuts to the outside, made some good runs to the inside. The thing I’m most pleased with is zero turnovers, and he has done a great job of taking care of the football. He’s becoming a complete back,” Orgeron explained.

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The LSU defense improved drastically as well.

“On defense, very impressed with the performance of our defense, especially the yards after catch, only 60 yards compared to 383 the week before. Tremendous improvement on assignments. Tremendous improvement on getting to the football. We had three sacks, two interceptions, seven first downs, 63 total yards in the second half. Tremendous job of making some adjustments and coming back and playing 60 minutes of football. Two stops in the red zone,” said Orgeron.

The 41-7 score can naturally camouflage some mistakes that may be more costly against better opponents. LSU surrendered a kick return of nearly 60 yards late in the first half. Vanderbilt not only failed to score a touchdown on the drive but the Commodores missed a chip shot field goal from 22 yards away.

“We got so used to everybody not taking the ball back, and I think we got a little lax. We need to stay in our lanes. We had four guys bust up right away. Some of it’s personnel. Some of it’s scheme. Some of it’s technique. We’ve got to get it cleaned up, and we’ve got to expect every kick to come on out,” Orgeron pointed out.

Early in the second half, a running back wheeled wide open for what could’ve been a long touchdown but the pass was dropped.

“We talked about it on defense last night. I even said it on the headset. We’ve got to clean that stuff up. Now, it was a lot better from the first game. Again, it’s a new defense. Some guys that are blitzing have a rule in the back and they’ve got to take it. It was a short split when we missed it. It should have been a switch call. We didn’t get that switch call. We’re going to work on those things in practice this week,” Coach O noted.

Saturday night’s game against Missouri (0-2, 0-2 SEC) will start at 8 p.m. in Death Valley. If you can’t be in Tiger Stadium, you can watch the game on ESPN.

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