Orgeron talks opting out, defensive improvements, offensive struggles & more

Orgeron talks opting out, defensive improvements, offensive struggles & more
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron (Source: Brandon Gallego/Brandon Gallego / LSU Athletics)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron met with sports journalists via Zoom for his weekly news conference to recap the loss to No. 5 Texas A&M and preview the upcoming game against No. 1 Alabama.

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Coach O commented on Sunday’s news that star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. has opted out for the remainder of the season and has declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

“Terrace Marshall has opted out; been a great LSU Tiger for us, heated battle for him,” said Orgeron. “He was the number one wide receiver in the state of Louisiana, a must-get, a great family from Shreveport, Louisiana. We wish him the very best. He’s going to have a great career in the NFL. Always going to be a great Tiger. He did a lot of things for us. He just thought this was the time to opt out. We’re going to respect his decision and wish him the best.”

He also said he hopes to see tight end Arik Gilbert move around and line up in different places in Marshall’s absence. He also said Jontre Kirklin, Trey Palmer, Kayshon Boutte, and Koy Moore could step up with Marshall no longer being available. He added he doesn’t expect Racey McMath to be back this week.

“We have a lot of guys that are hungry to catch the ball. I think the next man up is going to prove they’re very good receivers,” Orgeron added.

He talked more about strides made by the defense against the Aggies and areas where more work needs to be done.

“Simplification, communication, the things we have been working on, having their cleats in the grass, things we’ve been working on. I think the biggest thing that came out of the game was no explosive passes. That was a big improvement for us. We had some explosive runs but didn’t have mistakes where guys were running free down there scoring touchdowns. I thought our man-to-man coverage was great. I thought our plan was great. I thought our defensive line played very well against a very good offensive line. We tackled well. Our linebackers got to the football. We missed a couple of fits on the counter plays, on the big plays. But to hold them for 13 points, 267 yards was a great output by our defense,” Coach O explained.

Orgeron talks opting out, defensive improvements, offensive struggles & more

He also discussed how the offense was not efficient in the game. He put much of the blame on the offensive line. He said the offensive scheme needed to be better and the players needed to be put in better positions by the coaches. He added the pass blocking needs to be better.

He said both TJ Finley and Max Johnson will practice as the starting quarterbacks and a decision will be made at the end of the week based on the game plan. Against Texas A&M, Finley was 9-of-25 for 118 yards and two interceptions, including a pick-six. Johnson was 14-of-22 for 113 yards and one touchdown.

LSU (3-4) will host Alabama (8-0) in Tiger Stadium on Saturday. Orgeron said the Crimson Tide will bring one of the best offensive lines to come into Tiger Stadium in years.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will air on CBS.

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