Orgeron taking LSU's 2-0 start in stride

BATON ROUGE - Ed Orgeron is not Les Miles.

He is also not Nick Saban.

Through his first two games in his first real head coaching job, he seems in between the two extremes.

He is not a Les-like laid back, happy-go-lucky comedian who thinks everything is going to work out fine, and through a lot of Miles' career it did as well or better than most other coaches of his era.

He is not a robotic, no nonsense task master teacher who thinks of nothing but the process 24 hours, seven days a week. That's not Saban either, but that is what many think.

Orgeron is somewhere in the middle, with a bit of a lean toward Saban. He seems relaxed and in control like Miles, but not too relaxed. He has enjoyed the good part of LSU's two victories to open the season, but he seems to have a Saban-like hard edge toward the parts of LSU's game that have been lacking so far and knows that could lose a game for him, such as this Saturday against Mississippi State.

No. 11 LSU (2-0) plays at Mississippi State (2-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.

He is not ready to crown quarterback Danny Etling as this great quarterback, though Etling does have an impressive .709 completion percentage and 189.46 efficiency rating through two games, having completed 22 of 31 for 398 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Orgeron knows Etling has barely been touched yet. He saw how Etling wilted under the pressure of Alabama last season. And he knows Mississippi State under new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be a very difficult challenge.

"Again, there's going to be some times," Orgeron said, and didn't finish the thought. But you knew where he was going. Then he said, "Mississippi State has a great defensive coordinator. They're going to give him some pressure. We're going to have to protect. He's going to have to make some plays with his feet."

It's only week three and Orgeron has already about had it with his kickers. Jake Gonsoulin missed 40-yard field goal and Connor Culp missed one from 47 yards in the 45-10 win over Chattanooga Saturday. Gonsoulin missed a 34-yard attempt against BYU. Orgeron went for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter Saturday - and failed - partly because of a lack of confidence in his kickers.

While Orgeron did not go on a humorous Sabanian rant, he was close. And he was funny, but he was ripping his players, no matter how you look at it. And sometimes that's a good thing.

"We still need to find a field goal kicker," Orgeron said. "We don't have a guy right now who's going to make the kicks that we want. So, we're going to open it up."

This does not mean an open casting call to LSU students Monday morning, but that might be next.

"Very concerned," Orgeron began. "I mean, we can't go for it all the time. And we need to get points. And we need to get it fixed fast. And hopefully, we can. I don't know, maybe Arden (Key) can come back next week and kick a field goal. I do believe it's a mindset, and it's got to come from me. And I'm not putting up with it any more."

All right. Let's hear it for tough love.

Orgeron feels the same way about the penalties - 10 last week and 11 this week.

"That's totally unacceptable," he said. "They'll learn the lesson. They'll get better at it."

As far as LSU's slow start Saturday with Chattanooga taking a 3-0 lead on a 65-yard drive in 14 plays with three first downs and a fourth-and-two conversion, Orgeron said the following:

"Got after their butt. I mean, it was just an eye opener."

LSU opened its season with a very clean, 27-0 win over BYU. It did not follow that up properly Saturday.

"I thought we were very spotty, inconsistent," Orgeron said. "It's going to be a tough week in practice. We're going to get some things right, and we're going to be ready to play."

There's clearly a new sheriff in town. Look at all those suspensions last week.

Look for clearly LSU's best performance of the season next week with Key at outside linebacker, not kicker. Orgeron will be the one kicking you know what.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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