Ed Orgeron Wants Team to Close With Pair of Wins at Home

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LSU head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates a defensive stop against Texas during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Nick Wagner/American-Statesman via AP)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Ed Orgeron has LSU playing at an elite level and ranked No. 1 in the nation.

LSU closes out the regular season with Arkansas on Saturday and then Texas A&M the following week.

“First of all we’re looking forward to playing at home,” Orgeron said. “Our last two games to play at home, one of the greatest places in the world.  I know it’s going to be a great crowd on Saturday night. We have some things we need to fix offensively defensively and on special teams.”

While LSU (10-0, 6-0) is a prohibitive favorite over Arkansas and Barry Lunney Jr., Orgeron knows you have to be ready to play each week in the SEC.

“With an interim coach with an open date they are  going to be trying some stuff, maybe some stuff that have been giving us problems,” Orgeron said. “We will be working on that stuff this week.”

Arkansas is entering having lost its last seven games while falling to 2-8 and 0-6 in SEC. LSU won its last home game 23-20 over Auburn on No. 9. The past two weeks they have won 46-41 over Alabama and 58-37 against Ole Miss with both games on the road.

Considering Arkansas has been involved in blowout losses since the Kentucky game how much can they realistically change in two weeks?

“I think you can do some things,” Orgeron said. “Obviously they can look at some things that have hurt us and run them if they’re close to something in their system. I don’t think you can overhaul the system in one week and expect to totally overhaul the system in one week and expect them to perform at a high level.

“But I think you know, obviously their coach is going to want to put his tweaks on it, maybe run the ball more, maybe play-action pass, play a different quarterback, not play a quarterback. Maybe blitz more, blitz less. Onside kicks on special teams. I’m sure a coach would like to add his flavor, whatever it may be.”

Arkansas was struggling last season when LSU came to Fayetteville. The Tigers escaped with a 24-17 victory. Different year and team, but does that help you prepare your team for this game?

“Yeah, don’t underestimate them,” Orgeron said. “They always play well against LSU. We have to play our best game. We’re looking at the things that we didn’t do well last week. We still have to play 60 minutes at the LSU standard of performance and we haven’t done that yet. Hopefully we can do that this week.”

Orgeron talked about how the team has been since its big win in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9. It’s rare for teams to go to Bryant-Denny Stadium and come out with a win.

“Yeah, you know I think a regular team would have overconfidence and letdowns and stuff,” Orgeron said. “You know we had a 21-point victory over Ole Miss. I think I was the only one happy in the locker room. The guys were not happy with their performance.

“Joe (Burrow) had two interceptions. He was not happy. The defense was not happy. So we had one of our better Tuesday practices yesterday. I think it’s more or less right now, at this point of the season we’re competing with ourselves to play at the LSU standard of performance. Once we do that we feel we’re going to be fine.”

Orgeron has Steve Ensminger as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and brought in Joe Brady to serve as passing game coordinator and work with the wide receivers. Has that combination clicked maybe even quicker than you envisioned?

“I’d have to say yes,” Orgeron said. “Obviously I thought we were going to be really good. With the points and yards and doing the things that we’re doing. To have the success that we’re doing, it’s much further advanced than I thought it would be.

“Obviously I was …. I’m not complaining. I think the speed at which they learned the spread offense and the way it was taught, has been phenomenal. It all starts with our quarterback. He has a great head on his shoulders. He’s smart. He knows what to do with the ball. We’ve got great players and we have great coaches coaching that system.”

Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 6 p.m. on Saturday night and televised on ESPN.

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