It hasn't been unusual for this year's LSU football squad to prepare for multiple quarterbacks in the same matchup.
They've already had to do so against Auburn (Bo Nix & TJ Finley) and Florida (Emory Jones & Anthony Richardson). But the Tigers don't appear to be taking the bait this week, despite an injury to starting Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral.
"We’ve practiced for Matt the whole week," Orgeron said Friday morning. "That’s it."
It's probably fair for the Tigers' game plan to assume a bit of gamesmanship on the part of Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1 SEC) and coach Lane Kiffin, who volunteered that his starting quarterback might not be ready to play this weekend in Oxford. In fairness, Corral did carry the ball 30 times, while also attempting 38 passes in a wild win over Tennessee. You can assume some dings and dents after that amount of action.
But it'd have been a strategical blunder for Kiffin to reveal that info as early as he did, with college football teams not being required to issue injury reports.
For Orgeron's part, he ain't buying it.
"I know the competitor he is, that he’s gonna play," LSU's coach said. "That’s my gut feeling.”
- LSU (4-3, 2-2 SEC) at No. 12 Ole Miss (5-1, 4-1 SEC)
- WHERE: Vaught Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Mississippi
- WHEN: 2:30 p.m.
- TV: CBS
- LISTEN: WWL AM-870, FM-105.3
One way or another, it's also the smart play. The Tigers will have enough difficulty stopping 5-1 Ole Miss without drawing focus away to a potential Corral replacement, most likely Luke Altmyer. It could pose a potential issue should the backup get in the game, but that's a bridge the Tigers can cross when they find out if it actually exists at all.
HINES (LIKELY) OUT
LSU guard Chasen Hines has all but been ruled out for Saturday, though his coach left open the possibility of a "miracle" that might allow him to play.
The good news for the Tigers is they were very impressed with Marlon Martinez's spot start a week ago -- a game in which Tigers running back Ty Davis-Price rolled up an LSU-record 287 rushing yards. He'll get another chance to show what he's got in Oxford, and against a porous run front.
"We’re really excited about him," Orgeron said. "He did well. … Coach Brad Davis has done a tremendous job with him.”
THE COUNTER TO A COUNTER?
As mentioned above, LSU had a record-setting rushing day against Florida. That was largely due to a counter run play that the Tigers continued to hammer as the Gators repeatedly failed to stop it.
It's a play that should and will come back, Orgeron said. This week could be difficult, with Ole Miss knowing exactly what action to prepare for -- but that won't stop LSU from kicking the tires.
“Obviously we’re going to try it and see if it works," Orgeron said, laughing. "If it doesn’t, as good of an offensive coordinator as Jake is, he’s gonna have something off of it. And if they overplayer the counter, we’ll have something that we’re about to run instead of a counter.”
Might lightning strike twice? Or might this LSU OL and TDP just be hitting its stride?
IS LSU'S DEFENSE TIRING LATE IN GAMES?
A bit, but not enough to be a big part of the team's issues, Orgeron said.
In reality, it's more a product of college offenses making adjustments, which college defenses aren't always able to counter in-game.
“If you watch around the country, it’s not only us. You know, those spread offenses they catch up with what you’re doing. Obviously they make adjustments, it turns out to be a shootout. And you look around the country, that’s kind of what’s happening. I don’t think we’re getting wore out, I really don’t. I think we’re doing a good job of substituting. There might be some situations where we’re a little bit tired, but I think it’s more or less the offense is ahead of the defense. They’re coming out in the second half on fire.”