Garrett Brumfield accentuated his optimism with a poor choice of words.
“There’s that old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,'” Brumfield said. “We’re just going to keep rolling like nothing happened.”
That’s the thing, though. Nothing did happen.
Last weekend, LSU’s game against Florida was indefinitely postponed, grinding the progress and optimism of the Ed Orgeron era at LSU to a halt. This was particularly disconcerting for an LSU team that Orgeron bragged put together perhaps its best week of practice after what was certainly its best game of the season, a 42-7 win over Missouri.
But to Brumfield and his teammates, there’s no concern that a lost weekend will equal a loss of any of the energy or success that has defined the short period Orgeron has led the football team.
“I don’t think it’s starting over,” fullback J.D. Moore said. “I think we’ll be able to maintain, obviously with a much longer interval in between the games. It’ll feel faded, but I think from a team mindset, coming off an unexpected bye week, if you will, we’ll be able to practice with a little more energy because we’re fresher.”
That sense of freshness permeated through the players’ comments Monday afternoon. Brumfield, an offensive lineman who could potentially be competing for a starting job this week with guard Will Clapp still injured, reciprocated the expectation that the team will be fresher this week, but not just because of the unexpected free weekend.
By Brumfield’s analysis, the team is still riding high on Orgeron’s feverish energy, and that unrelenting optimism and drive has trickled down to the players, preventing anyone from feeling down.
And even if players did let the surprise disappearance of the Florida game from the schedule floor them, quarterback Danny Etling said that that wouldn’t necessarily lead to a loss; he said he believes that teams can “gain momentum” over the course of a game, even if external factors have flattened the team.
Given how complicated the narrative is regarding LSU and Florida and how this relates to the rest of the SEC, it’s easy to overlook Southern Miss as just another nonconference opponent caught in the whirlwind of more important issues. But that’s not how LSU will view this week.
If anything, the Tigers are antsy after the off week, and Southern Miss might accidentally get caught in something much more dangerous: LSU’s misplaced wrath.
“I think we’re kind of champing at the bit,” Moore said. “We wanted to play, we prepared the whole week as if we were going to, and then it was taken away. We’re really looking forward to competing this week. It doesn’t matter if it’s nonconference or conference. We just want to play.”