The second game of the Ed Orgeron era at LSU is finally set to take place on Saturday when the Tigers welcome Southern Miss into Death Valley.
LSU’s game against Florida was postponed, giving the home team an added week of preparation before this nonconference matchup. Conversely, it’s given Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson more time to study the Tigers’ newly rejuvenated play under Orgeron.
The tape doesn’t lie — the last time LSU took the field against Missouri, it posted record-setting numbers including season highs in yardage and points.
“Coach Orgeron has given them some juice,” Hopson said of LSU. “They went out there and played well against Missouri and they play hard every Saturday. They have done that since the beginning (of the season). They’re a football team that we know is a really good football team. We know they’re a very talented football team and understand that we have to play better. That’s a big thing as a coach, we have to come out and play better football than we did last week for sure.”
Last week, Southern Miss dropped its second game of the season to a familiar foe. Former LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson, who’s at the helm of Texas-San Antonio, handed the Golden Eagles a 55-32 loss on the road.
In that game, two of UTSA’s running backs rushed for more than 120 yards. Overall, Wilson’s squad racked up 339 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.
Hopson isn’t sure whether Leonard Fournette will return to the field in time for the game Saturday, but isn’t sure it matters, either. Derrius Guice has proven to be a force since he was inserted into LSU’s starting lineup, which makes it an equally tough task for the Southern Miss defense.
“No, they’re good at running back. Their ones, twos and threes are good at running back,” Hopson said. “We know we’re going to get good players, whether Leonard goes or not. He’s a great football player, but so are their backups. We know they’re going to do what they do.”
Despite his defense giving up a big rushing performance to UTSA, Hopson said he doesn’t foresee any personnel changes coming before the LSU game.
If any changes are going to be made, they’ll be mental, he said.
The lopsided loss to UTSA did not sit well with Southern Miss, and a second road contest in as many weeks presents another challenge for the team. Yet, Hopson downplayed all of that entering the LSU game.
“We’re going to be motivated,” he said. “You better be motivated every chance you get to play football because you don’t get that many chances in life to play. It’s always tough that day or two after a loss. It’s always good to get back on the field and get to play.
“Last week isn’t going to have anything to do with this week and that’s the reality of it. Two weeks ago has nothing to do with this week and three weeks from now has nothing to do with this week. We have to get ready this week and we know we’re playing a football team that had a close loss to Wisconsin and controversial end to Auburn, but if they won both those games, they’d probably be ranked No. 2 or No. 3 in the nation. We know those are close losses. We know we’re playing an excellent football team and we know we have to be ready to go.”
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