It’s time to get back on track, time to mature and time to start winning.
Those were three of four points of emphasis during a midday meeting Monday that included coach Ed Orgeron, offensive coaches and offensive players.
Center Will Clapp said there was another point made, too.
“Everybody’s got to get on the same page,” he said.
The coaches, too.
The drama last week leading up to Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Troy is in the past, they say. Last week’s offensive instability — the temporary abandonment of offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system — is over, they say.
The ball is back in Canada’s court.
“We’re going to get back to what we’ve been doing,” Clapp said Tuesday. “We’re going to get back to us, as Coach Canada said.”
The Tigers (3-2) are moving forward with the system Canada spent the last nine months installing — the one with those presnap shifts and motions, the offense Orgeron hired him to operate, the scheme the school is doling out $1.5 million to see.
It’s back, just in time for a trip to face No. 21 Florida (3-1) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Players acknowledged Tuesday the Tigers operated with a different offense during the first half of the game against Troy. They stopped the presnap movements and even incorporated some plays and formations that Steve Ensminger used as interim coordinator last fall. The play calls were even different, quarterback Danny Etling said — they were shorter.
“It was just a normal offense, stuff we kind of did last year,” Etling said. “We did a little bit of the switch back to what we were doing (under Canada) in the second half.”
Rashard Lawrence’s update on his status this week is two words long.
Two offenses in one game? Players say the transition wasn’t that difficult, and the changes weren’t that significant. Etling called it a “mixture” of Canada’s scheme and the one from last season.
“I just run the plays,” Etling said Tuesday with a smile. “I don’t like to get into any drama or anything like that. Whatever play is called, I’m going to try to make it work.”
Orgeron revealed Monday that he inserted himself into Canada’s system last week. He hoped to “simplify” it by eliminating the presnap shifts and motions to help a struggling offensive line that started two true freshmen.
Clapp and left tackle KJ Malone said they felt no difference operating in the more simplified offense. Presnap movement more affects the skill players, they said, specifically the receivers and running backs.
Clapp even said he prefers the shifts, but he admitted they can get “confusing” for such a young unit.
“I enjoy when we shift. It gets the defense … makes it a little hectic,” he said. “They don’t know where to line up, more worried about where they can be or what they should do. I really enjoy that.”
The return of Canada’s scheme doesn’t mean immediate success. His unit scored seven points at Mississippi State, stumbled in the red zone against BYU and has gone three straight games without cracking the 175-yard rushing mark (a first since 2012 for LSU).
But did we see the full, fledged Canada attack in those first four outings? Maybe not.
Ed Orgeron admitted Monday that he broke a promise last week.
That could have something to do with personnel, some offensive players suggested Tuesday.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t know the offense yet,” Malone said. “That kind of affects us.”
Canada installed his scheme in the spring and continued it over the summer. He began a re-installation during camp, completing that process at the end of the third week of preseason practice, two weeks before the season opener against BYU.
The offense excelled during spring and in camp, players insisted Tuesday, making this sometimes sluggish start more confounding. Clapp hinted at a withholding of the full scheme through the first five games.
“Trying to get back to what we were doing in spring ball and camp,” he said. “Y’all didn’t get to see what we were doing, that type of stuff. We were a good offense in spring and camp. Trying to get back to that type of stuff. Really doing our shifts and motions and doing that to our advantage.”
Is the full Canada offense coming out this week? Maybe.
“We’re trying to shore up our identity,” tight end Foster Moreau said. “We know who we want to be, and we know who we’ve been in the past, going into spring and fall and really looking like an effective and efficient offense, but this isn’t really who we want to be or who we are. I think that’s the goal this week, to come out and start fast and show people who we are and who we can be.”
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