Saturday’s trip to Ole Miss is a “must win” game for LSU as far as coach Ed Orgeron said.
In his final news conference before the team packs up for Oxford, Mississippi, Orgeron gave a passionate appeal to what the Magnolia Bowl rivalry means to LSU, taking it much further than the boundaries of the 2017 season.
“It’s LSU-Ole Miss,” Orgeron said. “It’s a rivalry game. This is for the fans. This is for the ’70s. This is for our players. This is for Ronnie Estay sacking Archie Manning. This is a battle, a border state, bragging rights, all that stuff. This is what college football is about.”
In order for LSU to take down their rivals, Orgeron wants his players to avoid the slow start at all costs.
The Tigers pulled off the largest comeback against a conference opponent in Tiger Stadium history last week against Auburn, but Orgeron doesn’t count on lightning to strike twice.
“We broke that record: the largest comeback in Tiger Stadium. We don’t want to do that again,” he said. “We want to start fast. We want to start with enthusiasm. It’s going to take that, especially going on the road. We won’t have the crowd behind us and we’re going to have to start fast.”
LSU will have some extra help in its goals this weekend thanks to the return of right tackle Toby Weathersby off the injury list.
Orgeron said Wednesday night on his call-in radio show that Weathersby would play against Ole Miss.
He somewhat clarified Weathersby’s status for this weekend, saying he hopes he will be able to play the entire game, but LSU is preparing as if that won’t be the case.
Weathersby suffered an undisclosed injury two weeks ago against Florida and missed last week’s game against Auburn entirely before returning to practice this week. He was held out of contact drills on Monday and Tuesday, but participated fully starting Wednesday.
“I hope he can go for the full game, but I don’t know,” Orgeron said. “A guy comes back and you just don’t know. We have to be ready to spell him for sure.”
Behind Weathersby will likely be Adrain Magee who Orgeron described as the “swing guy” on the offensive line, meaning he’ll play some left tackle and guard in conjunction with backup duties behind Weathersby.
Orgeron also said Derrius Guice is the healthiest he’s been in a while after the Tigers running back has battled nagging injuries the past few weeks.
The LSU coach didn’t expand to say exactly how healthy that makes Guice, only that it’s better than it was.
“I just think it’s been a while since he had re-injured his injury,” Orgeron said. “Talking to the trainers, this is the healthiest he’s been.”
Guice has 435 yards and five touchdowns this season, but hasn’t broken 100 yards in a single game sine Week 2 against Chattanooga. He did not play at all against Troy.