Perhaps lost in the polarizing nature of the LSU-Florida postponement was the Tigers continued transition of life under Ed Orgeron.
Prior to a 42-7 win against Missouri in Orgeron's debut, LSU had little time to adjust to a redesigned and themed practice regiment. The practices are shorter to keep players fresh, heavily focused on individual work and are run at a quicker pace.
Even on "Competition Tuesday," practice features plenty of position drills and one-on-one battles, something Orgeron borrowed from Pete Carroll when he coached at Southern Cal.
What stood out to Orgeron was Carroll’s team improved as the season went on, instead of regressing.
“We have more individual periods then we ever had,” Orgeron said. “It's not all about team. We teach part to the whole. We have about 75 percent of our practice dedicated to the individual getting better and 25 percent of our practice is dedicated to our team preparing for our next opponent.”
Still, it took a week for it to become the new norm.
“Like that first Tuesday when we had him, it felt kind of hard because it was a lot of running, upbeat,” said wide receiver D.J. Chark. “It wasn’t long, but we weren’t used to that tempo. Last Tuesday was real smooth. Like today, I’m pretty sure is going to go real smooth again just because we’re getting the hang of it, and we know what to expect.”
Then came last Thursday’s announcement of a postponement due to Hurricane Matthew’s impending landfall on the Florida coast. Orgeron didn’t wait until after practice to tell his players they wouldn’t be playing.
Instead, he shifted their focus to finishing out the practice week by working on fundamentals. Orgeron and tight end Colin Jeter agreed LSU finished on a high note.
“I think even after it, we still had one of our best practices,” Jeter said. “I think everyone is just excited about what we can do with this team now. They’re ready to come to work every day.”
LSU outside linebacker Corey Thompson practiced Tuesday for the first time since fracturing …
Jeter’s sentiments highlight how players have bought into Orgeron’s message of it being a "new season." However, the momentum built from the win against Missouri appeared to be temporarily derailed by the unexpected off week.
Chark doesn’t see it that way, especially not when considering how the clock is ticking on LSU’s seniors.
“I feel like not playing really motivated these guys to even work harder,” Chark said. “Because a lot of seniors, you only get so many games. With this being their last year, every game counts for those guys. So knowing that they missed out on that game, I feel like they’re going to work even harder for this game.”
Having unplanned time to rest their bodies is certainly a positive, players say. Before his workout session Monday, Jeter acknowledged that his legs hadn’t felt so fresh in a while.
That rejuvenated feeling should help LSU continue to string together good practices in hopes of building off the win against Missouri, said fullback J.D. Moore.
“I don’t think it’s starting over,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to maintain. … We’ll be able to practice with a little more energy because we’re fresher. I think that kind of practice this week we’ll help maintain that momentum and roll right into the game.”