Dave Aranda got no sleep Sunday night.
At least that’s what LSU coach Ed Orgeron assumed based on the amount of data his defensive coordinator presented Monday morning at coaches meetings. Aranda charted every missed tackle in the Tigers' win over Florida, breaking down the whiffs by position group and type of tackle.
“I don't know if Dave (Aranda) slept last night, to be honest with you,” Orgeron said.
That’s been the focus this week for the Tigers (4-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) ahead of the showdown Saturday in Tiger Stadium against No. 10 Auburn (5-1, 3-0). Despite the 17-16 win in The Swamp last week, Aranda’s group missed several tackles.
With Auburn and running back Kerryon Johnson coming to town, that’s not good. The 6-foot, 215-pound junior is averaging nearly 6 yards a carry and has scored as many rushing touchdowns as LSU has as a team (12).
“The key to these guys is to tackle; got to be able to tackle in space and got to be in the right spot,” Orgeron said. “I think that the advantage (Johnson) has is when he breaks the line of scrimmage. It’s hard for a 165-pound defensive back, 180-pound defensive back to tackle him one-on-one. Big men got to tackle, 300-pounders got to tackle.”
It was the theme of the week in Baton Rouge — tackling.
Reporters saw some of it during brief observation windows at practice. Each group worked a different tackle — open-field tackles, chest-up tackles, angle tackles — all based on Aranda’s “extensive research” in re-watching the game.
“I work at the outside linebackers, so we worked at a certain (tackle)," Orgeron said. "We were good at one tackle, OK at the next level and not so very good at this certain tackle, and that was open-field tackling. Each group had a specific type of tackle they had to work on. We worked on tackling every day this week.”
Guice ‘looked good’
Junior running back Derrius Guice “looked good” at practice this week, and Orgeron hopes his late-game run at Florida has delivered confidence to the banged-up back.
Guice was “a little tender” heading into the game against the Gators, but he rammed into the middle of UF’s defensive line on an 8-yard, first-down run in the fourth quarter.
“I think that run last week gave him some confidence,” Orgeron said. “Hopefully he feels like he can run like that every down. He seems like he’s fine this week. We’ll have to see.”
Guice appeared to injure his left knee in the third quarter of the loss at Mississippi State on Sept. 16. He’s battled what Orgeron called a “nagging” injury since then. Halfway through the regular season, he sits at 364 yards rushing — about 26 percent of his total last season of 1,387 yards. Since the loss to the Bulldogs, Guice has carried 25 times for just 64 yards and one touchdown, completely missing the loss to Troy.
Starting tackle Toby Weathersby (undisclosed) and K.J. Malone (left knee) remain “questionable” for the game against Auburn, Orgeron said.
The players went out with injuries against Florida and missed at least the first three days of practice this week. The team is preparing to potentially play three true freshmen on the line: LT Saahdiq Charles, RG Ed Ingram and RT Austin Deculus.
Those three rookies played most of the win over the Gators. They made mental mistakes, not as much physical, Orgeron said.
“The thing about these guys, they can handle the physicality of the game,” Orgeron said. “That’s a positive for the freshman linemen, because this is a physical football game in the SEC.”
Anthony undergoes surgery
Edge rusher Andre Anthony underwent surgery Thursday, he announced on Twitter.
The redshirt freshman from New Orleans has not played this season after suffering an ankle injury in camp and then re-injuring it during the week of practice before the season opener against BYU.
His status remains in doubt for the rest of the season.