Ed Orgeron cut to the chase rather quickly at his weekly news conference Monday.
Just as he did in the aftermath of Saturday’s 27-19 loss to Florida, Orgeron pointed out where it all went wrong for his LSU football team.
“We felt that we beat ourselves in a lot of areas,” he said.
There was a litany of mistakes to be sure: Breakdowns in pass protection, missed assignments, missed tackles, penalties, and, the one that’s most unsettling to head coaches — giveaways.
LSU suffered a season-high three turnovers against Florida, equaling the number of giveaways the Tigers had in their first five games.
The problem is a costly fumble and two interceptions brought their two-game total to five when combined with the two lost fumbles Orgeron’s team had in a win against Ole Miss a week earlier.
LSU was minus-2 in the turnover differential against Florida (the Tigers’ defense took it away from the Gators once), but two of their three giveaways were particularly damaging.
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Joe Burrow was blindsided on a sack that resulted in a first-quarter fumble with his team threatening to build on a 7-0 lead.
“Very frustrated. ... It takes all 11 to protect the ball,” Orgeron said. “It starts with pass protection; that first sack-fumble was devastating to our team. It got their crowd back into the game.
“But it was coming from Joe’s blind side. He never saw it. So that’s something that we have to avoid by the protection.”
In facing a speedy Florida pass rush, left tackle Saahdiq Charles was just coming off an injury that sidelined him for two games. Adrian Magee, who came back from an injury a week earlier, made his first career start at left guard in place of an injured Garrett Brumfield.
“That was a big play, but we still had chances after that,” center Lloyd Cushenberry said. “We just didn’t recover from it. We had chances to win, so you can’t just put it all on that one play.
“We’ll get better from it. ... We’ll learn from it.”
Later, Burrow threw his first interception of the season in the final two minutes when LSU, down by just a point, had an opportunity to steal a win with a late field goal, just as it did at Auburn three games earlier.
The pick-six by Florida strong safety Brad Stewart gave the Gators a more comfortable eight-point lead. That led seconds later to a desperation heave for Burrow’s second interception of the day.
“Minus-2 in the turnover ratio,” Orgeron said Monday. “Very, very disappointing there. Three turnovers on offense.”
That came after LSU turned over the ball to Ole Miss twice in the previous game, both of those giveaways coming on fumbles in the red zone.
The only reason they weren’t a much bigger problem was because LSU wound up pounding Ole Miss 45-16.
The recent ball security issues have been disheartening when you consider the Tigers tied an NCAA single-season record for fewest turnovers with just eight in 13 games last season.
Michael Divinity had finally gotten to the quarterback — or so he thought.
Between a disappointing loss to Troy last September and the Ole Miss game this season, LSU gave the ball away four times in a 12-game stretch.
Also, LSU quarterbacks had gone 42 quarters with 274 consecutive pass attempts without an interception before the first pick of Burrow’s college career late in the Florida game.
“Their guy made a good play,” said Burrow, who set an LSU record with 158 consecutive attempts without an interception until Stewart stepped in front of his pass. “He was just sitting on the route, so you have to give credit to him.”
“It’s frustrating, but we can’t let a bad play from one drive affect other drives,” Cushenberry said. “You have to recover and come back and try to get better from it. You move on during the game and hope it won’t happen again.”
Burrow said they have to get it fixed quickly with No. 2 Georgia, which leads the Southeastern Conference in total defense and has nine takeaways, coming into Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
“You can’t do that (have three giveaways) and win games,” he said. “That’s the one thing we really need to get addressed this week.
“We went into meetings (Monday) and I said the good thing was we had our opportunities. The bad thing is we missed them. You can’t do that in those big games.”
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