LSU players received help in preparing for Saturday’s morning kickoff from players — the ones no longer on the team.
Safety Jamal Adams, center Ethan Pocic and linebacker Duke Riley sent in video messages to the team. LSU coach Ed Orgeron showed them to players Friday night, hours before their 7 a.m. wakeup call for the 11:02 a.m. kickoff against Arkansas.
“Kind of motivated the team last night,” Orgeron said after LSU’s 33-10 throttling of the Razorbacks on Saturday. “They were very motivated.”
Much was made of the kickoff time. It was the earliest start in Tiger Stadium since 2011 and just the 12th morning kickoff for a home game since at least 1958. It may have been the earliest kickoff time for a Southeastern Conference home game in program history, though records can’t verify such a statement.
The result was a 23-point victory from a team that shook off a sleepy first half with a 26-point final two quarters. LSU (7-3, 4-2 SEC) is now 9-3 in its 12 games played at noon or earlier since 1958.
Orgeron knew Saturday morning his team would be ready, when players showed up at 7:20 a.m. for a scheduled 7:30 a.m. meeting. Orgeron, known for his motivational tactics, showed the squad another film, firing them up before the clash with the Razorbacks (4-6, 1-5).
Said Orgeron: “We woke up and our young coaches were on fire.”
Lights out for players came at 9 p.m., a few moments after those fiery videos from former players.
Pocic, in a text message on Saturday night, further explained the videos.
“They wanted us to send in a video about the memory of winning the (Golden Boot) trophy last year and I just talked about how the trophy was cool and all, but what I remember most is rushing for almost 400 yards and putting up almost 40 points,” said Pocic, now with the Seahawks. “Also, I talked about how much fun the game is because it’s basically a street right in the trenches, and that’s what it comes down to every year.”
Kicking woes; McMahon set to join staff
LSU’s kicking problems are back, and Orgeron hopes to solve them, for good, in January.
Redshirt freshman kicker Connor Culp missed back-to-back extra-points and a 32-yard field during the win Saturday, and Orgeron revealed some expected news afterward. He plans to hire special teams consultant Greg McMahon as his 10th assistant in January, when teams can hire an additional 10th assistant, a new change passed in the spring. McMahon would serve as the special teams coordinator.
“I fully plan on hiring Coach Mac,” Orgeron said.
Orgeron has suggested multiple times over the last few months that McMahon would be the team’s 10th assistant. He was clearer than ever Saturday after a woeful kicking out.
It was a surprise. Culp had made eight consecutive fields goals before his second-quarter miss. He then whiffed on consecutive point-afters to spur a kicking change. Walk-on Jack Gonsoulin, a former Catholic High standout, booted the final two extra points, making both of them.
What did Orgeron see with Culp’s misses?
“Not being funny here,” Orgeron said. “I saw the same thing you saw — bad kicks. I’m going to let our kicking coach look at it. We’re going to figure it out, I promise you that.”
LSU’s kickers missed four of their first seven kicks this season before Culp’s eight straight makes. The Tigers do not have a special teams coordinator, instead splitting the special teams duties among five assistant coaches.
John Battle noticed.
O and UT
Orgeron can move to 3-0 this week in games against his former teams.
LSU’s duel with Tennessee in Knoxville next Saturday will be the third time this season that the coach will pit his Tigers against a school in which he used to coach. LSU beat Syracuse and Ole Miss earlier this year.
“Great atmosphere. Enjoyed my one year there,” Orgeron said of UT. “Great stadium. Great tradition. A lot of respect for that school, but it’s not going to be about them. Going to be about us.”
Orgeron spent the 2009 season with the Volunteers as head coach Lane Kiffin’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. UT went 7-6 that year before Kiffin and much of the staff left for Southern Cal.
Move’n on up
Running back Derrius Guice continued sliding up LSU’s record books with his 147-yard rushing outing against the Razorbacks.
He’s now tied with Jeremy Hill for fifth-most 100-yard games in a career with 11 and is 109 yards from surpassing Harvey Williams for fifth-most career rushing yards for Tigers (Williams at 2,605).
With his third rushing touchdown Saturday, Guice moves into the top 10 all time with 27 career rushing TDs. He's tied for No. 9 with Kenny Hilliard, Harvey Williams and Garry James.
Mike Gegenheimer contributed to this report.
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