In the aftermath of a shocking loss to three-touchdown underdog Troy on Saturday night, LSU inside linebacker Devin White said coach Ed Orgeron spoke like a father figure in addressing his team.
“He kept his composure,” White told reporters. “Basically, he said we needed some leaders to step up and take control.”
Almost before Orgeron left the room, he got what he was seeking when safety John Battle, running back Darrel Williams and other unidentified Tigers spoke up during a player’s-only meeting after their 24-21 setback in Tiger Stadium.
Buoyed by that quick response, when LSU players were stinging from a second loss in three weeks, Orgeron said at his weekly news conference Monday he would meet that afternoon with a few team leaders.
The plan was to stay positive and plot a course for the team's final seven regular-season games — starting with Saturday’s huge Southeastern Conference matchup with No. 21 Florida in Gainesville.
Ranked as high as 12th after winning its first two games, LSU dropped to 3-2 and out of the national polls with the loss to Troy. That came two weeks after Mississippi State throttled LSU 37-7 in the Tigers’ SEC opener.
“We will foster leadership like we always do; but even foster it more, expect some guys to step up,” Orgeron said. “We're going to battle. I mean you put our backs to the wall, we just know how to battle."
If the hastily-called Saturday night meeting is any indication, Monday’s visit with the head coach was likely an encouraging experience.
Both White, a sophomore, and defensive end Christian LaCouture, a fifth-year senior, said Saturday night's meeting was brief, yet productive.
White said it was a step in the right direction.
"It was a good sign because I feel some people don’t understand what it means to be an LSU Tiger," he said. "At the end of the day, you've got the whole state of Louisiana depending on you. When LSU wins, everybody is happy.
"For (the players) to be able to understand how frustrating it is for them to lose to anybody, that’s a good thing."
White said Battle, the team’s second-leading tackler, initiated the meeting.
“Basically, you want to see who can step up and be a leader in a time of need like this,” said White, who tops LSU’s defense with 49 tackles through five games. “Most people would put their head down after a game like that because it was a tragic loss.
“You need more leaders,” he said. “One person wanted to let the whole team know what’s going to be expected. We need more people doing more things.”
White said Battle did most of the talking.
“It was kind of his meeting because I know he had a lot on his chest with him being a senior," White said. "He was here when they played teams like that and dominated them, so he said some things.”
“Obviously, it was something that, after that game, we felt like it needed to be addressed,” said LaCouture, who set career highs with 12 tackles and two sacks against Troy. “When it happened, everybody got their time to talk. When we were done, we said, ‘OK, move on.’ ”
While he politely declined to say how many players spoke, LaCouture said whomever wanted to talk did.
“They wanted to let their frustrations out. ... Guys were upset,” he said. “Troy came in and played very hard, so give them credit for it. We didn’t overlook those guys, they went 10-3 last year and had 10 guys back on offense. For us, it was just a hard loss."
Mike Gegenheimer contributed to this report.