Scooter Hobbs column: LSU looks more like M*A*S*H unit

Published 10:41 am Friday, October 15, 2021

Presumably LSU will figure out a way to field a varsity Saturday morning for the Florida Gators’ pleasure.

Some might call it the JV, but embattled head coach Ed Orgeron preferred to take the high road with one of the biggest — and hopeful — clichés in sports.

“Next man up,” he said of an LSU depth chart that looks a lot like Lake Charles the morning after Hurricane Laura.

Sometimes Next Man Up is coach-speak for drawing straws, and that appears to be the case with LSU these days.

Or maybe they could toss darts at the roster, but assuming the thrower could be protected long enough, even that might be a 50-50 proposition of landing on an able body.

The Tigers’ injury situation has reached biblical proportions with a coach who risks third-degree burns every time he sits on his coaching (hot) seat.

At this rate, that sideline injury tent might have to be rented from Barnum & Bailey this week.

Orgeron no doubt flinches whenever a doctor or trainer sticks his head into the head coach’s office.

It never seems to be encouraging news.

Often as not it’s worstcase scenario — should be back on solid foods soon, but done with football for this season.

And pity the poor visitor who ignores a “Wet Floor” sign striding through the LSU football compound — better check the deductible on that insurance in advance,

There are a lot of ways to add it up. Depth charts tend to be flexible.

But the Tigers will face Florida without at least seven or eight defensive starters — assuming another doesn’t slip on a bar of soap tonight — and easily their best offensive player.

Defensively it includes a pair of All-American cornerbacks (Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks), the two best pass rushers (defensive ends Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony), along with both safeties (Major Burns and Jay Ward), linebacker Jared Small and tackle Joseph Evans.

The offensive line is as healthy as its been all season — for whatever that’s worth for a struggling group.

Actually, wide receiver Kayshon Boutte wasn’t only the Tigers’ best offensive player — he WAS the LSU offense.

The twisting sideline catch, which bypassed the sideline tent and put him on a medical golf cart straight to the dressing room, was as good of a catch as you’ll see — and the last you’ll see of Boutte this season.

But it fit the pattern.

When a team’s preseason begins with a “fishing injury,” maybe it ought to think about just avoiding the football field for a while.

There was no guarantee that Myles Brennan was going to beat out Max Johnson to be the starting quarterback — it would have been closely contested. But when he slipped on that boat dock and broke his non-throwing arm a couple of days before August practice, the tone for the season was set.

Originally Orgeron thought LSU might get Brennan back during the open date. Wishful thinking, of course — it’s now questionable whether he’ll sufficiently heal before the end of the season.

One thing after another.

“Somebody’s got to rise to the occasion,” Orgeron said. “We’ve lost several, especially starters on defense. We’ve got some young guys who will have to step up.”

On the odd chance that it will still be his problem, Orgeron has promised a thorough investigation as soon as this snakebit season is over with.

Sorry. It’s been done before. The findings generally find that injuries, even when the dreaded “rash” of injuries get upgraded to a “tsunami,” they are usually about being in the wrong place at the wrong time or unfortunate ankle angle. The X’s and O’s these days, even with GPS technology, pretty well make it impossible to locate those places in advance of the next train wreck.

So you’re guessing that for the embattled Orgeron forgiving minds will realize the injury woes are out of his control and grant him a mulligan?

Silly you.

The Tigers may be down to a shadow of themselves on the depth chart.

But off the field it’s still very much LSU.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at scooter.hobbs@americanpress.com