Upstart LSU looks to upset No. 1 ‘Bama

BATON ROUGE — Give Ed Orgeron some credit.

He did not try to ignore the big red elephant in the room at his weekly press conference Monday.

Just another game? Alabama?

Yeah, right.

“I know and everybody knows how big this game is for the state of Louisiana, for our football team,” Orgeron said. “But I am not going to make it bigger than life that our guys can’t handle it.

“It could take on a life of its own as game time gets closer — the upstart No. 4-ranked Tigers (7-1) against the defending national champion Alabama team that hasn’t been remotely challenged in strolling to a near-unanimous No. 1 ranking and a 8-0 record.

Orgeron understands that. But, as usual, he trying to block out the noise and keep it business as usual as possible in the football ops building.

“We’re not going to say it’s like every other game, we understand that this is ‘THE’ game,” he said. “But we’re going to approach every day like we’ve done. We’re not going to change our process.

“I know this. Our coaching staff is ready, our team is ready, but there’s nothing you can do till Saturday night. Get the most that we can out of today.”

“Now, when it comes down to game time, there’s going to be an excitement in the air that’s going to be different for this game. This just happens this way. That’s how it is LSU vs. Alabama. There’s nothing I need to say or do this week to get these guys fired up.”Orgeron described his team “confident” but “humble” and the one thing that won’t be mentioned this week is Alabama’s 7-game winning streak in the long-standing series.”That’s not something that’s discussed,” Orgeron said. “Obviously, I think all of us feel it. We understand the importance of beating Alabama at LSU. That’s going to play into some motivation this week. I don’t have to say it, though.

“Devin White, of course, won’t be available for the first half after he drew a controversial flag for targeting late in the Mississippi State game, a penalty that forces the player to miss the following half.

Orgeron preferred to focus on two key players who will be back — senior left guard Garrett Brumfield, who has missed the last four games, and noseguard Breiden Fehoko, who sat out the last game against Mississippi State as a precaution.

Brumfield will be ready to take back the starting spot that has been handled by freshman Chasen Hines and Adrian Magee in his absence.

“He’s the inspirational leader of the offensive line,” Fehoko said.”He’s going to be about as healthy as he possibly can right now,” Orgeron said. “That gives us a boost. Garrett brings a tremendous amount of leadership, a tremendous amount of confidence, and he also makes the calls.

“He helps the left tackle, (Saahdiq Charles), so they have a tremendous relationship there. We can play Chasen behind him … if Garrett needs a spell, I think we’ve developed depth there that makes it stronger.

“For the first half White’s considerable shoes will have to be filled by sophomore Patrick Queen and freshman Micah Baskerville.”We’re not decided on that yet,” Orgeron said.

Baskerville, who’s played in five games, has 18 tackles while Queen has played in all games with 13 tackles.

But Orgeron, who still doesn’t agree with the call that benched White, said the team has accepted the reality that White and his team-leading 76 tackles won’t be available.

“Great,” Orgeron said when asked how the team was reacting to the loss. “Everybody has got to pick it up, starting with me. Everybody knows that. This team plays well when they are mad. I coach better when I’m mad. I like it. That’s good. We need to be that way.”

“We’re going to go in to win the game, I can tell you that,” Orgeron continued. “We’re going to figure out a game plan that fits this week, a game plan that fits the team. We haven’t figured that (game plan) out yet.”

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LSU Tigers defensive end Rashard Lawrence (90) stops Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) for a loss during the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018. (Dennis Babineaux/Special to the American Press)

Dennis Babineaux