Orgeron ditches book for instinct

<p class="indent">On LSU’s second touchdown drive of Sunday’s 33-17 victory over Miami, the Tigers twice gambled on fourth-and-1 situations before Nick Brossette scored on a 1-yard run.

Orgeron said the Tigers have a “book that uses analytics to make the fourthdown decisions.

<p class="indent">“We do a comprehensive study during the week,” he said, “and then on the sideline, the analytics will tell you if you should go for it or not.”

<p class="indent">All that said, Orgeron admitted he never looked at “the book” on either of the situations. LSU picked up the first when Brossette gained 2 yards from the Miami 49 and the Tigers later drew the Hurricanes offside at their own 38.

<p class="indent">“I don’t know if the book said to go for it or not,” he said. “We were going for it that time.”

<p class="indent"><strong>• </strong><span><strong>HONORS</strong>:</span> This probably would never have happened last year. But that’s why the Tigers went out and recruited graduate transfer kicker Cole Tracy to take over the placekicking duties.

<p class="indent">Tracy, who spent his first three years kicking at tiny Assumption College in Massachusetts, had quite a debut as he was named the Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after going 4-for-4 on field goals, including a school record-tying 54-yarder, joining Wade Richey (vs. Kentucky, 1986) and Ron Lewis (at North Carolina, 1985).

<p class="indent">Another Tiger making his first start, sophomore linebacker Jacob Phillips, was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after ringing up seven tackles, a quarterback hurry and an interception that he returned 45 yards for a pick-six touchdown for one of the key plays against Miami.

<p class="indent">Tracy and Phillips were also named the Louisiana Players of the Week, with the Tigers sweeping those honors as Brossette was named the state’s offensive player of the week.

<p class="indent"><strong>• </strong><span><strong>SPECIAL</strong>:</span> Tracy wasn’t the only new special teams player to star.

<p class="indent">Freshman walk-on kicker Avery Atkins hit six of his eight kickoffs for touchbacks and one was a squib kick.

<p class="indent">Orgeron credited special teams coach Greg McMahon for finding Atkins, incidentally in Auburn, Alabama, and convincing him to accept the preferred walk-on status.

<p class="indent">“McMahon told Orgeron, “I have the best for you the best kicker in the country.”

<p class="indent">Orgeron promised Atkins he’d have a chance to earn a scholarship when one opens up and said Monday he anticipates that will eventually happen.

<p class="indent"><strong>• </strong><span><strong>CENTER OF ATTENTION</strong>:</span> Probably the biggest question mark on LSU’s offensive line going in was center Lloyd Cushenberry.

<p class="indent">Orgeron gave the sophomore from Dutchtown an “A-plus” for his first start.

<p class="indent">“I thought he played the best of any offensive linemen except for (right guard) Damien Lewis.”

<p class="indent">Orgeron did have a disclaimer, noting that Miami used a four-man front that rarely had a defender lined head-up on Cushenberry.

<p class="indent">“Those guys were moving,” Orgeron said. “There wasn’t a nose tackle. He’s agile, and he can pick that stuff up. We’ll see when he plays a (nose guard).”””<p>Orgeron</p><p>No analytics</p> (Dennis Babineaux/Special to the American Press)

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