FOR THE MOST PARTSCH: ‘Dr. O’ has the prescription for LSU’s post-Bama blues
BATON ROUGE — It may be time to give Ed Orgeron a new nickname — Dr. O.
LSU overcame a first half of sleepwalking on Saturday, attributed to the rare morning kickoff inside Tiger Stadium, and took care of the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks 33-10. As expected, the die-hard Tiger faithful were also half asleep as most of them didn’t show up until the second quarter as their tailgating tradition would not be sacrificed for an early game.
It was a complete effort as running back Derrius Guice rushed for 147 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns, quarterback Danny Etling connected with wide receiver D.J. Chark for two touchdowns including a crowd-pleasing 68-yard touchdown down the right sideline in the fourth quarter and the defense held Arkansas to only 3 points in the second half.
For the second straight season, Orgeron wrote the right prescription to help LSU recover from its annual Alabama hangover. Thus his new title.
One knock on his predecessor Les Miles was that the old Mad Hatter was not able to get his team to bounce back from a loss to hated Alabama. After dropping games to the Crimson Tide in 2014 and 2015, the Miles-led Tigers then lost to the Razorbacks, which may have been more acceptable say back in 2007 when the program featured such running back stars, and future NFL players, as Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. The latter somehow once graced the cover of Madden NFL 12, which to this day remains a great mystery.
The Arkansas teams that bested LSU in Miles’ last full two seasons were mediocre at best.
The 2014 team went 6-6 in the regular season, won the Texas Bowl over a bad University of Texas team, and only posted two wins in the Southeastern Conference. The 2015 team was slightly better, having won seven regular season games, another bowl, and five SEC games. Both seasons though, LSU had better players and was the better team but yet somehow lost to the fighting Pig Sooies.
That hasn’t been the case for the Dr. O-led Tigers.
Last year, LSU bounced back nicely with a convincing 38-10 victory in Fayetteville where Guice rushed for 252 yards on a mere 21 attempts. Not only were the Tigers the more physical than the always overly boisterous and underperforming Bret Bielema-coached Razorbacks, who may have coached his final game inside Tiger Stadium for Arkansas as the hot seat he currently sits on just got hotter.
So what is Dr. O’s secret?
Could it have been the video messages from Duke Riley, Kendell Beckwith and Jamal Adams that the Tigers watched this morning? Was it the fact the team had to be up for a team meeting at 7:30 a.m and was amped up for the rare morning game?
“I learned from Pete Carroll that you have to treat every game one game at a time,” said Orgeron in the press conference afterwards. “We haven’t made Alabama win all or nothing, although it is important and we know it is. We go into every week and say we are going to treat it one game at a time and that’s what we’ve done and the guys are catching on to it.”
That philosophy is why Dr. O has been able to get the Tigers feeling well for the Razorbacks in back-to-back seasons, it is also why the team rebounded from the early-season loss to Troy and now is in position if they win out to reach one of the premier bowls like the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas.
Orgeron may not have figured out Alabama just yet but he knows the remedy for the hangover that follows — and that’s good enough to be bestowed with the title of Dr. O.
Raymond Partsch III is the managing editor of The Daily Iberian.