No Looking Back for Orgeron, Tigers in 2020

by Cody Worsham | Digital Media Reporter
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No Looking Back for Orgeron, Tigers in 2020

There were days during the spring where Ed Orgeron felt lonely in LSU’s football operations facility. With players and staff in isolation during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orgeron spent the days in his office, seeing only a few faces every now and then. 

At night, he’d sit on his porch overlooking the practice facility until midnight, wondering when normalcy would return. 

It’s far from normal, but something resembling it is back this week with the start of football practice, which Orgeron was happy to talk about Tuesday during a Zoom press conference with the media. 

Here are a few topics discussed in the 20-minute session with reporters.

New Schedule

Gone, for now, are the 16 hour days of camps past. The Tigers usually spend the first three weeks after reporting in the fall starting days at 6 a.m. and ending them at 10 p.m., but COVID protocols mean less time in the building.

Instead, the Tigers are practicing 25 times before September 26th’s opening kickoff against Mississippi State in Baton Rouge, but they are allowed just 20 hours per week. That means walkthrough in the morning, practices on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and weekends off. 

“That’s never happened in the history of football camps,” Orgeron said, “since I’ve been a coach.”

New Team

Orgeron knows about football history. His team made it in 2019, going 15-0 and winning the national championship as the greatest team in the sport’s history. 

But the Tigers have turned the page, even studying past championship teams and the season after their accomplishment to learn from their mistakes.

During the offseason, LSU analyst Bobby April did a study on defending champions, including interviews with some players and coaches on teams who’d won a title the year prior. 

“One of the most common mistakes is to mention last year’s team, and compare this year’s team to them all the time,” Orgeron said. “So we don’t do that.”

Instead, Orgeron talks with his team about the same things as last year’s team: leadership, the LSU Standard of Performance, and doing the little things right. He even made Monday’s practice, the first official session of the season, harder than normal, and he was pleased with the response. 

“I think that when you have great players and you have great coaches, and you stick to the plan, that’s gonna work,” Orgeron said. 

Off and Running

One area of the team Orgeron is particularly excited about is the running back position. Though the Tigers lose first round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire from 2019, they return a stable of talented backs, led by junior Chris Curry and sophomores John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price. Orgeron said Emery “had a fantastic day” Monday and called Curry and Davis-Price “bulls.”

“The guys we had last year were very good throwing the ball,” Orgeron said. “I like we will be very good throwing the ball again, but our running game is gonna be a lot better. I do believe that.”

Orgeron also praised freshman back Kevontre Bradford, a late addition to the 2020 class who has impressed since his arrival in Baton Rouge. 

“Man, has he surprised me,” Orgeron said, “as far as his toughness, his athleticism, his speed. I think we have four excellent running backs. We will use all of them, and they have an excellent running back coach (in Kevin Faulk).”

Depth Chart Insights

Orgeron gave some insight into the current depth chart, which, as always at LSU, is written in sand. Here are a few of the spots he went more in depth on.