LSU became the first defending national champion to lose its season opener in more than two decades Saturday, and coach Ed Orgeron said the responsibility rests with him to turn things around heading into this weekend’s game against Vanderbilt.
The Tigers, who entered Saturday’s game ranked sixth in the country, lost at home to unranked Mississippi State, 44-34.
“It’s my job to fix it,” Orgeron told reporters on Monday. “I guarantee you this week we’re going to start fixing it.”
Orgeron said the coaching staff should have come up with a better plan on both sides of the ball. His defense, which he said previously could be better than last year’s, allowed Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello an SEC-record 623 yards passing. Orgeron said the Tigers allowed a whopping 383 yards after the catch.
On offense, Orgeron said the line needs to protect the quarterback better. In turn, he said quarterback Myles Brennan needs to make better decisions.
“This is about us getting back on a winning track and playing an LSU standard of performance,” Orgeron said.
Orgeron’s message to the team: “Stick together. Don’t panic. Believe in each other.”
LSU will benefit from the return of All-America cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who missed the Mississippi State game after an illness sent him to the hospital Friday night. He was discharged Saturday night and is doing well, his father told ESPN.
Orgeron said that although not all of Stingley’s medical exams have been completed yet, the coach expects him back at practice as early as Tuesday.
However, LSU will have to continue to make do without one of its few returning starters from last season. Defensive lineman Glen Logan, who missed the Mississippi State game for undisclosed reasons, will not be available against Vanderbilt. Orgeron said Logan will return against Missouri on Oct. 10.
Despite the personnel news, much of Orgeron’s news conference Monday was dominated by the loss to Mississippi State and what it means moving forward.
Orgeron said he hopes it will serve as motivation for his team.
“It puts a fire in me, I guaran-damn-tee you that,” he said.