Two days after No. 13 LSU’s 27-24 upset loss against Ole Miss, the feeling of defeat still flowed throughout the Tigers’ practice facility.
With two losses now on LSU’s record, both a Southeastern Conference Championship appearance and any opportunity to hold the Coaches’ Trophy at the end of the year seem minimal, barring further imploding by the remaining squads in the conference.
LSU (6-2, 3-2 SEC) has its homecoming game against Furman (3-4) on Saturday, but a somber attitude hangs over the Tigers as they shift attention to the Paladins.
“You take it one day at a time, keep working, look forward to Furman and play the rest of the games this season,” said junior wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. “I think they know in the back of their minds that there’s a lot of season left to be played. I don’t know how many games we have left, but we’re going to come out and give our best effort every single time.”
Saturday’s contest will be LSU’s ninth week of games, with the squad’s first bye week coming the following weekend.
Junior wide receiver Jarvis Landry said the mood in the locker room is still hopeful, as the squad looks to shake off its woes from Oxford, Miss., and move forward through its schedule. Landry said SEC contests still matter even with LSU’s two-loss record, and Texas A&M and Alabama next on the conference schedule.
“That’s the vibe right now with the team,” Landry said. “With these next few games coming up ... we still want to play [those SEC teams], and we’re excited to play those guys. It may not be a hyped rivalry anymore due to rankings, but to us it still is.”
Ole Miss’ speed option effective
The week leading up to the Tigers’ matchup against the Rebels, the LSU defensive line and linebackers spent time in the film room preparing for the opposing rushing attack in Oxford.
LSU currently boasts the No. 8 rushing defense in the conference, allowing 155.5 rushing yards per game. On Saturday, Ole Miss junior quarterback Bo Wallace and sophomore running back Jaylen Walton combined for 124 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Though Tigers’ junior defensive tackle Ego Ferguson said they saw the speed option on film, Ole Miss still made it an effective form of its game plan.
“They just did a good job changing it up on us,” Ferguson said. “When we watched film, it was a lot of speed option, but they kind of used the film against us. It was basically a speed option, but they cut it up on our ends ... and we weren’t getting over the top in time.”
players take blame off Miles
Following Saturday’s loss, blame was tossed around the Tigers’ locker room from senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger to head coach Les Miles.
Miles took criticism for his clock management toward the end of the contest, as he called the Tigers’ final timeout with six seconds remaining in the game, allowing Ole Miss to set up the game-winning kick. Some fans and analysts believed Miles should have called the timeout sooner.
After the game, Miles put the blame on himself.
“It’s a good feeling to have a coach behind you to take the blame for a game like that even when it’s not his fault,” Beckham said. “It’s us as a whole, as a team. Everybody is hurting from it. I don’t blame it on him.”
Ferguson said he appreciates his coach not throwing any of the blame toward the players.
“We definitely appreciate it a lot because he could have easily gone out there and said, ‘This is the reason why we lost,’” Ferguson said. “He put it on himself.”