False start: Early results show LSU is a mess under Orgeron

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Five games into a five-year contract with head coach Ed Orgeron, let's check in on how things are going at LSU.

Yikes.

After an astonishing home loss to Troy this past weekend, it's been a very busy week off the field for the Tigers, with two players-only meetings, a meeting between team leaders and Orgeron, and a meeting between the head coach, coordinators Dave Aranda and Matt Canada, and athletic director Joe Alleva.

Whether extensive meetings will be the answer remains to be seen, but LSU is facing multiple problems as the team attempts to turn things around.

The Offense

Orgeron was hired to replace Les Miles after the Tigers faithful finally got tired of his struggling offense. Then, the highly touted - and highly paid - Canada was brought in from Pitt in the offseason to lead the unit, but through five games, the results haven't exactly been overwhelming.

Miles' offense relied heavily on the run and struggled to generate any sort of downfield passing attack, and that hasn't changed under new leadership. The Tigers are 76th in the country in passing offense, and 83rd in scoring per game.

Orgeron has opted to use two quarterbacks in Danny Etling and Myles Brennan, often swapping them at questionable times. In a 35-26 win over Syracuse two weeks ago, Orgeron pulled Etling despite the fact he was 10 of 17 for 188 yards and two touchdowns and the Tigers held a 21-10 lead in the contest.

Brennan would come in and throw an interception as the Tigers' lead evaporated to a 2-point advantage, before Etling came back to lead a touchdown drive that secured the win.

Etling will get the start against Florida this weekend, but neither pivot, nor their coach, has inspired much confidence in terms of fixing the offensive woes that have hampered the school in recent years.

Defense

LSU's defense remains a very stout unit that sits 31st in the country in points allowed per game, but there's some worrying signs that have emerged in recent weeks.

Mississippi State absolutely gashed the Tigers on the ground in a Week 3 blowout win, piling up 285 yards on 48 carries. Nick Fitzgerald also had his way through the air, throwing for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the win. LSU's rushing defense was better against Syracuse, but the Orange ruled the day through the passing game, with Eric Dungey accumulating 265 yards and a score.

The most shocking result was Troy absolutely bossing its way to a win at Death Valley thanks to a dominant rushing attack. Jordan Chunn owned the LSU defense with 191 yards on the ground - an astonishing number given the perceived talent difference between the two rosters.

Aranda has proven to be a brilliant defensive mind throughout his career, but this Tigers team might represent his toughest challenge yet.

The schedule

Those expecting things to get better are in for a rude awakening, as the Tigers have barely started their SEC campaign; the loss to Mississippi State was the only in-conference game thus far. This weekend's matchup against Florida kicks off a brutal stretch that includes Auburn, Alabama, and Texas A&M.

Date Opponent
Oct. 7 at Florida
Oct. 14 vs. Auburn
Oct. 21 at Ole Miss
Oct. 28 Bye
Nov. 4 at Alabama
Nov. 11 vs. Arkansas
Nov. 18 at Tennessee
Nov. 25 vs. Texas A&M

Orgeron enters this weekend holding a 7-24 record in the SEC as a head coach. Given the recent results by his program, it seems that mark isn't going to improve much this year.

And for those LSU fans hoping a change could be coming very early in Orgeron's tenure, it would be costly. He's owed $12 million if the school fires him this year and $8.5 million if it happens in 2018.

So, Orgeron is the captain for the foreseeable future, but early results show the ship is more apt to sink than remain afloat in Baton Rouge.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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