The 2021 season marks Ed Orgeron’s 5th full one as head coach of LSU. And while there have been some highs, such as a remarkable run to the title, there have certainly been lows as well.

Unlike last year, the target won’t quite be on the back of the Tigers, but expectations around Baton Rouge are high as they look to shake off a disappointing campaign. It starts with Orgeron’s return to California for the first time since his stint at Southern Cal between 2010-2014 as LSU takes on UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Sep. 4.

“This game is probably the most important opener we’ve had since I’ve been head coach, and our team knows that,” Orgeron said on Thursday. “For us to get to where we want to be, we have to start well.”

LSU is 3-1 in season openers under Orgeron. In 2017, it shut out BYU 27-0 in New Orleans, followed by a 33-17 win over Miami in Arlington, Tex. in 2018. In 2019, it routed Georgia Southern 55-3 at Tiger Stadium en route to a perfect season but dropped a 44-34 decision to Mississippi State in 2020.

The Tigers will continue their preparation on Friday with a walk-through, followed by a mock game on Saturday as they prepare to shift from preseason camp to game week.

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