Postponement of Florida game a huge opportunity for LSU to hit reset
LSU wasn’t supposed to have an open date.
But now it has one.
And that might have been one of the best things to happen for the Tigers during the early part of this season.
The game against No. 10 Florida on Saturday in The Swamp has been moved to Dec. 12 because of a spike in positive COVID cases within the Florida program.
The postponement was announced Wednesday just a few hours after LSU coach Ed Orgeron said quarterback Myles Brennan was doubtful because of soreness he was still experiencing from a shot he took against Missouri last Saturday.
Brennan missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday, but he couldn’t have been any more sore than the Tigers’ collective psyche was after the 45-41 loss last week.
All things considered, a trip to The Swamp to face red-hot Kyle Trask and the Gators probably without Brennan was not well-timed.
LSU’s defense is a mess, its running game has mostly been a non-factor and Brennan had been one of the few bright spots.
Had the game been played as scheduled and Brennan been unable to participate, a freshman – either Max Johnson or T.J. Finley – would have taken his first snap in a college game as Brennan’s replacement.
The insertion of one of the freshmen in place of Brennan, a redshirt junior who mostly has played well in his first 3 starts, would likely have disrupted a passing game that has featured Terrace Marshall Jr. and Arik Gilbert while producing 14 touchdown passes.
The postponement increases the chances of Brennan being available to play when the Tigers next take the field – presumably to play South Carolina on Oct. 24.
But just as important, it gives beleaguered first-year defensive coordinator Bo Pelini more time – much-needed time – to get his unit straightened out.
The LSU defense had numerous mental mistakes and physical breakdowns against a Missouri offense that had scored a total of 31 points in losses to Alabama and Tennessee.
Orgeron said the Tigers would significantly simplify their defense in an effort to focus on alignments that the young defenders are comfortable with and demonstrate that they can handle better than they have the entire defense so far.
The extra time gives Pelini and the rest of the defensive staff a much better opportunity to address a series of issues.
They’ll have them more time to analyze film of the first 3 games, more time to cut down the variety of schemes to rep in practice, more time to evaluate potential personnel changes, more time to marry any scheme reductions with personnel changes for experiments in practice.
Since the postponement took place at mid-day Wednesday that gave LSU extra time to prepare for South Carolina. Not only is the Gamecocks’ offense less threatening than the Gators’, but now the Tigers have more than a week to zero in on their next opponent.
The Tigers need time to heal up physically and mentally. They need to fix a lot of stuff. They would be better off facing a team not deemed among the 10 best in the country in their next attempt at success.
LSU gets another benefit from the delay to the return to action.
Sure, it will be frustrating to the players and the coaches to have to wait an extra seven days to show they are better than they performed against Missouri. But when they finally do get that opportunity they will have had 2 weeks to prepare for it and they will be in a more comfortable situation to take advantage of it.
LSU announced last week that it would take additional steps toward normalcy for the game against Missouri. That meant the resumption of alcohol sales and fewer restrictions on entering and navigating the stadium.
Then Hurricane Delta threatened southern and western Louisiana and the game was moved to Columbia.
So now the Tigers’ first game in Tiger Stadium since the season-opening, disastrous loss to Mississippi State will happen next week against South Carolina.
More fans will be there, they will be more comfortable and they will be louder.
It remains to be seen whether the team will perform better than it has for most of this young season.
But it has a better opportunity to do so than it would have had without this postponement.