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BATON ROUGE, La. – After two straight losses and a dip to 8-8 overall and 6-7 in the SEC since the 15-0 national championship season of 2019, LSU coach Ed Orgeron was asked whether he will “specifically address the remaining six games and your job status” with his players.
“No. Not at all,” he said. “That’s for me to handle, and nobody’s told me about my job status.”
Then he laughed.
“I’ve not had any discussion about it,” he said. “As far as I know, I’m the head coach of the LSU Tigers. That’s all that matters.”
The Tigers (3-3, 1-2 SEC) host No. 20 Florida (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. The Gators are a 9.5-point favorite by FanDuel. The Tigers will be without leading receiver Kayshon Boutte, who has been lost for the season because of an ankle injury, Orgeron confirmed on Monday. He was expected to have surgery on Tuesday.
Boutte, a sophomore from New Iberia, had 38 catches for 509 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He led LSU in receiving yards last season with 735 on 45 catches with five touchdowns and set the SEC record for receiving yards in a game with 308 on 14 catches and three touchdowns in the win over Ole Miss to close the season.
Starting defensive end Ali Gaye, who has 2.5 sacks, will also miss the game because of an arm injury suffered in the 42-21 loss at Kentucky Saturday. In addition, starting safety Major Burns and starting defensive tackle Joseph Evans will miss their second straight games due to injury. Senior starting defensive tackle Glen Logan is expected to return to action after missing all of the season so far with an injury, Orgeron said.
“I could go in there and read everything you guys write (to his team),” Orgeron said. “I could take about an hour and read all that stuff. I don’t listen to all that stuff. The best thing for me to do is be very positive, and understand the expectations of LSU. And everybody knows what’s going on. We don’t need to talk about it. The focus is on beating Florida, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I will say this, and I will say it again,” he said. “No one has to tell me about the LSU expectations. I know them. I was born with ’em. So, I understand. I understand about the LSU standard of performance. I understand my job. I get it totally.”
Orgeron grew up an LSU fan in Larose — 113 miles south of LSU — and was on the 1979 LSU team briefly as a freshman signee from South Lafourche High before quitting and transferring to Northwestern State.
Orgeron was LSU’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2016 when Les Miles, who won the 2007 national title and reached the BCS championship game in the 2011 season, was fired after a 2-2 start that followed a 9-3 season (5-3 SEC) in 2015. Orgeron replaced Miles as interim coach, then was promoted to head coach after going 5-2 to finish the regular season.
“I know exactly where I’m at,” Orgeron said. “And I’m going to work as hard as I can today and don’t blink. I promise you, I will not blink for ANYONE.”
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, who has made two high profile hires in recent months in women’s basketball with former Baylor coach Kim Mulkey and in baseball with former Arizona coach Jay Johnson, was at the Kentucky game.
“(Woodward)’s been great,” said Orgeron, who was hired by previous athletic director Joe Alleva. “Comes meets with me every Sunday. He’s at nearly every practice. Been very positive, very encouraging every time I met with him.”
Orgeron reversed a 3-5 start to the Tigers’ 2020 season with a 37-34 upset at No. 6 Florida and finished 5-5 with a 53-48 home win over Ole Miss. He was asked whether another upset of the Gators could turn this season around.
“Yes, it could,” he said. “It could by playing Florida after we just lost two big games in a row. Florida is obviously a rivalry game for LSU. We’re playing at home. They’re going to be a tremendous challenge, but yes, I think it can at least put a little feel good back in the program.”
Orgeron said “everybody was down a little bit obviously” on Sunday in light of the loss at Kentucky, which led 35-7 in the third quarter. LSU also lost to Auburn 24-19 at home the previous week, even though it led 13-0 in the second quarter. “As well as we can, we’re going to put it behind us. Be positive. I think the players have got to feel that, and they feel that about me.”