LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said Monday what surprised him most about the Tigers’ loss to Mississippi State was how effective the Bulldogs’ passing game was.
Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello threw for more than 600 yards and Orgeron said 383 of those yards came after the catch.
“I’ve seen outstanding defense in camp, and you know, we had pressure on the quarterback, but the busts, you know, the wheel route going 75 yards down the field, the crossing routes, us playing behind the crossing routes. The third down, those things really surprised me, because we were excellent in camp against all of that,” Orgeron said. “So I was really surprised that they gained that many yards on us.”
He said that several factors contributed to the Bulldogs’s success in the passing game including their sharp execution.
“You gotta give credit,” Orgeron said. “Mississippi State's receivers came to play. Their quarterback was on fire. Coach had a great scheme, put our guys in some difficult situations.”
Orgeron also said the Tigers missing All American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who was hospitalized Friday night, was a factor as LSU was already short on cornerbacks headed into the game.
“Jay Ward was out for practice two weeks. We didn't even know he could play,” he said. “He played a lot of snaps. I thought he did a fairly good job, but obviously was a little rusty there. So I think there's some combination of things.
“We were short on corners. Not having Derek hurt us. We had a game plan that we were going to play man and man them up, and we thought we could man up with the receivers. We should have made a couple of more adjustments during the game.”
Orgeron said Stingley could return to practice as early as tomorrow but Orgeron said he will have to consult with he team’s medical staff before knowing if the preseason All SEC selection will be ready to play vs. Vanderbilt this weekend.
“I'm going to listen to the doctors. I'm going to talk to his mamma and daddy,” Orgeron said. “If the doctors say he can play and Derek says he can play and momma and daddy says it's okay, he's going to play. If not, he won't. But I expect him to play. I expect him maybe to be back in practice as early as tomorrow. But we'll see.“
Orgeron added that he also expects to see improvement from the cornerbacks that did play Saturday.
“We believe in those guys,” he said. “Cordale Flott had an excellent camp. He did some good things in the game, did some things he's gotta improve on. I think you're going to see a better Jay Ward now that he's healthy and practicing.”