Friday, July 20, 2018
Colleges

Heading into UF game, Orgeron tries to inspire slumping LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU coach Ed Orgeron hasn't lost his sense of humor yet.

Then again, if laughter relieves stress, it could be survival instincts kicking in.

LSU's recent results have raised the possibility of a first losing season since 1999. A stagnant offense and discombobulated defense have resulted in a 30-point loss at Mississippi State on Sept. 16 and an upset loss to Troy last weekend — the first non-conference loss in Tiger Stadium since 2000 after 49 straight victories in such contests.

Next for LSU (3-2, 0-1 SEC) comes seven straight SEC games, starting Saturday at No. 21 Florida (3-1, 3-0).

On sports talk radio or Internet message boards dedicated to LSU football, there has been no shortage of fans suggesting that Orgeron be fired.

Yet, when asked Monday how he deals with calls for his ouster just five games into his first full season on the job, Orgeron allowed a wry smile and responded, "I hadn't heard that. Thanks for telling me."

Orgeron said his daily schedule doesn't afford him much time to follow happenings outside football headquarters.

"I go to work, show up at 6 o'clock in the morning, say my prayers, drink my coffee, watch film," Orgeron said. "I stay in the office all day, call my wife two or three times a day, text my boys, go to practice, go watch film, go home and I put my head on the pillow and go to bed."

Orgeron had an early afternoon meeting with players in leadership positions Monday.

"I'll be very positive with this football team," said Orgeron, adding that he expects the impending return of key injured players, such as defensive linemen Rashard Lawrence and Ed Alexander, to help. He said top running back Derrius Guice and starting offensive tackle Toby Weathersby were questionable.

ILLINOIS: With the Illini averaging just under 20 points a game, Jeff George Jr. was named the starting quarterback Saturday against Iowa. Chayce Crouch started the first four games. George, whose father of the same name played for Illinois and in the NFL, has played in one game this season. He threw for 211 yards and two TDs in the second half of a loss to USF.

MICHIGAN: John O'Korn will get the start at quarterback against Michigan State on Saturday because Wilton Speight is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.

BASKETBALL: Grayson Allen, a Duke captain last season before losing that title for tripping Elon's Steven Santa Ana, was elected as captain this season by teammates. Allen tripped an opponent three times within the 2016 calendar year, including FSU's Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

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