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LSU players voice support for Orgeron, preparing for road test at Arkansas

LSU players met with the media on Monday and many voiced support for Ed Orgeron while talking about the loss to Alabama and test this week against Arkansas.

Etling talks Alabama loss, Arkansas ahead

Ethan Pocic talks LSU's offensive struggles, team looking to get back on track

LSU had to burn a couple timeouts against Alabama and was called for delay of game as well on offense, which could have been a number of things. Center Ethan Pocic said it was just one of those games where things didn't go as planned for LSU.

"Just one of those things that we had it. The cadence was too long and we're trying to get the play in. I don't know if there was miscommunication with signals, all I know is it came in late and we were just trying to go, go, go," Pocic said. "It only happened a few times. It's a team thing. I don't even know. It's a group effort."

The Tigers were 4-for-15 on third downs against the Tide and that started with the team not being in position to have good opportunities to convert and that cost them chances to extend drives.

"It's just one of those games that if we get better position on third downs and make them more manageable, we can convert third downs. That would have helped," Pocic said. "It's no excuse, but it starts with the offensive line. We've got to get more manageable third downs."

Quarterback Danny Etling said it came down to a few missed opportunities for the LSU offense.

"Just missed opportunities. They made some plays. Stuff that they knew they were going to do and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. That was the difference in the game," Etling said. "I thought we had a good gameplan and we had some miscommunications on the plays we had. As a quarterback, you want to take all the responsibility that you can."

Left tackle K.J. Malone said the team is looking to get back to the execution it had against Ole Miss where Leonard Fournette setting an LSU single-game rushing record.

"I think we need the mindset like we went in against Ole Miss. If we have that mindset, we'll be fine," Malone said. "I already started watching film and put that Alabama game behind me. I see some things we can do good and some things we need to work on."

Wide receiver D.J. Chark said he expects Fournette to continue to fight for his team. The former roommate of Fournette said he expects Fournette to finish strong.

"Leonard is my brother. The whole way through the game I was telling him that we have his back. A lot of people put a lot of pressure on him for that game, but for him I know it was a tough feeling. He's a fighter. We have a few games left so I know he's going to give it his all."

Defensively, LSU held Alabama below its season average and now faces a physical team in Arkansas. For the defense, it's continuing to fine tune what it does well. Lewis Neal said Dave Aranda is always hard on the team as it looks to improve.

"We practice against a bunch of offenses and it just boils down to us trusting our keys," Neal said. "We got to continue to play hard. I feel like we play defense like that every Saturday. It's just a lot of fine tuning on things we make mistakes on. We got a lot of leadership on the defensive side that plays with a lot of energy."

D.J. Chark talks Arkansas game, players talk finishing strong for Orgeron

LSU's players all talked about the team's love for Ed Orgeron and the job he's done. Chark said that fighting for him is easy as he cares about the team as people and as players.

"He's a competitor and at the end of the day, he's going to be there for you as a person. On the field, he's serious about football and gets a lot of respect," Chark said.

Pocic said Orgeron will bring energy to the locker room following the loss and not allow players to dwell on it as much, but instead, get the energy back up to where it was heading into the Alabama game.

"Energy. There's going to be a lot of energy. In the past, I don't want to talk bad about coach Miles, but it wouldn't be as live. Coach O is real big on energy, going fast and having fun," Pocic said. "Still got a lot to play for and he's got a lot to coach for. We've got his back and he's got our back."

Pocic said Orgeron's efficiency as a coach and changing from his style as defensive line coach to be better suited as head coach is something the players notice and enjoy.

"He's a great players coach. He's done a great job since he's filled in. Knows how to get the players to play for him," Pocic said. "When he was head coach, we're not on the field more than we have to back. He's efficient. As a player, when you know practice is only going to be two hours, you know you gotta take advantage of the reps."

Malone echoed that Orgeron's energy makes you want to work harder and the team's bond has benefitted from that energy.

"Even at practice, he's going around drills and players love it. He's bringing a different energy to drills. He just fires you up," Malone said. "Even when we're going over stuff, he tells you to get up and cheer for the defense. It's great because it helps us grow together. Our brotherhood has never been that strong."

The LSU administration has a decision to make on Orgeron at the end of the season and the players are fighting to make sure it's not a hard one to make. The team hasn't spoken to administration about the job, but feel they know what LSU has in Orgeron.

"Not really, but we talk about it a lot. I'm sure they feel the same way about him. He's probably the most respected person here. He has great relationships with everybody," Malone said.

As far as turning the page, Neal said the team's leadership also needs to get players that might be down to look forward to Arkansas and the rest of the season.

"It's going to boil down to us leaders talking to everybody and making sure everybody is on the same page," Neal said. "I talked to a lot of teammates today and told them to keep their heads up. We're not going to forget it because it's motivation for what's in front of us."

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