LSU coach Ed Orgeron made a trip to Arkansas to speak to the quarterback club up there in 2014. While up in Fayetteville, Orgeron stopped in to see Bret Bielema and his staff to see what made the Razorbacks successful offensively, Orgeron said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday.
"I was always impressed with coach Bielema's offensive line and use of the tight ends. I knew Jim Chaney was there. I really liked his offense and wanted to go see practice and what they were doing. I came away very impressed with what they were doing."
That's not the only history Orgeron has with Arkansas. In 1986, Orgeron took an assistant strength job at Arkansas, but he also worked on the field, breaking down film, working on special teams and playing offensive line to give looks to the defense. That job helped Orgeron get to Miami as a graduate assistant where he spent six seasons at from 1986-92.
"That was a good story. I had a job at McNeese in the summer to make extra money. Friend of mine Brad Scott called me and told me an assistant strength job came open. It was a friend of mine that I had worked with at Northwestern State. Brad was a GA on the Arkansas staff and got me the interview," Orgeron said. "I loved it. It was my first Division I job. They were running the wishbone at the time so we learned how to stop that. I learned a lot about special teams and breaking down film. That job helped me get to Miami."
Orgeron said that Arkansas' ability to run the ball and work the play-action passing game has impressed him. With senior day at Arkansas on Saturday, LSU will have to face a tough environment and refocus against an Arkansas team that has shown him two sides: one that plays well at home and one that doesn't play well on the road.
"Play-action pass and able to run the football. The way Austin Allen uses his tight ends, I just think they have tremendous balance, great play calling. This is going to be a tough road trip for the Tigers," Orgeron said. "I really feel like Arkansas plays better at home. They didn't play well on the road against Auburn. They can run the ball and their play-action passing is fantastic. We know how tough it is with me being an ex-Razorback to play in Fayetteville. It's got to be about us. We've got to focus on the things we do."
Many point to past letdowns for LSU following the Alabama game, but Orgeron said this team has handled it well and had one of its best practices even on a rainy day on Tuesday.
"It's been a challenge, but the guys handled it well yesterday. In the past, we have not played well after the Alabama game, but we plan on changing that," Orgeron said. "Our staff did a tremendous job yesterday. It was a high-energetic practice. We practiced outside yesterday in a slight rain. The kids had a lot of energy. We thought we had one of our best practices, but we're going to have to keep that up. Make sure that we're ready to go. We respect this Arkansas team." http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1725826-lsu-s-duke-riley-playing-...
Some of the leaders of LSU's team have stepped up and impressed Orgeron with their want to finish strong this season.
"It showed me a lot about the team. Guys like Duke Riley and Lewis Neal are standing up. Older guys that want to finish strong and have a good season are being more vocal and practicing very hard. The stigma that we don't play well after Alabama is something we're aware of, but we're out to prove it's not going to happen this season."
Orgeron keyed a few things that LSU has to do offensively against Arkansas' defense, which ranks 91st in the country, giving up 292 yards per game on the ground.
"We have to be able to run football. We didn't run the football well last week. We have to go back to doing the things that we know how to do," Orgeron said. "We have to give the ball to Fournette in certain situations, we have to give the ball to Guice, let our offensive line block. This is going to be a challenge. We have to run the football to beat Arkansas."
Orgeron said that following Arkansas' open week, the Razorbacks moved some players around the offensive line and got bigger up front. The team benefitted from those moves. Arkansas has rushed the passer better, given up less big plays, etc. since the open date according to Orgeron.