Coach Ed Orgeron leads No. 24 LSU in return to Ole Miss
LSU's Ed Orgeron will return to Oxford, Mississippi, on Saturday as a head coach for the first time in nearly 10 years.
This time, he'll try to leave a winner.
Orgeron had a rough tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07, finishing with a 10-25 record, including a 3-21 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Nearly a decade later, the Louisiana native will try to lead No. 24 LSU (5-2, 2-1 SEC) to its third straight win when it travels to face Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday.
Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke knows Orgeron well, working for him in Oxford in 2005. He said he's got a lot of respect for his former boss and it's easy to see why LSU has had success over the past few weeks in wins over Florida and Auburn.
"They did a good job getting off the field defensively," Luke said. "That's been the difference in their wins. Offensively, they give you a lot of schematic problems with their shifts and motions trying to out-leverage and out-flank you. They have a lot of good players."
LSU is concerned with Ole Miss' prolific passing attack. The Rebels lead the SEC in yards passing by a wide margin and sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson has thrown for 2,143 yards, 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
"Shea is a gunslinger," LSU defensive end Christian LaCouture. "The ball comes so fast out of his hand. He does a lot of great things and you have to contain him."
LSU has one of the better pass defenses in the league, giving up about 170 yards passing per game. The Tigers will have their hands full with stopping the Rebels' talented receivers, including A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, DaMarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson.
"There are three receivers on this team that will be drafted in the top-three rounds," Orgeron said. "They're very talented. This is going to be a challenge for us."
Here are other things to watch when LSU travels to face Ole Miss:
PROLIFIC PATTERSON: The Rebels QB has been playing like a veteran even though Saturday will be just his 10th career start. He's put up big numbers through the season's first half while also being efficient, completing nearly 66 percent of his passes.
REBELS NEED DEFENSE: The Ole Miss defense was far from perfect in last week's 57-35 win over Vanderbilt, but the Rebels did show some big-play ability that could serve them well in the season's second half. The Rebels forced two turnovers and had seven sacks, including three by senior defensive end Marquis Haynes.
WATCH OUT FOR CHARK: LSU receiver D.J. Chark had the best game of his career in the Tigers' win over Auburn last week, catching five passes for 150 yards. LSU's passing game has been a little hit-and-miss this season, but QB Danny Etling was 13 of 24 passing for 206 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Tigers.
LSU'S WHITE IS EVERYWHERE: LSU linebacker Devin White has had at least 10 tackles in five games in a row and has 77 tackles this season, which leads the SEC. He had a career-high 15 tackles against Auburn.
NOT GOOD VS. NATIONALLY RANKED: Ole Miss is playing its third game in four weeks against a nationally ranked team. The first two games didn't go so well -- the Rebels fell 66-3 to top-ranked Alabama and 44-23 to Auburn.