The difference between how the Alabama football program and the LSU Bengal Tigers program prepare to face each other is illuminating.
This week in Baton Rouge is full-on preparation to take on Alabama football. The AP Poll’s No. 1 team is not only focusing on its next opponent, it is doing so loudly. Brash talk never won anything. Instead, it is often a sign, not of confidence, but of apprehension.
Every LSU and Alabama football fan knows the record between the two teams over the last eight games. The Alabama Crimson Tide winning streak has cloaked Baton Rouge in anger, dread, even despair.
LSU head coach, Ed Orgeron has tried his best to boldly talk his way through it. He cannot be faulted for the approach – a quiet claim of confidence would have been scoffed. Prior to the 2017 game, Coach O claimed,
We coming, we coming and we ain’t backing down
Considering the Bengal Tigers had been shutout the season before, a 24-10 loss in the 2017 game was some measure of success for Coach O and the Bengal Tigers.
Then LSU was shutout again in 2018. The 29-0 final showed how far apart were the two programs.
Again credit to Orgeron, the second of the two shutouts prompted drastic action. Coach O hired Joe Brady of the New Orleans Saints to bring a new passing scheme to the Bengal Tigers. Brady’s work and that scheme have been an unquestioned success.
It has been reported that like Gus Malzahn at Auburn, LSU prepares all year to play the Crimson Tide. Talk about the Tide getting in another team’s head! With all that prep coupled with being ranked on par with the Crimson Tide this season, why would LSU players choose to taunt the Crimson Tide?
Perhaps it is the tome set over the years by Orgeron. Still, it is hard to believe the LSU coaching staff was pleased when Justin Jefferson said,
we’re going to dominate. I mean, there’s nothing much to it. I mean, we owe them… We’re going to come for their heads. I mean, we’re going to do what we need to do.
Meanwhile in Tuscaloosa …
The Alabama Crimson Tide did not work on LSU Monday. In fact, the Alabama football team took the day off. The Tide has three practice sessions scheduled this week but will not spend time in the first two on LSU. Preparation for the LSU game will begin on Thursday.
Contrast the fever pitch in LSU to what Terrell Lewis had to say about the bye week.
I want to take care of my body and get in the weight room. I’m going to watch film, but I’m going to use this bye week to kind of relax and get away from football. I’ll still work out and take care of my body… It will be just another game. We’ve played in a lot of big games… This is another big game, but LSU is always a big game.
So while LSU is cranking out bulletin board material, the Crimson Tide is going about business as usual. The Bengal Tigers might want to pace themselves.
Emotions can fuel a team for a few minutes in the first quarter of a game. Nick Saban never wants his team too emotionally pumped, not even at the first whistle.