Baton Rouge, La. — For the LSU Tigers, playing in the National Championship game just down the road from Baton Rouge, they couldn’t have written a better script. But Head Coach Ed Orgeron knows that having home field advantage isn’t going to win the game for them.
“When we found out last year that it was going to be in New Orleans,” Orgeron said, “we felt that we were going to be there. Nothing was talked about but I’m sure it was talked about in small circles and what an opportunity it would be for us, the state of Louisiana, for everybody to be there. I like it because it’s a home field advantage. I like it because we don’t have to get on an airplane and go down there. I think it’s going to be a tremendous night but you know what? After the first snap it’s just like a fight– all that stuff don’t matter. You’ve got to execute. Clemson’s going to be a hard team to beat. We’ll have to play our best.”
And it’s not just about execution, but execution under pressure– when LSU may not be ahead by 3 touchdowns. The Tigers have been beating teams by an average of more than 27 points per game. Their last single-digit victory was two months ago when they beat Alabama by 5. In their 5 games since then, they’ve won by an average of 32.4 points.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been in a tight game so we practiced some situations today where we’re in tight situations,” Orgeron said. “We can’t panic. I don’t think our guys will. It’s going to be a tight game. We know that. It’s going to come down to the end. It may come down to the last play. It may not. We don’t know that but we have to prepare for that.”
Coach O said the difference in Monday’s championship will be turnovers and winning the turnover battle, but aside from that, it’s a simple strategy that’s worked all season:
“Stick to the plan,” Orgeron said. “I talked to the coaches today. It’s about fundamentals. It’s about technique. Not making it too big. Not whoa man the National Championship. No. The focus is on today. And the focus on Monday is going to be beating Clemson.”