Coordinators, Saban Tackle Media Day; Fan Day at 1 p.m.
BATON ROUGE — LSU Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher along with Defensive Coordinator Phil Elmassian kicked off the annual LSU football Media Day by answering questions in the LSU Athletic Administration Building on Sunday morning.
Media day precedes LSU’s Fan Day festivities which begin in the West Stadium parking lot at 1 p.m. with the EATEL Ultimate Football Challenge. Gates to the stadium open at 1:45 p.m. and fans are welcome to watch the Tigers practice beginning at 2:30. Coach Saban, his staff and his team will be available for autographs following practice at approximately 4:45.
Coach Jimbo Fisher
Quotes from Media Day, Aug. 13, 2000.
“Well I think running the football is our main philosophy on offense right now, we have got to be able to run the football. As you know in the SEC you can’t play in this league unless you can run it. We want to be a physical, running football team and I think our line is doing a very good job of that. We are being physical right now, we’re moving some folks around trying to find the best five up there, and if we stay healthy I think we can put a good, solid five guys up there that can move the football. The running back situation is a good situation. We have some guys that have not played a lot, but I think there are some real good football players back there, and there is a combination of some speed, power and size and I think there is a lot of diversity that if we use it in the right way we will be able to be very effective in the running game.”
“That will be up to Derron, we will wait and see. He has been here three days and is only a freshman, it is not fair to make a judgment on him right now because talent has nothing to do with what is going on in practice right now. We have had six practices and we have put in new things everyday, and right now in that head, in between those ears right now is swimming pretty good. They will all calm down, we will go back and do it again this week, but Derron is a very talented young man and it would not shock me if he did, but to say that would be too early at this point.”
“Well like we said before Tommy is a unique guy. Everybody sees him as a fullback because of his body type, but he really is better when the ball is in his hands. He catches the ball well, he has a knack for running the ball and he can push the pile and do some things in the running game. We will have some plans to get him the ball. In the spring game we threw him three or four passes and he did some good things, but we’re going to put him back there in a one-back situation, short-yardage, goal line or times at the end of a game when a team gets tired of tackling a 265 lb. guy. When a team is tired he can push that pile and run the clock out. Tommy will be a diverse guy for us, he will definitely be in the plans and we will get him the football.”
“That question concerning the quarterbacks right now we answer by practicing. To tell you there is a deadline there is none. Everyone looks at this as a negative, I look at it as a positive, how many guys in the country have three good quarterbacks and that is the way we look at it. If we have to play one, we play one or two we play two, and I don’t know about playing three, but that is a good situation because the guys keep pushing themselves at practice right now so the situation will work itself out in time and however it works out we will have a plan to utilize what we have, because that is what you have to do as a coach is utilize the players to what they can and cannot do by, and don’t ask them to do things they cannot do. We will put each quarterback in a situation that will help them be successful and be able to move our team.”
Coach Phil Elmassian
Quotes from Media Days, Aug. 13, 2000.
“Right now we are in a critical part of the season. When we back up and look at recruiting we were able to assemble some really good skill players that may have a chance to help us, even after coming in late. But it still remains to be seen.
Then you get into a situation where you are into the off-season program, coach Moffitt did an outstanding job, and we are really pleased with what the kids did. They bought into coach Saban?s plan, to be able to compete for four quarters, which starts in your off-season conditioning program.
Then you get into the spring where you really want to develop fundamentals and chemistry. We feel really good about where we are from where we started. When we talk about fundamentals we are talking about extracted movements of the game. It?s like tying your shoes with your eyes closed. You can do that now because you?ve done it enough times and, when you were young, you failed at it enough times, but you had to learn to do it. Someone had to show you how to do that. That?s what we call the fundamentals, tackling, block protection, and things of that nature.
We feel like we had a pretty good foundation in the spring. And then we get to the summer, and that?s where the real commitment starts. I?m sure we?ve had more people here in the summer than we have had in the past. That?s a great commitment by the men to come here. Right now, it?s twelve months out of the year for these guys. When I played, and football was over, that was it. It was over until spring practice. And then when you left spring, you went home. You didn?t go to school in the summer unless you had to. We had well over 85 percent of our young men here.
Now we are in a time we are really working to come out fundamentally sound. Most of the fundamentals of the game are going to be learned in the preseason. The kids have to learn to accept their roles in the preseason. That?s a tough thing, especially when you are in turnover with new coaches. It?s not an easy transition. I?ve been there.
They are in a situation now where the most important skill that these young men, and the coaches included, need to learn is dealing with adversities. That is a skill. It is an everyday occurrence, and it?s going to happen. He?s got to be a “now” player, the past is gone, and the most important thing is right now.
That?s where we are right now. We are in a situation where our fundamentals have to be tremendous in terms of tackling, block protection, learning the defense, assignments, alignments, all those areas. Then learning the roles with substitution, defense, things of that nature. And it doesn?t matter whether you?re first string, second string, or third string. And then, more important than anything is learning the adversities.”
LSU HEAD COACH NICK SABAN, MEDIA DAY
“Today, we’ll have just a normal first day of practice in pads, maybe a little shorter than usual. We’ve gotten a lot done in the first six practices. Our theory of how we go about things is a ‘whole part whole’ theory. Quite a few of the players, especially the young players have had a tremendous amount of football thrown at them already, so their minds are probably swimming right now.”
“After the first six practices, what we are going to do is go back, put pads on and start all over again. We’ll kind of go through the same processes, but at a little slower pace, and try to build on the knowledge that they already have. We’ll also emphasize the fundamentals and the techniques, and hopefully the second time around we’ll be able to do it a little more effectively.”
“The real focus and purpose of what we would like our players to do right now is to think of the present moment and what we’re trying to accomplish. That is to get them to learn the fundamentals and schemes of the system so that they can play their best football when it’s game time.”
“Right now we’re not focusing on any games or any teams, we’re just trying to do what we do well with good understanding, with good knowledge and experience, so that we have the best chance of executing when the games come. That’s where we are right now, that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
“The players have had good intensity in the practices, especially yesterday where usually after the third day of two-a-days the players start to lose their focus a little bit, or they get what I call the “why me’s”, where they think, ‘This hurts or that hurts, and everything is bad in the world because it’s hot and I’m tired. The coaches just keep after me to do this or do that.’ It’s hard to keep a positive outlook on things. I think that is the nature of two-a-days, but I was really pleased, especially yesterday with the two practices we had. The players worked through it, had a good attitude about it, and we got a lot accomplished. I am very pleased with the progress that we are making.”
“I don’t really know what we will do well this season until we play the games. There are some players that practice well, and then there are some players that just play well in the games. Hopefully our guys will both practice well and play well in the games. Hopefully we can develop the kind of consistency, attitude, and effort in practice that we need to help in the games to compete for 60 minutes.”
“I’m sure that our opponents will research me and the members of my staff to see how we have responded in certain situations in the past, but no the element of surprise will not last long at all. After we play our first game, the other teams will say, “Oh, they play this defense and this offense.”
“I’m not opposed to a little razzle-dazzle, and we will have some razzle-dazzle, but we will definitely not be all razzle-dazzle.”
“We are in the process of the coaching staff getting across all of their expectations to the players, but that process takes time. I believe that it is a relative thing, too. I talked about the strength test. The players did exceptionally well, they showed some great leadership, and they set the example for all of the other players. Almost every guy on the team increased his level of conditioning since the spring. These things don’t happen over night. People can’t change how they think over night, so it’s a continual process.”
“A majority of the guys that we have out there right now are demonstrating that they are trying to do what we want them to do, and I feel good about the progress that we’ve been able to make. Both on the field and off, and that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to have any problems, but all those things are relative too.”
“I am pleased with where we are right now, but how are we going to respond when we get in game situations and we hit adversity? Are we going to be able to stay focused through the good and the bad? Are we going to play with consistency? I can’t predict these things, but we are working toward it, and that is what we are trying to develop.”