Watch: Ed Orgeron Press Conference
LSU Football Media Conference
Monday, October 1, 2018
ED ORGERON: Welcome everybody. Good win for our football team versus Ole Miss. Gets us to 5-0. Great team effort. Good job by our coaching staff, good job by all our players of preparing all week and staying focused to the task at hand. A couple of things happened from the game. Offensive line, I thought, on offense, I thought the offensive line did a very good job. Coach Cregg deserves the credit of patching up that offensive line. Adrian Magee played well. Donavaughn Campbell played his first game for the Tigers, played very well. Cole even got a couple of shots in there and he’s from Mississippi. I thought it was big for him to get in. Rushing for 281 yards, passing for 392, Joe Burrow had, obviously had a tremendous night. Fourth highest in school history in total yards. Again no interceptions for the fifth game in a row. I thought our receivers had their best game. We have been waiting for that breakout game. Jefferson five catches for 99 yards, two touchdowns. Sullivan five catches, 50 yards. Racey McMath, I thought he had a very good game and it’s good to see the two young receivers making plays. On defense you got to give the credit to our defensive backs, I thought they played an excellent game. Give credit to Dave and Corey and Bill for a tremendous amount of work all week on the different coverages. That first interception was something we planned, they talked about where to put Grant in the post rather than play him on the nickel and that was the decision to make because we thought he could make that play and he did. Another tremendous game by Grant. 178 yards passing. Those guys did a tremendous job. I saw Greedy had 10 tackles. How about the play of Grant, five tackles, one interception, one sack, two and a half tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. A tremendous night by him. Special teams was solid, only had to punt one time for 44 yards, it was 7 of 8 of touchbacks. Tremendous night by the offense. On defense, need to improve on the turnover ratio. Obviously the two turnovers on offense in the red zone were unlike us on defense. They ran the ball for 150 yards, we have to work on our fits, we have to work on our play up front and we need a better pass rush. On to the Florida Gators, obviously a great challenge for our football team, to go on the road again, to the Swamp, our guys are looking forward to this challenge. This is a big game for the LSU Tigers and I know it’s a big game for the Florida Gators. We’re plus 7 in the turnover ratio, they’re plus 9. We’re going to have to have battle there. On offense Dan Mullen, John Hevesy, guys I’ve known they were graduate assistants with me at Syracuse, they do a tremendous job. Dan had a great game plan against us last year and I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of the similar things. He knows how to scheme defenses, he knows the defense we run. We have to be prepared for them. He wants to run the football, he has three good running backs, he has a good quarterback in Feleipe Franks and a strong offensive line. They’re averaging 35 points per game. Van Jefferson is a good receiver, transfer from Ole Miss and so is Freddie Swain. The strength of their team is their defense, Todd Grantham is a friend of mine, he’s the defensive coordinator and defensive line guy. Him and Sal coach those guys to attack. I think they lead the conference in sacks, they’re very aggressive. This is going to be the best defense we faced so far this year. They’re based out of a 3-4, they’re only giving 14 points better game. Jachai Polite we have to know where he’s at. 99. Two forced sacks, two forced fumbles. Jabari Zuniga, defensive end, three sacks, two tackles for loss. And Joe is the leading tackler on the team with 24-2 pass breakup inside linebacker, number 11. They’re very fast, quick on special teams. This is going to take a tremendous effort from our football team, Monday we’re happy that we’re 5-0 but nowhere satisfied. We have a lot of things that we can fix, our guys are going to do that today and onward to the floor Gators. Any questions?
Q. Would you mind elaborating a little on Todd Grantham, seeing him the last two years. Maybe what similarities this Florida defense has to those and why it’s so difficult preparing against him.
ED ORGERON: His stunts and the way he plays his defensive line. They’re very aggressive. He won’t give you the same look many times. Their movements is very precise, he makes tackles for loss. He’s an aggressive attack type of coach. Obviously we played him at Louisville, I thought his line played good against us that game. Obviously played well last year. So he’s going to have a very well prepared team.
Q. To go off that, when you’re playing a team with a new staff, how much are you balancing looking back at their pass teams versus looking at their current personnel?
ED ORGERON: A lot of the pass game because we had difficulty with it last year the of it’s something we’re studying. Obviously they have new wrinkles, a new quarterback, but we can kind of tell some of the teams that we play that’s similar to us, some of the plays that they run, I’m sure they have some new wrinkles they always do. He’s a check with me kind of guy, there’s look overs you’re going to see in a certain defense, he’s going to change the play. Dan’s a very good offensive coordinator.
Q. What would you need to see from Saahdiq in practice this week to feel comfortable putting him back out there and could he have played on Saturday night?
ED ORGERON: I’m going to say something funny, okay? This is a joke. I just need to see him in a stance, that would be good enough for me. No, no, he could not have played Saturday night. I think that just him going through a practice and handling the contact in the right way he should be okay.
Q. It’s a unique situation to go to a venue two years in a row. What do you take away from last year’s trip to Florida? People always say the fans are closer to the action and the crowd noise and things that you have to deal with there?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, take away mostly the mindset that we had on the plane, that we were going to win the football game. I take away when we got out there it was probably the hottest place we had been. I remember being in pregame warm up we went out there, because we didn’t want any distractions, the year before we had some distractions, I think we had a fight before, our team wasn’t ready to play. We had too many turnovers. We made sure our coaches were on the field, made sure there were no distractions there. I remember the heat. I remember telling Coach Jenkins to go easy, I was afraid he was going to pass out it was so hot. But I remember that and then I remember the leadership on our football team came through that day. I remember them missing the extra point and guys like Rashard Lawrence and Devin White saying we’re going to win this football game regardless. So those are the things, hard fought battle, I remember on the start of the fourth quarter they are playing the Hey, baby there ain’t no easy way out, we won’t back down by Tom Petty. And I thought it was a tremendous time for our football team because we were singing it too. And it’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a war, it’s going to take sixty minutes, this is a rivalry game, it comes down to one play or two, so those are the things I remember.
Q. With the fourth down decision this last game where you got them on the hard count, you originally looked like you were going to punt, then the timeout, and then you decide to go for it. Earlier you talked about how you have a kind of, I don’t know if the book’s the right word, but a book that you basically look at it and it gives you the odds. Like how did that decision come about?
ED ORGERON: Well, it was a prime decision to do it. I thought about doing it before I sent the punt team out. So we went and sent the punt team out and I said, you know what, we should try to draw them offsides. Then they called a timeout. So we said perfect. So I have some guys on the sideline that help me with game management, and some coaches say, hey, listen, let’s try to draw them offsides. I said, yup, let’s go do it. And we did it and we drove for the touchdown. It was great call. It was a staff decision.
Q. What is it about Dan Mullen when he gets with these quarterbacks that they somehow they’re much improved. I think we saw Franks had his struggles last year and all of a sudden now this year he just looks like a different guy. Can you talk about his transformation from last year to this year, the Dan Mullen affect?
ED ORGERON: First of all, he’s a good quarterback coach, obviously, with all the quarterbacks he’s coached. But he finds the skills that they can do and he runs the plays that they can run. I think he’s very good at identifying those skills and very good of adapting the offense to what they can do. I think he has a certain game plan that what he wants his offense to look like, then makes concessions according to what his quarterback has.
Q. You guys have seen some evasive quarterbacks the past couple of weeks what do you see in Feleipe and what kind of ways can you contain a guy like that?
ED ORGERON: He’s running the ball a little bit better, obviously. Making good decisions. Dan’s a big quarterback run play action pass guy, short easy throws and then throw the deep ball. Dan will give him the throws that he can make, obviously. He can’t make all the throws right now, but later on in his career I’m sure he will. But Dan’s giving him the throws that he can make.
Q. There were reports that Dan Mullen pursued you a little bit. I guess how much did you consider that at the time?
ED ORGERON: Dan’s a friend of mine, when I was out for a year I went up there to speak at their clinic and I spent a couple days with their staff, was very impressed the way they coach very impressed with their defense spent a couple days up there. I did interview with him, he did not offer me the job. I’m glad because I ended up at LSU. So it all worked out.
Q. Could you give an update on Lloyd Cushenberry?
ED ORGERON: Lloyd is very questionable for the game. We’ll know more towards the end of the week.
Q. You mentioned the improved play of the receivers. How important is it for your offense for those guys not just to catch the ball but to make plays after the catch like they did?
ED ORGERON: This is our biggest game, yards after the catch, so that’s a good observation on your part. I thought Jefferson did a great job of yards after the catch. We work on it hard. We have some big athletic receivers and at first of the year they wasn’t getting open so we changed some things that we’re doing, more crossing route, more mesh routes, more digs, more intermediate three level routes, play action pass. And I didn’t mention this, I think you have to give Steve Ensminger credit. I thought this was his best game so far this year of mixing it up, dialing it up. That touchdown by Jefferson, I have told him, I said, Steve, this is a statement drive, now we got to make a statement. He goes, how do you like that statement? I said, pretty good.
Q. Where did Stephen Sullivan make his biggest jump and what has gotten him to this point where he’s kind of wallowed a little bit for the last two years?
ED ORGERON: You know, you see an athlete like that you want the ball in his hands, okay? And we’re trying him at the X, trying him at Z, there’s some things that he could do, some things a big receiver just doesn’t do very well. We tried to move him to tight end. That wasn’t his, yeah, not really in his wheelhouse and then we moved him to the slot where he can catch the slant or we put him at X or Z where he can catch those short routes and then throw him the deep fade. So those are some things that he can do so we are moving him around and enabled him to do that. He run the jet sweep pretty good so we kind of find out the things that he does well and we — a guy I didn’t mention I’m glad we gave ray see had a look forward to seeing him more.
Q. Cole Smith got in there a little bit at center when Lloyd went down. What did you see from him and is there anybody else that you guys could get a look at center this week?
ED ORGERON: Cole did good. Obviously this is his first game, he’s excited, he’s from Mississippi. I was glad to see him. Hopefully we can get him some more snaps. I don’t know how much Lloyd is going to practice at the beginning of the week so he’s going to have to practice there. We have to find a backup center. Right now we don’t have one.
Q. I know you don’t feel you’re a finished product but what are a key or two keys maybe that have gotten y’all to this point? Things that y’all have done well to overcome the offensive line like to get you guys to 5-0?
ED ORGERON: Playing as a team. I think ruling out individual goals, putting it more as a team, being non-selfish, getting a lot of guys involved in the program, making plays, making them self feel good about them self. You can see guys like Stephen Sullivan, Dee Anderson, Racey McMath they was in practice last week, they’re excited giving everybody a piece of the action, giving them some accountability. I think that the analysts that we have on our football team, we have so much more prepared this year than all of last year. And Dave Aranda was doing practically all the breakdown work and now it’s all done on Sunday, guys are giving more advice, we meet more as a football staff this year than we ever have. Guys are in there meeting rooms, offense, defense, special teams, we’re much more organized. I think those things give an effect to a better practice. But you got to give the credit to our players. They want to win. You can see the look in the eye. I think it’s a want to, a will to win, good leadership, those things — and turnover ratio.
Q. There was a point in Saturday’s game where you guys had on defense four three and outs in a row. What can consecutive three and outs do and is that a big part of Dave’s scheme?
ED ORGERON: We need more of them the. We need more of them. We preach them. This game was a struggle, believe it or not, defensively, the whole game. I mean we were pulling our teeth out almost every play. To get the right call, to make sure that they don’t hit the home run ball on us, formations and plays were very difficult and we had some difficult calls to make. Some look overs. So we had to strain to finish on this game. We never thought that we had put this team away, so those three and outs helps us, gives our defense a rest against a very explosive offense.
Q. You’ve been critical of the pass rush, where would you identify where the issues are there?
ED ORGERON: We had some good pressure on the quarterback this week, we had some different blitzes, we had some different personnel groupings, but we miscontained. When you contain you got to come from the up field shoulder. Now we had some new guys doing it, but we let the quarterback roll out on us too many times. So those are one issues. The other issue is we got to get better in our four-man rush we are not where we need to be.
Q. Obviously I guess LSU has defied some people’s expectations but I wonder what has gone exactly as you expected to this point in the season and what has been you know expected or the biggest surprise?
ED ORGERON: I knew that we would be solid on defense. I always thought that we could run the ball. I believed in our backs. They’re a little bit better than I thought they would be. Nick is running faster than in the years previous. Clyde is about what I thought he was going to be. I thought Clyde would be a really good player. Joe is making progress every week. I believe that the passing game that you saw against Ole Miss is the one I expected all year. I totally believe in Coach Ensminger’s ability to get people open and make play, call plays. I believe in Jerry and I believe in Mickey and I believe we have a great set of receivers. So I finally got the receivers in the right spot, we finally are doing the right plays to get the receivers open, so I think that’s the biggest improvement we’re making. On defense, the play of Kristian Fulton and Kelvin Joseph is important to us. They still need to continue to make progress. I think one of the biggest surprises to me is Jacob Phillips. He is playing out standing football. I knew he would be a good player, I didn’t know how fast he would mature and he has matured — I think he’s one of our best players on our team. And then the biggest surprise to me is the play of Grant Delpit. The ability for him to move around, the plays that he’s making in the post, the coverage, the rushes, he is a fantastic football player. But the coaching of Bill, which he’s able to do and the different things we’re able to do with him and Corey back there now that we just we have two DB coaches I think has really made a difference on our team.
Q. A lot of LSU fans have enjoyed the Fehoko family and the way they interact and everything.
ED ORGERON: I have too.
Q. Are they some of the more unique people you’ve ever met in your college coaching career?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know he was the Hawaiian warrior, right? You know that, correct? He was a mascot. He was the Hawaiian mascot. That big muscled up guy you saw running around? That’s him. And I remember on his visit Breidon came here to get coached and on his visit obviously Pete and I spent a lot of time with him, and I walked into the weight room and he had a 120-pound dumbbell and he was curling it for sets of 20. I said, well, if I sign his boy, his boy better play, I tell you that. But Miss Linda was great, they’re great people, I love their culture, I love everything about, they bring a lot of energy, they bring a lot of family to our football team, very important to us.
Q. You mentioned Grant Delpit‘s play. Could you talk a little about how dynamic of a player he can be and how important that is to the defense. You say he was a big part of Saturday’s game plan?
ED ORGERON: Big part of the we can move him a lot we can do a lot of different things, personnel groupings and with all the spread offense that is we’re seeing you need to move your guys around. We need to put more speed on the field. And he’s giving us more speed in the pass rush, he’s giving us better coverage, again, those are some very good receivers we’re playing against, we played him in the pose, his job was to midpoint Z and X, key the quarterback, break on the quarterback and intercept the ball just like it was planned he did it. He’s a dominating player.
Q. Last year you ran 500 yards on Ole Miss. How important was it for the offense this game to, in a game that you probably could have run for a lot of yards and keep the play book open, have your best night passing the ball and kind of keep that momentum going.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think it was a confidence thing. Give Joe confidence in the different receivers. We did some different things on play action pass that gave us better protection. The ability to have Racey McMath as a receiver and a slash move tight end is just like getting a free agent, because he was not playing at wide receiver and now we move him to a different position and he can be an excellent player. Dee Anderson, the play of Sullivan, those guys are coming alive. So we have more guys that we can give the ball to. The way we’re running the ball. And then the playoff our offensive line. Now we’re creating depth, we have our starters come back. Hopefully Saahdiq’s back this week, hopefully Garrett’s back in the next couple of weeks. And now we have depth, we can rotate those guys that’s been a big advantage. I give all the credit to Coach Ensminger and the development of Joe Burrow. I think Joe is a quarterback that’s very smart, you saw the way he could run the football, obviously we would love to run him a little bit more but we only have two quarterbacks so we need to be careful, so all those things are coming into play but we’re going to be challenged more than we have ever been challenged this week by the Florida defense.
Q. Do you think the band should play Neck?
ED ORGERON: That’s not my business. I kind of like the song, I don’t like some of the words in it. I got to say that. I don’t. I don’t like some of the words. I like the tune. I think it gets everybody fired up, but that’s not my business.
Q. I was kidding. But you just talked about it, I was hoping you could elaborate a little bit on Racey and that tight end what he adds what dimension he adds to the offense?
ED ORGERON: Speed. Ability to catch the ball. Mismatches. Racey is 220, he can block. He can block, he’s physical and he’s tough. And again, here’s a young man that’s hungry and wants to play now he’s getting his chance to play so they bring a tremendous attitude at practice.
Q. Burrow’s running ability, was that something that you guys knew he had in him before you got him and obviously you kind of you knew he was athletic but utilizing him so much was that kind of a pleasant surprise once he got here or did you know that all along?
ED ORGERON: We knew it all along. I’m the one that’s a little apprehensive of doing it. I think Coach Ensminger wants to do it a lot more and obviously I want to keep him healthy. But we knew he could do it.
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