Ed Orgeron Press Conference - Auburn Preview
BATON ROUGE – Ed Orgeron met with members of the media on Monday at his weekly press conference as the LSU head coach reviewed the win over Mississippi State and then previewed this week’s game against ninth-ranked Auburn.
Second-ranked LSU hosts Top 10 Auburn at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in Tiger Stadium in college football’s premier game this week. The game will be televised on CBS.
Here’s the complete transcript of what Orgeron had to say at today’s press conference:
“Welcome, guys. Very pleased with our win over Mississippi State. Pleased with the work ethic of our coaches, our football team, on the road win. Obviously, we used two years ago as a motivation. We were not going to let that happen to us again.
On offense, zero turnovers, 36 points, 15 explosive plays. On defense three turnovers, which I thought was the difference in the game. We held them to 2.8 yards with these guys, running football team with this quarterback. Kylin (Hill) was the second leading rusher in the SEC, held them to under 50 yards. Great job by the defense. 75% win on the third down.
On special teams, our punt average was almost 47 yards. Flipped the field, we did a phenomenal job.
On to Auburn. As we know, a big football game for Louisiana State University, the state of Louisiana. Tiger Stadium is going to be on fire 2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. We’re going to need them as a winning edge, like we did against Georgia, Florida.
A little bit about Auburn. First of all, they are a very good football team, well-coached. We know a lot about them, they know a lot about us. It’s going to be a war, a great game. A lot of those guys that we recruited, a lot of our recruits they recruited, all their coaches, typical great SEC matchup on Saturday afternoon.
Offense led by Gus Malzahn, good play-caller, coach. Seven returning starters. 36 points a game. The big thing is they’re averaging 240 yards per game rushing. This is the best offensive line that we’re going to play so far this year. Five returning starters. Experienced, very well-coached. They’re tough and they’re physical.
On offense, Bo Nix, we know Kam Martin the running back. Wide receivers are very good. Seth Williams, an excellent player.
On defense, the best defensive line we’ll see, we have seen so far, led by Derrick Brown. I remember going to recruit Derrick Brown. He stood up in the doorway, he filled up the whole doorway. That’s the type of player he is. A mountain of a man.
I’m glad he stayed. Really it’s good for college football. He’s probably going to be a top five pick. I recruited him. I wish that man the best of luck. Obviously not this Saturday, but good to see him play very well.
Coach Steele is a close friend. Glad to see his defense doing very well. Very happy for the job he’s doing.
Marlon Davidson is another guy we tried to recruit, six sacks, 18 quarterback hurries. Very disruptive. Jeremiah Dinson, strong safety. No. 20, leads the team in tackles. Kevin is a 4-3 guys 17 points per game. 94 yards rushing, 225 passing. Doesn’t have to blitz much because of the rush he gets from his four-man rush.
On special teams they’re solid with a lot of speed.
Looking forward to this week of preparation. We’ll go through the process. Today is Tell the Truth Monday. There’s a lot of things we need to correct from the Mississippi State game on all three phases. I do believe our team is going to be hungry this week. They know the magnitude of this football game, but they’ll be ready to play.
Q. You mentioned the defensive line, best y’all have seen yet. What does Auburn do differently that makes it difficult?
ED ORGERON: You look at a guy like Derrick Brown, who is that big and physical. Nobody that we’ve faced so far has been that big and physical. He’s very, very disruptive. They put him in a four technique, they put him in a three technique. He’s hard to match one-on-one. You have to double-team him.
Marlon Davidson is good pass-rusher. These guys get most of their rushes with a four-man rush. They can stop the run and play two high safety. They’re very physical.
Q. Saahdiq will play this week?
ED ORGERON: Yes.
Q. How is (Austin) Deculus doing?
ED ORGERON: Doing okay. He had a minor injury. Might be held out of practice today or tomorrow. He should be fine.
Q. You challenged those guys in the pre-season to be more consistent this year. Is that the challenge again this week?
ED ORGERON: No question. Last year I thought they played pretty good against this group. We have to do it again. Just like we challenged them against Florida, led by Lloyd (Cushenberry), we’re going to have to play great on the offensive line this week.
Q. Talking about the offensive line, how far along is Ed Ingram to get a lot more snaps? Is he going to play a lot?
ED ORGERON: You know, Ed, I think he’s in good football shape right now. His technique right now, he’s a little overaggressive. He wants to maul everybody, which is good. He’s a good run blocker. We have to work a little bit on his pass protection. As soon as he gets that down, he’ll play more.
Q. You’ve had a kicker that’s kind of looked a little shaky the last few weeks. Do you do anything to help him with his confidence? Do you think he’s lost any confidence?
ED ORGERON: No, I don’t think so. Again, some people have a different philosophy about treating kickers. Don’t tell them nothing. That’s not me. He’s going to be accountable in our program. He’s going to have to answer what’s wrong.
It’s all going to be about technique, what is his footwork, was his timing right or wrong, what was it. He’s going to have to explain, get better at it just like everybody else.
We see it’s ongoing skill development. I don’t think it’s mental at all. I think it’s definitely about technique.
Q. Clyde has really impressed the last couple weeks. We saw the speed against Florida. How much better is he maybe than you expected? How pleased are you with his game?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, Clyde is a program saver. We needed him to come in and be a big-time back for us. He wasn’t a highly recruited kid, although we thought he would be an excellent back.
Best thing about Clyde is his attitude. Like I said many times, when Clyde walks in a room, he’s 6’4″, 270. That’s his persona. Great runner, can make you miss, run in between the tackles. Perfect for our offense.
I thought Tyrion Davis ran the ball against Mississippi State. Him and John will be two excellent backs for us.
Q. There’s a lot of talk at Auburn, up the middle defensively. We talked a lot about the tackles this season. What about some of those interior guys? What about the two other guards? How do you feel about their current level of play?
ED ORGERON: (Indiscernible) was playing very well, physical. He was hard to overpower. He’s getting up to the second level, doing a fine job.
The guy that is the surprise of the year to me is Adrian Magee. I said it the first week, I thought Ed was going to start. Adrian has experience, playing well there. I thought the line is the most improved group. Not playing great. They did good against Florida. They’re going to get tested this week, more up the middle as you alluded to. They going to get tested.
Q. What is the plan with Terrace Marshall this week in practice? Do you expect him to play?
ED ORGERON: Terrace Marshall?
ED ORGERON: We will see how much he can do. Jack Marucci and Coach Brady have an excellent plan. We talked about it today. He’s going to want to do everything, be ready to go.
But we feel that by game time he should be ready to play.
Q. Another big game in Tiger Stadium. How does that affect recruiting for you this weekend?
ED ORGERON: We have five official visitors this week, some big-time players are coming in. We’ll have our best recruits from Louisiana, from Houston, from Mississippi, from Atlanta, from Florida will be at this football game. Just like it was the Florida game, they got to see Tiger Stadium at night. They get to see it during the day.
This is a huge recruiting weekend for us as we know early signing date is coming up. There will be a lot of official visits coming in the next couple of weeks. We got to make some decisions. We got a couple of scholarships left.
Q. Auburn hasn’t won here since 1999, which is before a lot of your players were born. You’ve only been here the last two times. In a series that’s so competitive, what can you attribute that to?
ED ORGERON: Well, obviously the home-field advantage I think is huge, no question. We won their last year also. We must have bucked the trend a little bit.
Although they haven’t won here, thank you for telling me that, but I don’t think it means a hill of beans come Saturday. I know they’re not listening to it. My team better not listen to it. This is good football team. It will be a big matchup.
I do believe that the home-field advantage is something for LSU. Always has been for LSU. Has been phenomenal.
Q. Auburn lost their lead rusher for the year a couple weeks ago. What do you see in their rushing attacks? And Bo Nix?
ED ORGERON: First of all, we recruited Bo. That is a great player there, great character. I think he’s going to be a good quarterback. Obviously, he made some mistakes against Florida under some pressure. Their running backs are good running backs at Auburn. The one that got hurt, could have been a great running back. These guys are good running backs. They’re not as productive as the other running back that they had.
I think the thing that makes their running game good is their coach, his schemes, his formations. He knows where to hit you. The offensive line, this is a better offensive line than we played last year.
Q. When he was healthy, Terrace Marshall was a big asset in the red zone. After this last week, does it make you rethink the strategy?
ED ORGERON: Sure. I just talked to Coach Ensminger and Joe before we left. There are some things we felt we could have done better. Some play calling, we felt we could have done better. We feel with Terrace in there, it’s hard to double Ja’Marr or Justin. Obviously, Terrace gives us a big threat in the red zone. Joe feels comfortable with it.
He’s a great addition. Having him back, make some adjustments on the play calling and formation is going to help us.
Q. In what ways does this new offense, the way the wide receivers are given a lot of ability to do things, does that help against this defense since they don’t have to rush as many?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, talking about our offense versus their defense?
ED ORGERON: Here is what is going to happen. We’re going to run our offense, we are going to have to five-man protect. That’s the offense, five-man protect. That means some one-on-ones Derrick Brown, going to have to win. If we can do that, we’re happy. If we can’t, we’re going to have to make adjustments, keep a tight end in, keep a back in, chip, whatever it may take.
We want to get five receivers out all the time, and that gives Joe obviously a better option, gives us a better option. When you spread guys out, they have to declare man or zone. It’s hard to disguise. It gives us a better look. It all starts with protection. If we can beat those guys one-on-one, we’ll be fine.
Q. You saw Wisconsin last week, playing Ohio State this week. Got beat by Illinois. Is it almost a positive you have a huge game coming up in three weeks, that Auburn is top-10 team, not some team under .500? Almost better for your players, you’ll have their full focus?
ED ORGERON: Some of the stuff you say is right for most teams. I think for this team, they’re so focused in on the task at hand, they understood, made some goals, we talked about some things before the season where we want to go. We’re right on track. This is always about LSU, about the LSU standard of performance.
Now, does Auburn have our attention? Heck, yeah. Is this a great rivalry game in the SEC? Yes. Whatever is down the road is going to wait down the road. But Florida was a big game, right? Mississippi State was a big game. The more you win, bigger they going to get.
This is a big game in Baton Rouge. Means a lot to our football. I don’t think at all they’ll be looking past the open date, whatever, down the road.
Q. Davis-Price looks like he’s giving you some power in the running game. Where is your confidence level with him as opposed to the beginning of the year?
ED ORGERON: Very high. He’s learning the offense, getting in his groove, he has some confidence. The last two touches he made, that touch against Florida, the touch he made against Mississippi State were very impressive.
The thing I like about him is one cut, he’s north and south. He’s going to fall forward. He reminds us a lot of maybe Jeremy Hill type back we used to have here. Maybe good, maybe better, we don’t know yet. I think he’s going to have a great career here.
Q. First half of the season nobody wanted to throw it, Kristian Fulton. No one threw it to Derek Stingley. How have teams gone about facing these two corners?
ED ORGERON: I think Kristian had his best game obviously. He had that pick. New coverage we ran. He had a nice breakout on the hitch. Had a couple good tackles.
It’s going to be hard. The guy is going to have some good receivers. There’s no such thing as a total shutdown corner. I think Derek learned that. Guys are going to pick on Derek, guys are going to pick on Kristian. Sometimes they’re going to have not-so-great games, sometimes great games.
I like both of our corners. Most of the time they’re going to win their one-on-one matchups. That’s what enables us to go man free most of the time.
Q. JaCoby Stevens, a couple years to find his role in the defense. How much has he shown you during his career? How well is he playing now?
ED ORGERON: JaCoby was a five-star coming out of high school, one of the top players in Tennessee, one of the top players in America. His family was from Louisiana. We really wanted him. We felt that he could become an excellent player.
The first year we kind of tried to figure out where we can put him, where he can play the best. He got better. He developed. The closer he is to the ball, the better he is.
Now, he’s great in coverage. You saw the interception. But pound-for-pound he is the strongest player on our football team. He plays the way the game ought to be played. When you walk off the field, JaCoby is the finest gentleman you’ve ever seen. When he puts that helmet on, he’s very competitive and ferocious. I think he’s becoming an excellent football player.
Q. When they’re at their best, they’re moving with tempo, control the pace. How much do you have to prepare your team? They’re a start-stop with that.
ED ORGERON: We’re going to be ready for it. We’re going to be ready for all types of tempos. When he makes the first down, it’s very fast, about as fast as we’ve seen. We’ve seen some fast teams. We’re able to be able to match those guys.
We finally have a defensive line that we feel like we can rotate. We have a run game that if we need to keep the ball away from them, run the football, hopefully we can run the ball, slow down the clock a little bit. We have several mechanisms we’ve done all year. We just have to get in the game, see how it’s going.
If our offense can score fast, got to let them. We need to control the football.
Q. Your kicker, he is a freshman who hasn’t had to be in a pressure situation yet this year. Do you maybe make practice a little bit more competitive this week?
ED ORGERON: No. I’m still going to trust him. He’s our guy. But we’re going to have a plan if he’s not doing well, we may go for it, put the ball in his hands or Joe Burrow’s hands, you know what I mean? I know what decision you’d make right now. Know what I’m saying?
We have options. We can go for it instead of kick a field goal, which is sometimes better. Connor is not ready to be our kicker yet. We believe in our kicker and I’m going to stick by him.
Q. This tightrope procedure on high ankle sprains in the news, you had that with Glen Logan earlier this year. How do you think that went? How do you make a decision to go with that procedure or let that injury heal?
ED ORGERON: First of all, Jack made a great decision obviously. We talked to his mom. High ankle sprain. We felt with the tightrope procedure, he could come back in I guess it was four weeks. That’s what Jack thought, he’d come back in four weeks. Again, he came back in four weeks.
Maybe a high ankle sprain would go four to six weeks. We felt it was the best for him. And it worked for Glen.
Q. Joe last year in the Auburn game, you were down eight points in the fourth quarter, he hit the pass. Do you think that’s the game where the guys really bought into what he was doing? I don’t want you to think I’m nuts, but are you surprised about all the attention him getting his pants pulled down in the game has gotten?
ED ORGERON: First of all, that was a good play. I believe Derrick (Dillon) went 71 yards. Auburn had a little momentum at that time, so…
I think the kicker got most of the credit for that game. Obviously, we started believing in Joe. But the game that Joe won the team over was the Georgia game. No question. That was his team. I thought he felt more comfortable. You could see him playing better.
As far as the other thing, I think it’s a good thing in college sports when guys have fun. They make fun of me. I’m glad my pants didn’t fall down (laughter).
College sports, SEC, there’s no private moments any more. That stuff happens. Obviously, it was an accident. I’m sure Joe would like to forget it and so would we.
Q. 16 of the last 19 meetings between LSU and Auburn have gone to the home team. Anything in your mind that sticks out on why the home team has had success in this matchup?
ED ORGERON: Home-field advantage. I expect it to happen again. It’s the winning edge. The crowds are great. This is a big rivalry game between Auburn and LSU. Our fans love it. They’ll have a good showing.
Plus the athletes they put on this field, there will be a lot of NFL draft choices on both sides of this football. It’s a great matchup. Home-field advantage. I think the crowds get fired up for it. Maybe that’s the reason.
Q. What has Thaddeus Moss brought to this offense as a blocker and as a receiver?
ED ORGERON: First of all, Thaddeus Moss has brought tremendous leadership to our football team. He’s a young man that transferred here, didn’t know anybody. I think he’s made some of the most mature decisions I’ve ever seen in a football player. I’m very proud of him. That’s why I named him team captain.
He struggled a lot, had a lot of injuries, but he stuck with it. Now he gives us a blocking tight end and a pass catcher tight end. Very athletic. He’s very smart. We can do some things with him. As you saw, we chipped him on the way out. Steve ran the play twice in a row. Those guys didn’t understand how to cover it. Obviously, he had some good genes, a lot of pressure on him. He’s a great young man.
The more we can throw to the tight end, the more it’s going to open up for our wide receivers. I think the tight end down the middle puts a lot of pressure on the defense of covering the tight end down the middle, especially when you have some receivers on the outside.
Q. You said earlier in the season rankings don’t matter until the College Football Playoff comes out. What is your current record against a schedule that’s going to have already three top-10 teams, LSU being one of the top teams in the country?
ED ORGERON: We’re going to let that speak for itself. We got Auburn ahead of us. That stuff is out of our control. But what we can control is what we do today, how we practice, how we improve today. There’s a lot of things we have to improve in the game against Mississippi State.
Our guys respect Auburn, our coaches respect Auburn. Extra work being done in the office. Extra tempo. Going to be a great battle between some coaches. There’s a lot of great assistant coaches on their staff, a lot of great assistant coaches on our staff. There’s a lot of stuff going into this game that we don’t think about the other stuff.
Q. I’m sure all the games feel like big ones. This will be your 11th at LSU top 10 game you’ve coached. What do you lean on in your experience that advises you, I don’t know, to prepare for this as a coach?
ED ORGERON: I don’t prepare any different, to be honest with you. Top 10, no 10, whatever. It’s a football game at LSU you got to win.
I go through the whole week just like our guys. We go through the process. Don’t change whether the record is great, whether the record is bad. We focus in on the task at hand and go after it.
Q. The penalty on Stevens after the incomplete pass, inside the 10-yard line, are you concerned? Some of those things are marginal, they might decide a game. That one didn’t. How do you coach a guy to handle that situation?
ED ORGERON: Well, we want to be aggressive. We want to play tight coverage, just like roughing the passer. You want to rush the passer. There’s sometimes where you can’t pull off. Those are penalties of aggression. We’re the least penalized team in the SEC right now. I’m not going to get on our guys for penalties of aggression.
Pre-snap penalties, stupid penalties, we don’t want. But we got to let them play.
Q. The new overtime rules came into play the other night with North Carolina, Virginia Tech. Are you in favor of the way they changed that? Any other thoughts you might have about that?
ED ORGERON: Well, I’m in favor. I think it’s better than it was obviously. We went through it last year. We shouldn’t have done that to those kids. We played an extra game. I’m in favor of shortening it up for, for sure. I know what the new overtime rules have forced us to do. Today we have two-point play period. You got to have more of those, for sure, got to know how to defend them.