Watch On-Demand: Coach O Press Conference
LSU Football Media Conference
Monday, October 19, 2020
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Weekday Press Conference
LSU COACH ED ORGERON PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT – South Carolina game week
ED ORGERON: It is Tell the Truth Monday. Last week we spent most of the week fixing LSU. Some of the things we worked on were simplifying our defense, our communication, tackling, our fundamentals.
On offense we started with the goal line, especially the one-yard line, making better choices at the one yard line. I do believe we fixed it. On third down, identifying the problems on third down, fixing them. Better scheme, better execution.
On special teams, kickoff coverage. That was a big emphasis for us last week. We started game planning on Florida, as you guys know. Wednesday we found out we weren’t playing Florida, so we had to turn around and game plan some of South Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday. Our guys had Friday and Saturday off. They were rested and ready to go today.
Now it’s on to South Carolina. We look forward to being back in LSU Tiger Stadium, Death Valley on Saturday night. Hopefully 25,000 people are going to be there loud and proud. Can’t wait to get off that bus with the Tiger Walk, hear our own stadium, get that energy going.
Will Muschamp has done a tremendous job with the South Carolina. Two-game winning streak right now. Played great against Auburn. Mike Bobo has done a tremendous job with his offense. Brought his quarterback with him. They’re a pro-style offense with different formations. We’ll see some 21, some I-back, we haven’t seen yet this year much. He runs out of a pro set and also out of a spread set.
The quarterback he brought back, Collin Hill, does a great job of operating his offense. No. 20, Kevin Harris is an outstanding back. No. 13, Shi Smith, is one of the best players in the conference. He has 34 catches, 347 yards, three touchdowns, very fast, elusive.
On defense he’s a 4-3 guy. Will has always done a tremendous job with his defenses. His defenses up front are very active, a lot of stunts, playing zone coverage, man coverage, zone blitz.
It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We look forward to seeing our guys on Tell the Truth Monday, getting back to playing LSU style football.
Q. Last Wednesday on the conference call you said Myles was doubtful for the game on Saturday. If y’all were to play that game, would he suit it up? Can you update his condition?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he was not going to play last week. We expected him back early during the week. I just talked to Jack. He’s questionable. Taking a little bit more time for him to heal. He’s going to be questionable for the game.
Q. To whatever degree you can, elaborate on what Myles’ issue is? The other thing is, if you would, Jaycee Horn, the defensive back from South Carolina, give us a thumbnail on him.
ED ORGERON: First of all, he’s got good a genes. Joe Horn’s son. Very good especially in press coverage. Gets his hands on you, will be tight. Puts his hands around you, very tight coverage. Has a nose for the football. We evaluated for him. I know Joe is proud of him.
Myles has a significant injury to his lower body, something that we do believe is going to heal. It’s taking a little bit more time to heal. We thought he’d be back today, but he’s not. I don’t know if he’s going to play this game.
Q. With the coronavirus situation and Coach Mullen having it, Coach Saban they thought had it, have you been able to avoid it? I don’t know if we’ve asked you personally. We hear South Carolina described as a tough team. How do you have to match their toughness and grit Saturday night?
ED ORGERON: First of all, yeah, we have to be aware, follow the protocol. Hopefully I’m able to stay free of it during the season. I think it would be tough to be away from my football team. I can understand Coach Saban not wanting to be away from his team or anybody. This is the time of year we need to be with our football teams.
Yes, South Carolina is a tough team. They have grit. We’re going to have some tough practices. We need to find out about ourselves. I like to pride ourselves on being tough. We’re going to find out Saturday who can be the toughest team.
Q. The quarterback situation, you had another week with your true freshmen back there preparing again for the possibility of playing. Has anybody kind of stepped forward yet to you?
ED ORGERON: To be honest, they both had fantastic weeks. Both of them are very impressive. I believe both of those guys have NFL talent at quarterback. Now they haven’t been in a live action, they’re both freshmen. We’re going to practice both of those quarterbacks this week. We’re going to tell them whoever has the best week is going to start. I plan on giving them both a chance during the game, either one starts, I want to see what they can do. The only way to do it is in live action.
Q. I imagine you have to have a conversation with some of these guys about what they’re facing. How have they handled that? Is it a situation where it’s purely who is looking better or you’re looking for a certain thing?
ED ORGERON: I think it’s a combination of both. We’ll see what South Carolina gives us on defense, and who best suits to play it. But they have to have a good week. We’re not going to give it to anybody. They have to perform. Last week both of them were ready to start us off. They got prepared for that. They didn’t know who was going to start, so it’s going to be the same thing this week. Now we playing at home, should be easier for them. Obviously being the first game to any one of them is going to be a little nervousness. I think both of them can handle it.
Q. You mentioned also last week that Terrace and Arik were a little questionable as well. Any update on those guys?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think both of them will be available. I talked to Jack today. Both of them are going to practice today. They should be fine.
Q. What did you find in your self-scout, figure out some quick areas you can fix?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s all about us making mistakes, communication, not having the right gap fits, not aligning to formations, not making the proper calls, guys running wide open down the field. It all comes down to communication. It all comes down to simple communication, what our guys can handle. I think this week we did a lot of soul searching on what we tell the guys, how we tell them. It’s not how much we know, it’s how much they know. They’ve got to be able to do that on the field.
Most of all, it was about us shooting ourselves in the foot.
Q. I think Finley, when he enrolled at LSU, he was in the 260 range weight. He’s down to about 240. We know him as a passer. Can he also make moves now getting lower weight?
ED ORGERON: I think it’s helped him, yeah. We had a two-minute drill on Tuesday. He scrambled out of there. Looked very good. Obviously Max is very good. I think Max is comparable in speed to Joe Burrow. A little faster. Max is more of a scrambler than TJ, who is more of a dual-threat quarterback. If so, TJ can move out of the pocket and avoid the rush.
Q. A COVID question. There’s a really extensive feature in SI today about contact tracing be even a bigger issue than positive tests. Part of the crux, a lot of coaches and A.D.s have said they’re considering allowing players the opportunity to test out of contact tracing where they have to sit out for 14 days. Have you all as a staff or athletic department talked about that? Do you have a feeling on that generally?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we have talked about that with Shelly, with Jack. We’ve talked about that obviously in August when we had a lot of talks on the Zoom meetings in the SEC. That was discussed of how we can do that, how we can get out of it, not getting guys quarantined for 14 days.
What happens, a guy gets quarantined for 14 days, he doesn’t have COVID, he can come back and get the COVID. It’s like a domino effect. How do we stop the domino effect? We have discussed that.
Q. You talked about the communication. Is that to the field or on the field that you are finding you’re having the most difficulty?
ED ORGERON: Mostly on the field. We had one miscommunication last week against Missouri that one personnel grouping was in the game. We called one defense. They changed the personnel grouping. We changed the defense. Not everybody got the call. They should have. The call was sent in. That was one from the sideline that we should have done a better job of.
The other ones were communication within the defensive scheme on the field.
Q. Is there a scenario where this game, if TJ or Max goes, that one of the freshmen could end up being the hot hand that provides the quarterback position for the rest of the season?
ED ORGERON: You know, Myles is showing he can be our quarterback. He’s had three phenomenal football games. We like Myles.
But, hey, I’m telling you, these two young quarterbacks are great players. I’m anxious to see what they can do. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Right now Myles is our starting quarterback.
Q. On the quarterback situation, how important would it be for y’all to really get the running game going if you do have to go to one of these true freshmen?
ED ORGERON: I should have said that on offense. It was the running game on first down. We worked hard on that last week. It’s really important this game and any game for us to get the running game going. That’s going to set up the pass. We cannot be one-dimensional. We have to be able to block better up front. We have to be able to run the football better in order to not get behind on second and 10, third and 10. We have to get in manageable.
Q. With the quarterback situation, in your experience with true freshmen stepping in for the first time, how do you go through that conversation, sitting them down, preparing them for something like this? At what point in the week do you let them know which one is going in? Can that lead all the way up to the game for them?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think to be fair to them, after Thursday’s practice we should tell them. Friday morning, I’ll sit down and talk to them, tell them I believe in them, tell them they’ll be fine, just do the things they can do. That’s why they were recruited here, why they came here. Both of those guys, I think it really helped they were here last spring. Although we didn’t have spring football, they matured a lot, they have been in the meetings a lot, they know our offense. Again, Steve is going to have to see what they can do. He knows what both of them can do. Call the game that they can manage in the game.
Q. What kind of progress did you see from South Carolina’s offensive line from the beginning of the year compared to last game when they changed up the rotation?
ED ORGERON: We were talking about them this morning. Obviously I coached the defensive line. We had an offensive line scouting report, extensive scouting report, on each one of the young men.
They’re very good on their double-team blocks. Very well-coached. Their center can handle a nose tackle one-on-one, reach them. I think they’re better run blockers right now than they are in pass protection. They’ve struggled in pass protection. That’s why they made a change. I think they’re getting better at it.
But their quick game enables them to hide maybe a guy that’s not as strong in pass protection, better run game protector. The quarterback, No. 13, is phenomenal. Play-action game. Their sprints and their boots. They have ways to cover for that.
Q. It is 2020. What is the preparation like behind TJ and Max in case something really goes bad with injury? Who do you have to prepare as an emergency guy that can run the offense?
ED ORGERON: We have a couple guys that are on our team that we feel that can go in operate. A.J. will probably be the third team guy. We have a couple guys that have been with us for a while. They can go in there and operate the game. Obviously it’s not going to be the same as Max and TJ. But it’s a good question. We have to be prepared for that.
Q. During the off-season I spoke to Will Muschamp. He said he was happy for you and the staff. He knew a lot of guys on the staff when you won the national title. A very fiery competitor, survivor. What are your thoughts on him as a head coach?
ED ORGERON: Great guy. Love him. Love talking to him. Always been a friend. Always been a good guy. Great defensive coach. I’m happy to see him having success. He’s not a big ego guy. Gets along with everybody. Got to credit him, he’s got his football team playing very well. He made a change on offense. You can see the difference. His defense is playing with fire, playing with toughness. The tight end blocks, he reminds me of Foster Moreau because they have some toughness in them. They’re playing his temperament. That’s who he is.
Q. You mentioned South Carolina’s running back Kevin Harris. Can you expand on what you think of him and the season he’s having so far?
ED ORGERON: He’s hard to tackle. He’s hard to get down with one guy. He sees the hole. Outstanding. He can block. He has vision. He breaks tackles. He can catch the ball in the backfield. He’s an all-around back.
Q. How much time have you had or have you had a chance to evaluate Jaycee Horn, their cornerback at South Carolina? What are your impressions of him?
ED ORGERON: We talked about him yesterday. We have a scouting report, we have advanced scouts that do the work. They watch every game. They give us a scouting report.
He’s a great press guy. He’s very handsy in a competitive way. Good way to say it (smiling). Obviously he has great genes. One of the top corners. He’s playing very well. He’s an open-field tackler. Plays the ball very well. Outstanding player.
Q. What is the message this week? Are you trying to light a fire under their butts or trying to get them to play controlled, capable of what they can do?
ED ORGERON: I think we need to play with a lot of energy. I think we should be rested. I told the guys last week, Press the restart button, let’s go. Started today with a positive mindset with our coaching staff, a positive mindset to win the football game. Let’s coach every day. Let’s do our best job coaching.
I’m going to ask our players, Listen, I asked the coach to give us their very best. Let’s give our very best in practice. When you go back, don’t play well, you got to look at your practices. We’ve been up and down in practice. Last week we put three practices together. Great practice. This week we got to put four leading to up game.
I think it’s not more or less being fired up on Saturday, but about being fired up today, getting better today. We got a lot of improving to do on LSU, not on South Carolina, on LSU.
Q. Back to the Jaycee Horn, Terrace Marshall matchup, how could he have an advantage on Horn Saturday?
ED ORGERON: Marshall has an advantage over most guys because of his athletic ability. I’m sure we’re going to find ways that Terrace is going to move around. It won’t only be against Horn. Some situations where he’s in the slot, some situations where he’s on the other side of the field.
That’s all I’m going to say about that (smiling).
Q. You talked about hitting the reset button, get better practices. Do you think maybe it could help y’all in some ways you didn’t actually have the Florida game or would you have rather had that game?
ED ORGERON: Good question.
Obviously if we were going to play Florida, it was going to be good. But come to find out talking to Jack, our players were tired, our players were beat up. They needed the time off. Talking to Tommy, seemed like our guys came back today reenergized. We had a few guys banged up that needed the weekend to get a little bit better.
I thought having the weekend would help Myles, but obviously it hasn’t. We’re going to have to deal with that, task at hand. But it turned out to be a good thing for us. Our guys could get some rest. We need to build off of this. We had two extra days on South Carolina, so we should be ahead this week.
Q. How did you shift gears and what did you work on differently after the game was canceled last week? With a 1-2 start, where do you feel your team leadership and chemistry is?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, let me go with the last one.
First of all, our guys have had a great attitude. The only thing I ask them to do, I told them, We got to coach them better, you guys stay together. It’s been pretty good. Having a 1-2 start, coming off a championship team, it looks like the guys will have a great mindset. They’re eager to win. Take it one game at a time.
We shifted gears last Wednesday, last Tuesday night. I heard the game may be canceled. I told the coaches to get ready to work on South Carolina Wednesday. I think we found out for sure on Wednesday morning, so that’s when we shifted gears.
The whole week was about fixing LSU. We had a lot of things to fix. Wasn’t so much game planning against Florida because if the things that we put on film weren’t fixed, we’re going to see them again. We had to make sure those were fixed.
Q. The 2015 game was your first year in Baton Rouge. Share your memories of that week. Another odd game.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it was a home game for them. I think they were playing their fight song. We didn’t get to play our stuff. It was kind of different. We were the away team, that’s all I remember. A little different in Tiger Stadium.