By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Ed Orgeron has ended his search for LSU's new defensive coordinator. Po Pelini, will be returning to Baton Rouge to lead the Tigers' defense for the second time. Pelini previously served as LSU's defensive coordinator from 2005-07 under Les Miles. In 2007 the Tigers won the BCS national championship over Ohio State, 38-24.
"We are privileged to have one of the top defensive coordinators in all of football in Bo Pelini join our staff," head coach Ed Orgeron said. "Bo has had some of the best defenses in football during his career and we are looking forward to him bringing his tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise back to LSU to continue to win championships."
Pelini left LSU to become the head coach at Nebraska for seven seasons. In 2014, Nebraska released him from his head coaching duties. From there, Youngstown State hired him as their head coach, where he has been over the past five seasons.
"The past five years have been terrific," Pelini wrote. "I can't thank President Jim Tressel and Ron Strollo enough for the opportunity here and support along the way. For all of the people, honestly too many to name, who were part of my YSU experience, I also want to extend a heartfelt thank you"... "The opportunity to return to LSU is truly unique," Pelini said. "Culturally, with my prior experience at LSU, I know it is a great fit for me. The chance to work with Coach (Ed) Orgeron, the ability to take charge of the Tigers defense. All of that in a place that both my family and I immensely enjoyed when we were there before is very exciting for us. We are very honored and looking forward to this next chapter."
It's reported that Pelini will sign a three year deal for around $2 millions per year. Orgeron wanted to fill the defensive coordinator position quickly after Dave Aranda left to become the head coach at Baylor.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Story Courtesy of: LSUsports.net
By: Michael Bonnette
BATON ROUGE – Ed Orgeron, who guided LSU to the 2019 National Championship with a perfect 15-0 record, has agreed to a new contract extension valued at more than $7 million per year that will keep him in Baton Rouge until at least 2026.
The new six-year agreement includes a base annual salary of $6 million. In addition, Coach O will receive a $5 million split-dollar life insurance policy payable over the first two years of the agreement. In total, the agreement is worth more than $42 million, before bonuses.
The agreement is pending approval of the LSU Board of Supervisors.
"Coach O has set a new standard at LSU," said LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward. "He has proven that he is not only a championship coach, but also a leader of a program committed to doing things the right way. He has represented our institution and our state with great pride, on and off the field of play. He is well-deserving of this new contract, which should make clear our commitment to Coach O and the direction of our football program."
Orgeron, the consensus 2019 National Coach of the Year, has led LSU to a 40-9 mark as coach of the Tigers. Of his 40 wins at LSU, 12 have come against teams ranked in the Top 10, including seven in 2019, which stands at the most in college football history for a single season. His 40 wins through the first 49 games of his career ties for the most by any coach in LSU history.
"I'm very appreciative of Scott Woodward, the LSU Board of Supervisors and the state of Louisiana," Orgeron said. "I'm happy to represent LSU and this great state. My family and I are very grateful, and I look forward to working as hard as possible to continue to win championships at LSU."
In 2019, Orgeron directed LSU to the most dominant season in college football history as the Tigers won 12 of their 15 games by double-figures. LSU outscored its three postseason opponents – Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson – by a combined 142-63 on its way to claiming the school's fourth football national title.
Since taking over the Tigers four games into the 2016 season, 61 one of Orgeron's players have earned their college degrees with another 46 being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. In addition to its 40 wins, LSU has produced 12 first-team All-Americans and had players win eight national awards, including 2019 Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow.
Courtesy of: LSUsports.net
By: Michael Bonnette
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
It was a National Championship celebration like very few. The fans along the parade route was game day size. It was a festive, Mardi Gras style beginning to this celebration, as the purple & gold floats, lead by the Golden Band from TigerLand & Mike the Tiger wearing a GOAT Costume, rolled through campus with LSU coaches and players throwing beads, and valuable collectibles, including plastic cigars. The chant of LSU roared out as the band struck up their "Touchdown for LSU" game day routine on Stadium Drive.
The fans began to fill the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for what would be an electric atmosphere as the greatest team in college football history would be honored for their incredible accomplishments. LSU would not lose at all this season, as they would go 15-0, winning the SEC Western Division, the SEC Championship, and the school's four national championship. The Tigers offense, lead by offensive coordinator, Steve Ensminger, passing game coordinator, Joe Brady, and quarterback Joe Burrow, became the most explosive offense, unlike any that college football has ever seen. Several records would fall throughout the season each week, as LSU would dominate every opponents on their schedule. A schedule that TeamRankings.com has rated the second toughest in the nation.
Once inside the packed Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the celebration would begin. Trophies were showcased on the stage for all to see and appreciate. A few of the players would be called up on stage by former LSU runningback Jacob Hester for a short question and answer period. Joe Burrow was the last up. "You might not be from Louisiana, but you're one of our own," Hester told Burrow, who completed 31 of 49 passes for 463 yards and five touchdowns with a rushing score on Monday. Finally, Ed Orgeron would step up to the podium to speak. "The expectations were a national championship," he said. "But you know what when you have this staff right here, you can win a national championship. I want everybody on our staff to stand up." Coach O had the assistant coaches stand and bow to the fans. "That is the very best staff in the world right there," Orgeron said. "One team, one heartbeat."
Joe Burrow would help present the Heisman Trophy to the University. Then Coach Orgeron would accept both National Championship Trophies (CFP & Coaches) as the crowd would cheer and loudly chant LSU! .... "I couldn't be more proud to be in the state of Louisiana," Orgeron said, choking out the words. "(Geaux) Tigers."
Dan Borne would end the celebration... "This was the greatest team in history," he would announce "Tell your children about it. Pass it on." Then would finish with.. "It's Mardi Gras, cher!" he said. "The party has just begun!"
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Two more LSU underclassmen announced their intentions today to enter the NFL Draft. The 2019 LSU Fighting Tigers football team, which many are calling if not THE, then one of the greatest teams in college football history, won 15 games, a SEC Championship, a Heisman Trophy (Joe Burrow), and the National Championship. The success has brought happiness, excitement and joy to so many LSU fans. But sometimes winning a championship comes with a price. The powerful Tigers starting lineup has been dismantled by graduation and early departure. In recent years LSU has had more then their share of players foregoing their final season to move on to the next level. But only four days after raising the National Championship Trophy in New Orleans, the sting will be felt much deeper this year.
The Tigers are losing the following senior starters: QB - Joe Burrow, OG - Adrien Magee, OG - Damien Lewis, Longsnapper - Blake Ferguson, DE - Rashard Lawrence, OLB - Micael Divinity, and CB - Kristian Fulton...
The following underclassmen have declared for the draft: Safety - Grant Delpit, LB - Patrick Queen, LB - Jacob Phillips, LB - K'Lavon Chaisson, OT - Saahdiq Charles, Center - Lloyd Cushenbury, WR - Justin Jefferson, RB - Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and TE - Thaddeus Moss.
Perhaps the biggest holes to fill will be two members of the coaching staff. After four years with the Tigers, defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda will be the new head coach at Baylor. The other, passing game coordinator, Joe Brady, (2019 Broyles Award Winner), leaves to become the new offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
With the Friday being the deadline for declaring for the NFL Draft, seven LSU underclassmen have made and announced their decision. Only two days after winning the national championship, Justin Jefferson, Grant Delpit, Patrick Queen, Jacob Phillips, Sadiq Charles, Lloyd Cushenbury, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire have decided to forgo their senior season at LSU. The Tigers are also losing both offensive and defensive coordinators. Joe Brady (Offensive passing game coordinator) is leaving to become the offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers. Then reports have surfaced tonight that defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who has been on the LSU staff for four years, will be accepting the head coach position at Baylor.
Junior wide receiver, Justin Jefferson is coming off of a tremendous season. He finished the year with 111 receptions (3rd most in SEC History) for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is expected to be selected in the first or second round.
Grant Delpit, who is a two time all-american, and the winner of this season's Thorpe Award, wrote on Twitter, "We are champs. We hoisted the trophy for you and LSU fans everywhere. I've decided to move on to the NFL. I will carry the joy and excitement of this season forever with me." Delpit finished his LSU career with, 199 tackles, 17.5 TFL, seven sacks, eight interceptions, 32 passes defensed in 40 games. He is a projected first round pick.
Patrick Queen finished his career with, 131 tackles, 17.5 TFL, four sacks, and an interception in 41 games. He has been projected to go somewhere between the second and third round.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the teams leading rusher in 2019. He accounted for 1,414 rushing and 16 touchdowns. He was called by many, the heart and soul of the Tigers offense. Clyde was also valuable in the passing game, as he had 55 receptions for 453 yards and a score.
Lloyd Cushenbury, has started at center for 27 straight games. The junior anchored an offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award (given to the nation's best offensive line). Cushenbury's departure will leave a huge hole to fill. He was voted a team captain at the beginning of the season, and was chosen by Coach O as one of the two players to wear the prestigious #18. Lloyd would wear a #18 patch on his jersey throughout the year. He is expected to be a first or second round pick.
Saahdiq Charles has been a key member of the LSU offensive line, though he did miss a few games this season due to coach's decision. He thanked his teammates for challenging him to compete every day to be the best player he could be on and off the field. He did his best against some of the best teams on the schedule. His announcement to go pro was sort of a surprise, as most expected him to return for his senior season.
Jacob Phillips had a standout season for the Tigers. He finished 2019 as the team's leading tackler with 113 tackles, 7.5 TFL, He is also projected to go early in the NFL Draft.
"The past three years at LSU have been a dream come true," Phillips said in a post on social media. "I am and will forever be a champion. With that being said, I will be forgoing my senior year and declaring for the 2020 NFL draft."
LSU could lose more players before the January 20th deadline.
“We just had a perfect year,” Justin Jefferson said after winning Monday's title game. “We won the national championship and set records. We had a lot of awards and did it with our team."
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
CFP National Championship
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to introduce LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. We'll begin with your opening remarks.
ED ORGERON: Good morning. Great to see everybody today. It's an honor to be here today representing Louisiana State University, the National Championship, the Fighting LSU Tigers. So proud of our football team. I do believe it's one of the greatest accomplishments in football history. So proud of Joe Burrow, the leadership that he brought to our football team, he's one of the best football players I've seen in a long time. He's even a better young man. So proud of our coaching staff, the job that they did all year. We started working last January 17th was our first football school. We've worked one year, and I reminded the team how we got here. The team had a rule all season, no barrooms, be disciplined, take care of your business, and for the most part they did that. I hope they learned life lessons, how to persevere, how to pull together as a team, how to work without egos, how to pull for each other, how to fight when we're down. I don't know, a couple scores last night, we didn't blink, and how to believe in each other. What a tremendous testament to our football team. I was so proud of everybody that wore the purple and gold. We had a lot of guys in the dressing room last night that were proud of our football team, proud of the state of Louisiana, and we're happy. We're going to enjoy this, but it's a recruiting weekend this weekend. We're going to start recruiting, get after it, and on to next year.
Q. Coach, there may be other national champions, but do you think it's going to be hard to ever duplicate a football team like the one you just coached?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think this is a team for the ages, especially how prolific we were on offense, and to have that type of quarterback that we have, to go 15- 0 and to beat the teams that we beat, all the top teams that we played, we beat them, obviously. We had a tremendous schedule. We answered the bell. These guys didn't blink. We didn't have a bad game. We played 15 good football games, and this is going to be hard to beat.
Q. Back in July, Joe Burrow said it was the Manning camp he thought this offense would score 40, 50, 60 points a game. When you read that, were you like, oh, Joe, dial it back a little bit?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I was, too. I was, too, but that's Joe. You know, just the ability to score at any time in the ballgame, and to have a quarterback to do it and then to have the system to do it and have the coaches to put it in place and the offensive line to block, all the pieces had to come together, but they did it. This offense was a force.
Q. What did you do from the end of last night to right now? Did you get any sleep? Did you and Kelly even look at each other and try to realize what just happened?
ED ORGERON: Well, somebody -- we didn't know what we was going to eat. Somebody gave us some Popeye's Fried Chicken, so we took it up in the room, and she ate half of hers and I hate the rest (laughter), and then we went to bed. We got to bed I guess about 2:30, 3:00. Got up this morning at 7:30 and got dressed and got ready to go here. We have a busy day. We're going to Nashville this afternoon. We're going to travel back with the team, and then our team goes to school tomorrow. But it wasn't a night out on the town or nothing like that, it was just a good night, but we did thank the good Lord for all the opportunity he's given us.
Q. Have you done any recruiting since the win, and what's been the reaction from the guys?
ED ORGERON: The guys are phenomenal. Obviously guys are texting us, we're texting them back. We have a recruiting weekend this weekend, a couple of guys are coming. We have a couple guys to sign left. But the guys that are out there have given us a tremendous response. It's going to be a fight. Everybody is after these guys. We plan on finishing this recruiting class strong. We have already a strong recruiting class. I'm so excited about the guys that we do have. So let's see what happens.
Q. When you have a talented team that you know is capable of winning a championship like this, to see them follow through on that ultimate goal to get it done, to not have any lingering doubt whether you could compete at the highest level, just walk us through that level of satisfaction in accomplishing the National Championship.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, along with the opportunity, there's going to be oppositions. How you get, the tougher the opposition is going to be, and we knew last night was going to be a fight. But we felt confident that we were the better team. I told them last Monday that we were the better football team, that we had to play. We didn't panic. We had to make a couple adjustments, so yeah, there's satisfaction that we answered the bell, that we competed at the highest level every time we were asked to compete at the highest level we did. But it's a tribute to our players. They had a cohesive unit attributed to our coaching staff.
Q. Ed, Joe is such a key part of this run, and you've got so many players who have NFL decisions ahead of them. How difficult or will it be difficult to keep this going in the future?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it's going to be difficult to replace these guys. But you know, you're at LSU, you should be able to do it. And obviously the quarterback position is going to be the key position. We have Myles Brennan. We signed two fantastic young quarterbacks on our roster. The development of those guys is going to be key in where we're going. Patrick is sitting to my left here, tremendous young man from Livonia, was a tailback, and turned out to be an outstanding linebacker for us. He has a decision to make. I don't know what it's going to be, but I'm going to try to -- right after this I'm kind of hitting him on the knee right now to stay. But I've got to recruit these guys. But it's part of being at LSU. I tell most of my guys at recruiting most of you are going to be three-and-out, so it's something we have to accept, but this is going to be a tough group to replace.
Q. Ten years ago the movie "The Blind Side" came out and you were in America's homes in that movie. Have you been able to reflect on everything that's kind of happened in those last 10 years and since then?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, I think these next couple days I may have a chance to look at that. There's been a tremendous run. Just keep on fighting. Just keep on getting your hands up no matter what happens. Go back the next day and go to work. Believe and just keep on working, and surround yourself with great people. Ever since that movie happened, I've been very fortunate to be with some great people. I'm talking about great players, great coaches, and this wouldn't be possible in my mind unless you had a great institution like LSU that gives you all the resources that you need, great fan base, great recruiting base, great stadium, great home-field advantage, and then to play the National Championship right here in New Orleans, everything fell into place to have the season we needed to have.
Q. As big as the early wins were say over Texas, tell me about getting that hurdle over Alabama and getting that -- because that was a big storyline this year of just getting the program back with winning against Alabama and then finishing the deal here last night. ED ORGERON: You know, ever since I started the job, we knew we had to beat them. They've had a tremendous run. Some great coaches, some great players. We felt our first year 10-0, 0-0 going in, Jalen beat us with his feet. We gave up two critical plays. We were not happy, but we didn't have the production we needed on offense. Then we go play them over there, we miss a couple of big balls, would have, could have, should have, all that stuff. Then I thought we were getting close. Physicality, I thought we were getting close. And then the next time they played us at home was 29-0, we weren't even close. I thought that the gap had widened. I do believe that the spread offense and the ability to score points helped us beat them, put them in a position to where we could make plays on them. I think it gave our team some confidence that we felt we were the better team this year going into the game, although they were a great team. We thought if we played our game, we could. I don't think you can go in a game with a great opponent and hoping you can. There ain't no hoping there. We thought we could. We knew we could, and we felt like we had the weapons and the coaches to do it this time.
Q. In your opinion what did Nick Saban do to win the first modern championship in '03? What did Les Miles do? And what did you do in your opinion best to win last night?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, embraced LSU. I think that all three common factors is LSU. When you come to LSU, that's the expectations, and I embraced it. I said, they got higher. I know what the people expect. I'm from Louisiana, I expected the same thing when I was a fan. But you surround yourself with a great recruiting base, you surround yourself with all the resources you can. You're playing in the SEC, so if you can get through the SEC and especially the SEC West it gives you a chance to be in the National Championship hunt. If you're in the SEC Championship and you win it, you've got a shot, man. So that's why you come here. You come here to compete. You come here to compete with the best. It's very competitive every day in recruiting. It's competitive every day we turn around. But at LSU, I feel is one of the premier schools in all the country, it gives you the opportunity to do that.
Q. Patrick, are you ready to tell us what you're going to do with your future, and what do you think LSU's chances are of sustaining what you guys did this season?
PATRICK QUEEN: I'm not really sure yet. Got to go home and talk to my parents and Coach O, do everything the right way. But LSU is always going to be capable of doing what we did this year. We've got great players, great coaches. As long as we believe in each other, we'll be able to accomplish anything.
Q. Patrick, could you recount kind of your experiences since last night to now?
PATRICK QUEEN: The game was won, I'm going to remember it forever. There's no better feeling than being a champion. All the hard work from a year ago to now is just a feeling that can't be beat. And then after the game I just went back to my hotel room. I didn't even party. I was still in shock that much.
Q. Coach, a lot of draft boards are putting Joe as the No. 1 pick. What do you think it's going to mean for this program?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, obviously it says a lot about our ability to attract great players anywhere in the country, ability to attract great quarterbacks. That had been the knock on LSU for a little while. The ability that when quarterbacks come here, they will develop. I do believe that we also, including Joe, a difference in his junior year to his senior year, he developed under Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady. I think if you're a quarterback right now, you're looking at LSU, you want to be here because of the system, because of what Joe did, a Heisman Trophy winner, a potential firstround pick, national champion, and then you have great receivers to throw the football to. It does say a lot about our program, but you know what, we couldn't have done it without Joe. He's a special young man. I thank God he came to LSU.
Q. Coach, in 2009 in Omaha we asked Paul Mainieri after he won the championship, what are some of the first things that came to your mind, and one of the things he said was, as he was watching the celebration, how am I going to do this again. Have you had any thoughts like that yet?
ED ORGERON: No. (Laughing). And obviously I understand that we're going to have to get back to work. I'm already planning. The guys are going to go to school tomorrow, when we're going to start football school and when we're going to do it. But I want to spend some time with these juniors. I want to talk to them. I want the right thing for them. I really -- if the NFL is the best thing for them, they know that's what I want for them, and if it's not, I want them to stay. Like Patrick said, I have great relationships with the families. I think that's my next duty. The next duty is to make sure all our boys are going to class tomorrow morning, which is going to be hard because now we're starting the semester all over again and then we have to start in the weight room, we have to start football school and start recruiting. Now it's getting back to the grind. I think once -- we never talked about winning the National Championship this year, and I think that helped our football team. Although we always knew in the back of our minds that's where we wanted to go, that was never mentioned in a meeting. Our goal was always to win the day, do the best we could on a daily basis, but we all felt in the back of our mind, if we do the things we're supposed to do, we'll have a shot to do it.
Q. Patrick, if you would talk about the second half and the pressure you guys got on Trevor Lawrence, and how much did having Michael Divinity back help you guys do that?
PATRICK QUEEN: In the second half we brought out some new plays that Coach had put in, some stuff we used to run back in the past, and we just executed. Everybody did their job, and then having Mike back was a great help because Mike is a great pass rusher and has great experience, so having him back on the field just brought more confidence to our defense.
Q. Patrick, obviously you're going to be at the next level at some point, but how for you does football get better than last night?
PATRICK QUEEN: It's tough to beat the feeling of last night, but I know my best football is ahead of me. I know the player that I'm becoming, each game I'm getting better. Just to be able to take that leap from where I was a year ago to now is just a big blessing. I thank God to be able to be in this position with my coach and my teammates.
Q. If somebody had told you in game 5 of 2017 if you guys lost to Troy it's going to be okay, you're going to have the best season ever in a couple of years, what would you have said?
PATRICK QUEEN: It would have been hard for me to believe coming off that kind of loss. That's actually crazy. But who would have ever thought we'd have been here a year ago. Just the feeling of those guys, we knew what we were capable of coming into this season. We all knew what we were going to do, so we just trusted each other and made it happen.
Q. Patrick, when we visited with you last week, you gave us a score off the record, what you thought the score would be. Would you share that now and why did you believe that score would take place?
PATRICK QUEEN: I guessed the score would be 42- 17. I just had a feeling. I was close. Off by a little bit, but it was all good.
ED ORGERON: Can I say something? Why you didn't tell me that? (Laughter.)
Q. Coach O and Patrick, you guys talk about embracing LSU from the top down. What does it mean to have the alumni, the OBJs, the Jarvis Landrys, everybody coming back to support you guys, not only you as a coach but also the players?
PATRICK QUEEN: It means a lot, because that's the guys you looked up to as you was younger. I played offense when I was younger, so Odell, Jarvis, those are the guys I looked at, and then transition to linebacker, you got guys that are like Devin and Kevin Minter at the game as well, Tyrann Mathieu, guys you also looked up to just because they were ballers. Just to have those guys come back, it's a feeling that can't be beat because you know the whole state of Louisiana is behind you and also those guys that have played in the purple and gold before you.
ED ORGERON: Those guys are welcome back in our doors. They played in purple and gold. They don't have to make an appointment to come see us. Practice is open. Every time they come to practice we ask them to come talk to our team. Patrick Peterson, Odell every Christmas, every year, has given each team, each teammate, each member, each coaching staff, a big gift of tennis shoes, some of those headsets, whatever they call those things that they listen to, but they love them. And every Christmas they get a gift from Odell. It was great to have them all in the locker room last night and be a part of this football team because they started it, and I want to thank the 2016 team. A lot of those guys were there last night, and they helped us start this thing. They believed in me when I became the interim coach. They gave me the chance to be the head coach at LSU and they started a foundation. I told them, one day we're going to play in the National Championship, and you guys are going to be with us. One of the things that we do at LSU is a little bit different than any other school I've been with. On Tuesday we show highlights of our guys in the NFL and what they do. We just pay tribute to the great job that they're doing. It's great to see Tre'Davious White last night, All-Pro and watch these guys make plays every Tuesday, and it's a way to honor the players, but it's also a way to motivate our guys that that's going to be them, too, and then one day their teammates will be watching them in the LSU room and be proud that we're representing. Once you're a Tiger, you're a Tiger for life.
Q. The few times this year that the teams have really kind of pressed y'all and competed with y'all, your defense kind of fed off your offense and you got all these runs, like last night. You've done that consistently this year. Can you talk about just kind of sensing the momentum from the offense, y'all's offense, and just kind of shutting people out?
PATRICK QUEEN: That's why I think you have to have a good team, so the offense and defense can feed off each other. I feel like when we play, we feed off each other. Every play is a big play, Joe throwing a ball to Ja'Marr, Clyde making a big run. Our defense feeds off of that. When we make a sack, our offense feeds off of that. To be a great team, you have to have those guys to be able to feed off of each other.
Q. Patrick, if you could, a lot of conversation heading into this year about Trevor and Tua, and there's not too many guys that have faced both of them, and you did. I was wondering if you could comment on both quarterbacks and scout them out for me. Which one is better?
PATRICK QUEEN: I really can't say which one is better. Both of them are great players. It's hard to say that we beat them, but we did, and that's just a testament to them, that they have great coaches and great players. Tua is going to be a great quarterback in the league, and then Trevor this year, he's going to ball out. I just want to give those guys credit for the great players that they are.
Q. Ed, since January of 2012, there's kind of been that lingering aftertaste. Do you think that what happened last night has finally put that to rest for good?
ED ORGERON: Sure, no question. No question. The past is the past. We're very grateful. I'm very grateful for this year. Every day I've been at LSU has been a great day. I haven't had a bad day yet. It's been really good. I'm home. Our journey took us all over Miami, Syracuse, USC, other places. But we always wanted to be here. When you're totally content, like going home to your living room to watch Sunday afternoon football, man. I'm totally content at LSU, and my family is, and we're so appreciative of being here, and we just love it.
Q. Coach O, people learned this week of your relationship with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He did the hype video that everyone loved this week. Have you heard from him?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he sent me a voice message. I have it recorded. You know, he says, Coach, this is Dwayne "The Rock", but affectionally known to you as Dewey. That was his nickname, Dewey. Dwayne was a great young man, mild mannered young man, outstanding, recruited by Bob Cormellous. Bob and I coached him, and he went on to have a lot of success. He's kept a level head. He's a great young man, he's a great family man. He's very supportive of what we're doing here. He's followed us. He wished us good luck. And then for him to make Derek Ponamsky, who does all our hype videos, I think he does a hell of a job. He got in touch with "The Rock's" agent, and he said as soon as we requested it, "The Rock" called back and said yes, I'll do it, and he said he would come talk to the team obviously if time allows it. All these ex players, just like Patrick said, we create bonds for the rest of our life. We're family.
Q. I know this came up last night, but I just wanted to circle back and clarify it. Did Joe come out of that game I know a little banged up, but did he come out of that game with an injury? Is he okay?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think he's fine. I think he's fine. He got hit a little bit. I think he's a little sore today, and usually there's some -- Monday he's sore -- I don't know what today is. He's tough, man. He'll put a little ice and stim on it and he'll be ready to go. But there was no significant injury or nothing, just regular shots. He took some shots last night, which we knew he was going to take some shots, but he's fine.
Q. You grew up in the time of Bear Bryant, you coached at Miami in their heyday, coached at USC with Pete Carroll. Does your team have an argument as the greatest team in the college football history?
ED ORGERON: I think so. I think so. I really do. To play the teams that we played this year and to beat them and with the margin of error that was in most of the games, to have the type of football players that we have on our football team, the coaching staff that I do, you never can go back in time, it's a different era, but I've never been around a prolific offense like this. I remember being in the offense at USC and at Miami and saying we could have those type of offenses. We shattered all those records. It's a different age, it's a different offense. Those were great coaches, no doubt about that. Those are legendary coaches, and I learned from Jimmy Johnson, who texted me this morning, and watched Bear Bryant, obviously, we all did, and Pete Carroll. So those guys are legendary. But as far as our football team, I think they can play with anybody anywhere.
Q. What was Mama Orgeron's review of the game? And since last night have you thought about your dad?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, mom was there last night, and she was all dressed up in the purple and gold and all fired up. I think she had about 16 interviews (laughing) scheduled, so she was rocking and rolling, obviously. Yeah. We do talk about my father all the time. I know he'd have been proud. We talked about him last night as a family. We kind of made some jokes a little bit because he was a funny man. He was a leader. We knew he was there in spirit. We know he was watching us.
Q. Patrick, I'm looking at video right now of Odell Beckham handing out cash to players last night on Twitter. Did you get any of that, and just a reaction from you? There was a lot of partying going on.
PATRICK QUEEN: No, sir, I did not see any of that. Sorry, but I didn't.
ED ORGERON: First I'm hearing about it.
Da Boot Sports!
Terrill J. Weil
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
It was the Tigers vs. the Tigers. But in the end, it was the Bayou Bengals from LSU who turned up the heat and dominated Clemson, 42-25 to bring home the national championship trophy in front of 76,885 (most of whom were wearing purple & gold), in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday night. It was the first time in the five year history of the CFP, that the #1 seeded team would be crowned national champions. The victory by LSU, also ended Clemson's 29 game winning streak, which was the longest active streak in college football.
The Tigers won the toss and elected to defer. Clemson took the opening kickoff and drove to the LSU 25 yard line. To end the drive, the LSU defense would make a huge play, sacking Trevor Lawrence on 3rd & 8 for a 10 yard loss. Dabo Swinney chose to take a delay of game penalty and punt, instead of trying a long field goal. Clemson would down the punt at the LSU seven yard line. The Tigers looked sluggish and struggled to move the ball. They would quickly go three and out and would need to punt out of their own end zone. Both teams would trade punts again, before Clemson would mount their first scoring drive of the game. Trevor Lawrence came out firing away, as he would first hit Galloway on a 42 yard pass. Then two plays later found Tee Higgins for 19 yards down to the LSU 12 yard line. The drive covered 67 yards in five plays, as Trevor Lawrence would score on a 1 yard sweep. B.T. Potter added the PAT, putting Clemson up 7-0, with 6:34 to go in the first quarter. After each team traded punts again, It was LSU's turn to flex their muscles and put points up. Starting at their own 30 yard line, the Tigers struck quickly. On the fourth play of the drive, Joe Burrow would hit Ja'Marr Chase streaking down the near sideline for a 50 yard touchdown pass. Cade York pushed through the extra point, tying the game at 7-7.
Clemson would start their next drive and take it into the second quarter. They would go 40 yards in nine plays, eating up 3:37, as B.T. Potter would drill a 52 yard field goal to give the Tigers the lead back at 10-7. LSU moved the sticks a couple of times, but Clemson stopped the drive, forcing a punt. LSU punter, Zack Von Rosenberg, would place a nice punt, downed at the Clemson four yard line. However, the Tigers wasted little time, moving the ball on the LSU defense quickly down field. Clemson would go 96 yards in only four plays, scoring a touchdown on a 36 yard reverse sweep by Tee Higgins, extending their lead to 17-7 with 10:36 to go in the first half. In a game that so far was everything that everyone hoped it would be, LSU responded with a quick scoring drive of their own. It took the Tigers five plays to go 75 yards, highlighted by a 56 yard completion from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase down to the Clemson three yard line. Two plays later, Burrow would scamper into the end zone for the score on a quarterback draw, pulling LSU within three, 17-14. Clemson would need to punt it back to LSU with 7:22 to go in the half. The Tigers would put together a nice drive, going 87 yards in six plays, ending with Joe Burrow hitting Ja'Marr Chase in stride in the back corner of the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown. 21-17, LSU Tigers, with 5:19 left on the clock. The LSU defense, still playing well, held Clemson to a short five play drive, getting the ball back to the red hot LSU offense. Clemson would down their punt at the LSU five yard line. From there, Joe Burrow showed why he won the Heisman Trophy as he made play after key play, driving LSU 95 yards in 11 plays, taking 3:28 off the clock. On first and goal at the Clemson six yard line, Burrow found Thad Moss in the end zone for the score. The touchdown pass was Heisman Jeaux's third of the game. York converted the PAT, putting the Tigers up 28-17, with only ten seconds left on the clock. Lawrence would take a knee, ending the first half. Joe Burrow would end the half, 16/28, 270 yards passing, three touchdown passes. He would also lead LSU in rushing, picking up 67 yards on eight carries with a scoring run. Ja'Marr Chase finished the first half with 162 yard on six catches. The defense picked it up in the second quarter, confusing Lawrence and the Clemson offense. LSU would take the momentum into the locker room and will receive the ball to start the second half.
LSU would go three and out to start the third quarter. Clemson would start their first drive of the half at mid-field. Trevor Lawrence would drive his Tigers 50 yards in six plays, with Travis Etienne taking it in for the score from three yards out. Swinney would choose to go for two, and his team would convert, as Lawrence would hit Amari Rogers for the two points. With 10:49 to go in the quarter, Clemson closed the gap to 28-25. LSU would go three and out, punting the ball right back to the revived Clemson offense. LSU would extend their lead after forcing Clemson to punt, as Burrow Would drive the Tiger offense 68 yards in six plays, completing a four yard touchdown pass to Thaddius Moss. 35-25, LSU, with 5:13 to go in the third quarter. The LSU defense would stand strong against Lawrence and the Clemson offense again, stopping them after four plays, forcing them to punt it away again, back to Burrow. The Tigers drove 41 yards in four plays before the drive stalled at the Clemson 27. Cade York attepmted a 45 yard field goal, but missed. Clemson took over, but went three and out, giving it back to LSU as the 3rd quarter came to a close, with the score standing at 35-25.
LSU started the final quarter with another scoring drive that drove several more nails into the Clemson Tigers' coffin. The drive covered 57 yards, took eight plays, 3:42 off the clock, as Joe Burrow threw his 5th touchdown pass of the game, hitting Terrace Marshall Jr. from 24 yards out. Marshall was well covered, but made an outstanding grab for the score. The score gave LSU a commanding 42-25 lead. From this point on, the LSU defense was swarming and dominate. Clemson never threatened again as the defense in purple and gold shut them completely down. LSU would only have two more possessions in the game. One was an eight play drive that ate 5:24 off the clock. Then the last, was the final possession of the game, as the offense gave the Clemson defense a nice dose of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who grinded for tough yardage while running out the game clock. As Joe Burrow took two final kneels in victory formation to end the game, the purple and gold confetti began to fly, and the celebration began.
Heisman Jeaux would finish the game 31/49, 463 yards passing, five touchdown passes, adding 84 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 115 yards rushing on 16 carries. Ja'Marr Chase finished with 221 yards with nine grabs, and two touchdown catches. Justin Jefferson quietly had a good night catching nine balls for 106 yards. Thad Moss had 36 yards receiving and two touchdown in the game. The defense held Clemson in check late in both halves, as they continued to play like they have a huge chip on their shoulders, after being criticized all season long as LSU's weak link.
The 2019 LSU Fighting Tigers finish the season 15-0, SEC Champions, and National Champions. As Coach O would say.... "GEAUX TIGERS!!"
LINKS TO PHOTOS::
1 - Link to David Chivatero Pictures:
2 - Link to Jonathan Mailhes Pictures:
3 - Link to my photos from the press box:
COPY AND PASTE LINKS TO YOUR BROWSER
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
CFP National Championship
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
LSU - 42, Clemson - 25.
ED ORGERON: Well, I want to thank our great fans for being here. We left the hotel today, what a phenomenal group we had. They gave us energy all night and they've been with us all year. Give the credit to our players. Those guys fought. We started working last year January 17th. They've worked their tails off with Tommy Moffitt. They did the right things, character, grit, determination. They had their player only practices this summer. I didn't even know about them, led by these guys on the side. We've got to give the credit to our coaching staff, Jack Marucci, Tommy Moffitt, all the trainers, and just a tremendous night for the LSU Tigers, tremendous night for the purple and gold, tremendous night for the state of Louisiana. We are so proud to represent them.
Q. Joe, the cigar, celebrating tonight. I guess could you take us back to the beginning of this game, kind of figuring it out as you guys make the adjustments throughout? Were you injured during the course of the game, and how did you respond?
JOE BURROW: I was fine. I was just fine. They had a great plan coming in. We knew they would. Brent Venables is the best in the country at what he does, and he was mixing up the looks. I honestly couldn't figure out where they were blitzing from all night. We had great play calls, great coaching staff. This was a long time coming. I'm kind of speechless right now. This was fun.
Q. Was it a point early in the game where you recognized they were underplaying Ja'Marr Chase and you were just going to keep going as long as they were giving you a one-on-one with him, you were just going to keep going there? JOE BURROW: Yeah, the first couple series I didn't think there was any way they were just going to play man with Ja'Marr, so I wasn't really looking his way and then I got back to the sideline after the second drive and I was like they really are playing man-to-man with Ja'Marr, so we started going to him heavy and he plays so well, and that's just the kind of guy he is. He's worked so hard for that, all of our guys.
Q. Joe, I know you said you're speechless, but for you to -- for what's been made of your journey and for you to deliver on this stage, whether it was people in Louisiana, Ohio State fans or even the people in Athens, Ohio, what's it mean to you to deliver this performance while all those people were cheering you on?
JOE BURROW: Feels good. I don't know what else to say. I mean, there's been so many people that have come into this, from people that have helped me along my journey from Ohio, Louisiana, everywhere. We couldn't have done it with a better group of guys, not just football players but great, great men that I just feel blessed to be a part of this.
Q. Joe, that first pass to Moss that was called back felt like it took some juice out of the offense, and then to finally get it back, what really kick-started that offense after that first penalty?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, we felt like if we had got that one we would have been rolling on that first drive and we would have kept rolling. It did kind of take the wind out of our sails for a second, and the defense stepped up all game until we started to get rolling. You know, we feel like you can't hold us down forever. I think we're too explosive. Our coaches are too good, our players are too good, our O-line is too good. They had a great plan coming in, like I said. Coach Venables is great at what he does, it just took us a while to get it figured out.
Q. Joe, a Heisman and then a national title in just a few short weeks. Tell me what kind of emotions are you feeling now?
JOE BURROW: Some pretty good emotions. I mean, this is special. This doesn't happen -- this doesn't come around every year. This is a special group of guys that really came together and it's as close of a group as I've ever been around. I'm just so happy I was able to do it with Coach O, Patrick and the rest of the guys in that locker room.
Q. Joe, you talked so much throughout this incredible season that you weren't reflecting yet but you were going to do it when it was over. Is it starting to set in what you've accomplished?
JOE BURROW: Not yet. We're still celebrating. Give us a couple of days. We've got tonight, we've got the rest of this week. We're going to enjoy this one. A lot of work was put into this that nobody ever saw, Saturdays, Sundays, seven days a week for 12 months. This is special.
Q. Joe, 10-point game, Terrace Marshall catches that touchdown pass, saying it was meant to be at this point. Did that championship feel meant to be?
JOE BURROW: Terrace, it took him a while to get going, but he made the championship play. I couldn't be happier for that guy. He's worked harder than anybody on this team, and he's worked on his craft for a long time. Five-star coming in, had some bumps in the road, and for him to make that play, I'm so happy for him and his family.
Q. Joe, you will be a hero in this state for decades. Can you grasp that?
JOE BURROW: You know, I think what we did tonight can't be taken away from us. I don't know about the whole hero thing, but I know this National Championship will be remembered for a long time in Louisiana. To do it in New Orleans is even more special. This is going to be remembered for a long time.
Q. Patrick, at the end of the latter part of the first half and the latter part of the second half, the defense really kind of buckled down. Can you kind of talk about what you did to get rolling? And also, if you can describe I guess at the point in the last couple years where you felt like maybe it was Joe's team to a degree.
PATRICK QUEEN: You know, at the end of the first half, Coach O sat us down, calmed us down. We was really anxious being out there, so we just all gathered together and played team defense. We always knew this was Joe's team from the day he came in. He was competing in the sprints. So for Joe to be that kind of person to come out on day one and give us the best that he can, we already knew this was his team.
Q. Ed, what did you think coming into the game about the potential of what a victory would mean? And how do you feel personally now?
ED ORGERON: You know, I talked to the team about the focus all week was just beat Clemson, not think of the magnitude, or hey, we're going to win the National Championship, all that, what was going to happen. Our guys just followed it, and our focus has been one game at a time, one day at a time, and our guys did a tremendous job. Now I think that this team is going to be mentioned as one of the greatest teams in college football history, 15-0, one of the greatest teams in LSU history, led by some of the greatest players; give them all the credit. But you know, that's for you guys to decide. We're national champs. We're 15-0. Whether we're mentioned as one of the greatest teams or not, that doesn't matter to me. I think we're going to get to work, we'll go to class on Wednesday and we'll start working on next year.
Q. You forced Clemson into nine punts. What worked so well and did you think you could have that kind of success?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think the one thing is we stopped Etienne. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of not letting him run the football on us. We knew Trevor was going to make some plays. They made some plays downfield, but I talked to Coach Aranda, had a tremendous plan to give pressure, but we never panicked, and those three-and-outs and those punts were critical to the ballgame. This guy here Patrick Queen had a great game and we had to tackle in space. Had great athletes in space, and this guy made some great tackles tonight.
PATRICK QUEEN: Coach Aranda had a great gameplan since day one when we started studying them and we trusted him and went to work on it, and together, to be able to make those kind of plays, I want to give God the glory for it. I want to thank Coach O for believing in me to be able to play this position.
Q. There's so much talk about what this means for Louisiana, but for your small hometown on the bayou, no one really has ever heard of it. What does it mean for that community to bring this for them?
ED ORGERON: I remember growing up there and losing was not an option. It was not an option, man, you had to win, win at basketball, you had to win in the backyard. Cajun people took a lot of pride in who they were. LSU was obviously big, watching Rodney and them play, so it's going to mean a lot to them. They're very prideful and it means a lot to everybody in the state of Louisiana, everybody that bled the purple and gold. I think it's a tremendous night for everybody.
Q. 3rd and 10 late in the first half, you called timeout or there was two timeouts taken, Joe takes that draw down to the 6-yard line. What went into that play call, and what did that show about Joe's toughness to make that play?
ED ORGERON: Well, we didn't want to have a penalty and go back to the 3rd and 15, and with the clock about to run out, we didn't feel like we had the right play called and Steve said, Coach, I need a time-out so all I did was call timeout. And obvious Steve made the play, made the call. Joe was going to take the ball in his hands. Some of those plays were passes called that Joe ran. Some of those plays were runs that Joe passed. Just give great players an opportunity to make plays, and he did it.
Q. Yesterday Joe got to meet Drew Brees. Winning this in the Superdome, talk about any of the added significance there. Do you think that is more impactful?
ED ORGERON: I think it's magical, I really do. I think when we saw the National Championship would be in the Superdome at the beginning of the year we set our target on that, although we did not talk about it. We felt once we come in the Superdome we'd come out victorious because of the home-field advantage. It was great to have Drew yesterday at practice. I spent one year with him. He and Joe are a lot alike in a lot of ways as far as their work ethic, as far as their leadership on the football team. I remember watching Drew Brees, his 7-on-7, he ran it and it was the best 7- on-7 I ever saw and there wasn't another coach out there. So Joe and he are a lot alike. I think Drew Brees and his wife are great representations of the state of Louisiana. We're proud of them.
Q. Coach O, ultimately what are you going to remember this season about? Going through the west, going through Texas, going through Oklahoma, now just this experience, what are you most going to remember this season for?
ED ORGERON: I just think the character and the grit of this football team. Jack Marucci and Tommy Moffitt keeping us together, keeping us in shape. I felt like we could have played for another month. We were not tired. This team was ready to go. They were enthusiastic. One team, one heartbeat, the character and the leadership, obviously led by Joe. We wouldn't be here without Joe Burrow. We know that. The hiring of Joe Brady and the way him and Steve made it work together. The improvement of our defense throughout this game. I think the defense took it upon themselves and I think when -- we didn't talk about it, but when we changed from first to second or something like that because of the defense, I think that was an advantage for us. Our guys took a chip on their shoulder, said hey, wait a minute, it ain't going to be on us, so all those things combined -- but this team was competitive. But got to give Clemson some credit. They're a good football team. Venables had a good plan. Great game.
Q. Your career has had ups and downs, a lot of doubters, a lot of people never thought you'd be a National Championship coach. I'm wondering two things. One, at any point during that, did you ever doubt that you could coach at this level and lead a team to this level? And what does your story say maybe to all the people out there whose careers don't just rocketship to the top and go similar to you?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, I remember getting the job at USC and I thought that I was ready to be a head coach. I thought that I had learned from my mistakes at Ole Miss. At that point in time I wasn't. I remember sitting on the sofa at my house, I had a year to reflect. I remember watching SEC games, going I know I can compete with these guys given the right place. I mean, you've got to be at a place like LSU and have great coaches and great players to win it. I don't think I could have been somewhere else and had the success that we had so fast. So I think it's a combination of being in the right place at the right time. I think it's perseverance, too. Man, people are going to talk and all that, but you can't let it affect you. I use that as internal motivation. People, they tease me the way I talk, tease me the way I look, and it's kind of funny, the things that I was doing at Ole Miss I was ridiculed for, and now I punch myself in the jaw and everybody at LSU likes it, so it just depends where you're at. It's been a great ride. I've got to thank my family. I'm in the right place at the right time with a great coaching staff and have all the resources we need. You come to LSU you just have to do it right, and you're going to win.
Q. 2014 you're at Mandeville High School games as a parent in the stands. Five years later you have delivered the greatest season in LSU history. And I know you have said all year it's not about me, but will you let that sink in just for a minute, that arc from five years ago watching Parker play to today?
ED ORGERON: You know, God had a plan. I've got to say it, and it's not me. And all I did was follow the plan. And without him, I wouldn't be here. Without my family I wouldn't be here. I've said it, I'm thankful for Coach Miles for giving me a chance. He hired me at LSU. It's where I wanted to go. I knew I was going to coach. I didn't think this was going to happen. When I didn't get the job at USC I said, hey, maybe you'll be an assistant the rest of your life. I just loved coaching. But everything fell into place, and we're just getting started. This is not the finish. I want to be here at LSU for a long time and win many a championships at LSU, and this is just the beginning.
Q. Clyde seemed to be the key that got the engine going. How critical has he been not just to your season but tonight?
ED ORGERON: He is the heart of our team. Man, he's tough, and he's 6'4", 270. Clyde is going to take it upon himself. I'm glad he was healthy. Those runs he made at the end of the game were very critical. He's hard to tackle. He's got great balance. He's got a great trunk. I don't know if he's leaving or not but if he does he's going to have a great career, and he's going to go down as one of the greatest Tigers ever.
Q. Coach O, you've talked all season about blocking out the noise, but when you reflect, what was it that made this team so different and inspired you guys to just finish the season strong?
ORGERON: Yeah, you know, I do believe the leadership, the character, the grit. They wanted to win. They believed in our coaching staff. They believed in the work ethic. We started last January 17th. We were working for a year. All those things combined, and obviously I thought we had a great schedule this year, playing Auburn and Florida at home really helped us, having a great coaching staff, getting Joe Brady from the Saints, going to the spread. I think when we didn't score many points with Ensminger we talked about going to the spread and I thought that was critical, and we got the right guy, the right quarterback to run it. We had athletes and the receivers the way they played. A lot of things had to fall into place.
Da Boot Sports!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
I'm sitting here in my press box seat, in the empty, quiet Mercedes Benz Super Dome. It's now four and a half hours before kickoff, and being here in the quiet has me reminiscing about the incredible season we have just witnessed and what's at stake tonight. Our 14-0, #1 ranked LSU Fighting Tigers will take on the Clemson Tigers, 14-0, ranked #3 for the 2019 season National Championship. Here are some facts related to the game.
1 - This is the fifth year of the CFP, and the #1 seed has yet to be crowned champion.
2 - The lower seeded team in all five games has emerged with the trophy.
3 - This is the fourth of the six games that will be played indoors.
4 - Tonight's winner will be just the second team to go 15-0 since Division I was split in 1978. Clemson did it last year.
5 - This is just the fourth meeting between these two schools. LSU leads, 2-1
6 - If LSU scores 16 points, it would become the second team to score 700-plus points in a season. (Most: 723, Florida State in 2013.)
7 - LSU is 27-23-1 all-time in bowl/postseason games, while Clemson is 25-20.
8 - The SEC went 7-2 in bowl games this year, while ACC schools went 4-6.
9 - LSU has won at least 10 games in six seasons this decade (and at least eight in all), and owns the nation's sixth best record at 102-28.
10 - President Donald Trump will attend his second CFP game. (He was in Atlants in 2018)
11 - LSU is first in the nation in scoring offense (48.9 points per game): Clemson is first in scoring defense (11.5 points per game).
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
CFP National Championship
Sunday, January 12, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today's College Football Playoff National Championship head coaches' news conference. We are joined by LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Coach Orgeron, we'll start with opening remarks from you.
ED ORGERON: What a great experience we've had. What a great journey for this football team. I want to congratulate Coach Swinney and his outstanding achievements so far that he's done as a coaching career. I think he's a model of other coaches that have been interim coaches and had success. He's a friend of mine. I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of respect for his football team. I want to thank the playoff system for having us here at the championship game. New Orleans has been great. It'll be a great game.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Swinney?
DABO SWINNEY: Yes, appreciate all y'all being here this morning, and it's been a wonderful experience for our guys, super proud of our team, and just appreciative of all the hard work that's gone in to making this a great experience for our players, and New Orleans has been great. Looking forward to an awesome game tomorrow. Really amazing season that LSU has had. Coach O and the job that he's done, his staff, just incredible. This is the way it should be. Two great, great teams that have worked extremely hard to get to this point, and to be able to have it culminate tomorrow night in front of the whole country and probably a lot of people across the world, to watch a great college football game, it's just an awesome thing, a blessing to be a part of.
Q. Coach Orgeron, your team throughout the year, no matter the quote-unquote, big game, there never seems to be any nerves or nervousness. When you go into a game like this, how are you approaching the psychology -- it's easy to say it's another game but you're in the National Championship.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, we didn't talk about going to play for the National Championship. We talked about we have to prepare to beat Clemson, one game at a time, just like we've done. We have trusted the process. Today is focus Friday. The guys are getting excited. They are getting antsy. I can feel it. I'm getting antsy, too. But I think we have to continue to work up through game time. They are going to make plays. We're going to make plays. We have to work for 60 minutes and focus on winning the game and not worry about all the other stuff, block out all the noise just like we did all year.
Q. Dabo, you've been asked a lot about the last decade of Clemson football. If there was one word you could use to describe it, what would it be and why?
DABO SWINNEY: The last decade? Transformative. Is that a word? We've transformed Clemson, and the next decade is the Roaring '20s, so I'm excited about -- I heard those were great. Hopefully we can relive those.
Q. Dabo, possibly winning 30 straight games, that's only happened six times since the '50s, three out of four championships only happened three times, I think, back-to-back National Championships undefeated hasn't happened since Nebraska in the '90s. Do you give any of this information to your team to sort of say, hey, listen, you have a chance to not just be champions but to be all-time great champions?
DABO SWINNEY: Well, I mean, this is 2020. I don't have to give them anything. They just get woken up in the middle of the night with breaking alerts. I mean, the information is overloaded into their world today. So I don't have to give them anything. They see it. They hear it. It's a constant -- they know. Certainly we reinforce from time to time what their opportunity is, but it's not like we're giving them anything they don't know. They know. They're very well aware of what they've been able to achieve. And listen, regardless of what happens in the game tomorrow night, it's really been a historic run. To win two out of the last three National Championships is amazing. I'm just super proud of all of our teams that have worked so hard to just be the best they can be, and that's really our goal. That's it. Sometimes you get beat, and our goal is to be the best we can be every single year. Winning a National Championship is a byproduct of that commitment. So just thankful for all of our teams, and they're well aware of all the opportunity and all that stuff, but that's really not the focus. I think when you focus on that, you're focusing on the magnitude of the moment and you lose the joy of the moment. That's all we try to focus on is just being great where our feet are and just have some fun doing what we do to get ready.
Q. To both of you, similar question. Coach O, you've had a lot of reaction to your accent over the years. I know some of the players have impersonations and things like that. How important is the accent to you and what it represents? And Coach Swinney, I know you present a certain way publicly. Your players say you're the exact same guy to them. How important is that authenticity to you?
ED ORGERON: You know, being Cajun, I'm very proud of being Cajun. My grandparents didn't speak English, and my mother and father spoke Cajun French at the table and then when they wanted to talk about me they spoke Cajun French, so I learned Cajun French. So I'm excited to be at LSU at home where we're proud of our Cajun heritage. We're proud to be from Louisiana. I'm just feel at home here. People that made fun of my accent before, I thank them. That gave me internal motivation to do better, so I thank them to be motivators of my career.
DABO SWINNEY: Well, I mean, it's ironic, I obviously grew up in Alabama and sometimes you meet people along the way and they'd say, where do you get a name like Dabo, so sometimes I just didn't want to tell, so I'd say, well, I'm Cajun, D-A-B-E-A-U-X, Dabeaux, and I just go about my business. I kind of feel at home here, too. Anyway, I just think that you've just got to be who you are. Somebody asked me a question yesterday, they said, and they were talking about Coach O and myself, about I guess how we handle ourselves or something, and I just -- I don't know how to do -- I don't know how to be somebody else. All I know how to do is be myself, and if that's not good enough, it's not good enough. So I'm not really trying to be someone else. I just think you have to just be genuine and be transparent. If you just speak the truth, you don't have to remember what you say, and speak from the heart, and sometimes people don't like that, but at least you know it's the truth to you, so that's all that matters. And I think, again, just being genuine in everything that you do, and man, that's what I love about Coach O, and have for a long time, not just since he's been at LSU. He's one of the most genuine, passionate people that you see in this business, and it resonates with his players. That's why he's been so successful.
Q. I want to ask you two questions. First, what's the status of Nyles Pinckney, and then second, I also want to ask you about Brad yesterday; what were you doing? Were you watching the game, and what did you say to Coach Brownell after their game yesterday?
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, Nyles, we're hopeful, but if he plays, he'll be limited. He's still battling an ankle. And then -- but Brad, I actually got to see the overtime part. So I didn't see anything up until that, so it was -- I saw the best part, and it was awesome. It was amazing. That's been a -- that's an amazing streak. And then I was with Dan Radakovich shortly after that, so it was pretty cool. But really just happy for Brad and his whole team. I texted Aamir Simms right away and texted back and forth with him last night. Just super proud of those guys, to be able to accomplish something that nobody has done, you talk about 59 years, man, that's -- you'd think sooner or later somewhere along the way you'd win one. But it was pretty amazing. A long time coming, obviously, over 90 years, I guess, so a special moment for Coach B and his team and for Clemson.
Q. Coach, I understand that you had to move practice to the Hilton ballroom yesterday because of the weather, while LSU was in the palatial Saints indoor facility. How did that affect your preparation and will you have a walk-through today?
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, we might have had the best practice we had all year. We had the same opportunity to go to the palatial Saints facility. It's just crazy how people put these narratives out there right away. We had the same exact opportunity to go there, but we were going to have to change our schedule and just didn't want to do that, and obviously the weather was nasty, so it was great. I mean, it's massive, and this was -- it was a Thursday practice for us, and our Thursday practices are kind of jog-through anyway, and this was practice nine, day 10 in a row that we've been together, so it was even lighter than that, it was a lot of fun, it was great energy. I mean, listen, both these teams are ready to play. You can only practice so much. It was a great practice. It was a great day. Thankful that we had a really good facility, and again, we could have done the exact same thing. I just chose not to change our schedule up and stay on course, and it's great.
Q. We've marveled a lot about Joe's preparation and his thoroughness in that preparation. Have you ever been around a college player who really doesn't want to partake in any of the college scene? And has that rubbed off on the guys that have been around him?
ED ORGERON: I've never been around a player like Joe, and obviously he's very talented and he's a leader, but day in and day out, he's the same guy. Very focused, focused on the task at hand. It's about execution and winning and being great. Last game he threw, what, eight touchdowns, and he wasn't satisfied. I mean, that's him. And you go out to practice, and I'll ask him, how's it going? I'll go to pass rush and I'll come to 7-on-7, how's it going, Joe? And rarely does he tell me everything is fine. The guy is a perfectionist. It does rub off on our football team. He's an outstanding leader.
Q. A lot of these kids obviously on your team wanted to play in the Superdome in high school but even Grant Delpit talked about how he moved away after Katrina. Do you find the players are taking this game more personally because of the city it's in?
ED ORGERON: I do believe that. There's a lot of things you can look at this game for motivation, and the only motivation we've used is to finish strong and focus on winning the game. But those external motivations are there. These guys have always wanted to play in the Dome. Grant is from New Orleans. His family was displaced from Katrina. All his family will be there. It will mean more to our guys that we're playing here in New Orleans for the championship, no question.
Q. Ed, two questions. Would you update us on where Damien Lewis is at for you guys, and last night at the Eddie Robinson, your mentor mentioned him. What kind of moment did you have in the things he might have said to you?
ED ORGERON: Well, Damien is ready to play. Jack Marucci and Tommy Moffitt, those guys, Shelby, everybody down there, they do a tremendous job. I've never been around a training staff that gets guys back so fast. Last night I accepted an award on behalf of our staff that's very prestigious. I want to thank the Eddie Robinson family. I think it was really held in a first-class manner. What an honor to meet all these people, to meet his family. Brian Kenny was a mentor of mine in Los Angeles, California, I think for two years straight I called him at 6:00 every morning and he answered the phone every morning. He helped me out in my personal life. So I wanted him to be here yesterday for that event, and he's a lifelong friend.
Q. How do you define a dynasty in college football, and what's the earliest one that you guys remember?
DABO SWINNEY: A dynasty? I guess a team that wins a lot. That's the only thing I can think of. The first one? Shoot. Dynasty? For me personally, I think about Coach Bryant. I can't help but think about Coach Bryant. I grew up growing up in Alabama, and what he did in the '60s and the '70s, winning numerous National Championships, and there's some debate, probably could have won some more. Back in those days I guess you just kind of voted on them. I think some of those years you even voted on them before the bowl games. Anyway, certainly Alabama, and then what Coach Saban has done, and I guess the definition is just doing something over and over and over with an unbelievable consistency. You think about John Wooden. I know that's not football, but didn't he win 10 championships in a row? I think about the Bulls. I don't know about all the football dynasties. I don't think there's been many. It's just so hard to win consistently for a long period of time. Bobby Bowden at Florida State, I think they had 14 10- plus win seasons in a row. I think Oklahoma probably had a run there. They were pretty unstoppable. That's kind of what pops into my head.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, those are things for you guys to write about. My mind can't even think about that right now. I have been a football fan, but I'm going to focus Friday. That's all I know.
Q. Coach O, one could argue and say that your offense hasn't faced a team as dominant as Clemson presents. What part in the past success has made you guys ready for this exact moment of tomorrow?
ED ORGERON: Well, first of all, Brent Venables, I have a lot of respect for him. You watch their tape, they're in the right place at the right time. He knows how to attack protections. They use that No. 11 in great spots. We've got to know where he's at all the time. But you know the team that we played, we played some really good defenses, and our guys have done a good job. Obviously with our offense, we have seen new defenses that we haven't practiced against sometimes. Sometimes we've seen the same defense. I think this game is going to come down to adjustments made during the game. Obviously Clemson has had a lot of time to practice, we've had a lot of time to practice. Sometimes people put in something new, sometimes they don't. They may run the same stuff. We've watched every play they've run, they've watched every play we run, so we are going to be prepared. But I think when it comes down to coaches making the proper calls, I think what we have an advantage of with this year more than any other team I've been with, that Joe can execute those plays, and we put playmakers in space and let them play.
Q. Dabo, this is the last drive for Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott as co-OCs. What have they meant to you up until now?
DABO SWINNEY: Oh, they're great. I've been at Clemson 17 years, so they've been with me really the whole way. Tony played for me, was a GA for me -- not a GA but a captain for me. Jeff, when I came to Clemson, it was his senior year. He had just finished, and then so I kind of tutored and mentored him his first few years as he was getting into the business, and then he became a GA, and then when he was a GA when I was named interim, and so I promoted him right away, and that was just really based on my experience that I had had with him working with me in camps, all the -- when I was an assistant I ran the camps and clinics and coaching -- whatever went on within the program from a logistics standpoint, and I would use all the GAs and stuff, and Jeff was just always an above-andbeyond guy, and always knew if I ever got a job that he would be one of the first guys I hired. Just kind of worked out. So those guys have been with me from day one, and not just them, Brad Scott. Brad was the offensive coordinator when I came to Clemson. I'm not at Clemson if it wasn't for Brad. Obviously Tommy brought me in to interview me, but Brad had to sign off as the OC, and I've been with Brad for 17 years every step of the way. So those guys have been great, but Tony and Jeff, it's been fun to watch them grow and develop, and then back in 2014 when we had an opening, I was able to just promote the two of them. They both deserved it, and so that's why I made them co-OCs, and they've done an amazing job, obviously, since that time. I'm excited for Tony to be able to take it over just himself, and it will be awesome for him. And also a little bit more responsibility for Streeter, and then obviously Jeff getting this great opportunity at South Florida. Really happy for him.
Q. Coach Swinney, when you played LSU in the Chick-Fil-a Bowl back in 2012, Brent Venables your defensive coordinator joked that a trick play for LSU was a play-action pass. Can you talk about how much LSU has changed offensively since then?
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, well, if I remember correctly, they threw two passes on that last series, so they came out of the gate, 1st down, completed it, and then they had back-to-back play actions, incomplete on one and we batted one down. That gave us a chance to -- because I was able to save time-outs and that gave us a chance to get the ball back and go win the game. Ironic that you bring that up. But listen, what I remember about that team is that's as talented a team, especially defensively, that I've ever been around. I mean, I've never -- I think the entire two deep and maybe even into the three deep went to the NFL. We were very fortunate to win that game. I mean, we just made just enough plays. Our best player got hurt in the second game. But what they're doing offensively now is obviously way, way, way different. But they were a physical football team, and they still are, but yet now they're distributing the ball to so many different guys. I mean, everybody touches the ball, and it's made them fun. It's made them exciting. You can see they play with great confidence and energy, and then this quarterback is special.
Q. Coach O, I've heard Clemson's answers about the long delay until you play. I was just curious, I hadn't heard your thoughts. Is this the right amount of time for this game? Do you feel the preparation was needed?
ED ORGERON: You know, for us, we needed the rest. We gave our guys ample rest. We practiced four days, we gave them three days off, and then we went through a regular game week of planning. So I think it's been good. It seems like right now everybody is getting a little antsy to play. Those things, sometimes you've got to adjust to whatever they tell you to do, so we don't blink. They tell us it's 16 days, it's 16, they tell us it's seven, it's seven. We just go.
**THIS IS MY QUESTION, THAT I ASKED COACH O...** "Terrill Weil with Da Boot Sports!"
Q. Coach O, can you touch on the importance of Michael Divinity's return to the defense? And also Myles Brennan's status for the ballgame?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, Mike is going to help us, especially in pass rush situations. Now, there's some times, a certain situation he could be on the field on 1st down. It all depends what personnel grouping we get, but Mike is a very good player, a very good pass rusher. He brings energy to the football team. I want to give Mike credit for sticking with it. He had to take a couple of games off. He had the opportunity, he could have left to get ready for the NFL. He didn't. He practiced with the team every day. He did the thing he was supposed to, and now he's playing in the championship game. Myles Brennan is fine, ready to go.
Q. Kristian Fulton rarely gets talked about this season, a lot of focus on Derek Stingley. Is that in some ways a compliment to the way Kristian has played this season?
ED ORGERON: Yes, I do believe. They watch film, they look at tape, they have great receivers, man, those receivers are going to be a challenge. Obviously we feel Derek is a phenomenal player, so is Kristian. Kristian is a great story. Kristian is a great story. His family is right here from New Orleans. He competed, he was suspended, could not play. They fought the suspension, he came to practice every day. The suspension was let go, and he could play, and what a great story. Now he's playing right there from Rummel High School right here in New Orleans. So great story with Kristian. Outstanding player.
Q. Ed, could you reflect on Michael Divinity's decision to come back, specifically knowing that he may never play another game for LSU unless you made it this far? And I would also welcome Coach Swinney's comments on a player's decision to do something like that.
ED ORGERON: Well, first of all, for players playing throughout the year, regardless, it's your team, you play for your football team, one team, one heartbeat, that's my opinion, and my opinion only. I know the special circumstances to opt out to go to the NFL, and again, that's their personal decision. But me personally, I think I'm a team man; you stay with your team. Michael did that. Michael had a chance to go out early last year. He wanted to come back. He wanted to finish his career at LSU. He had a bump in the road. He paid his penalty, and he came back. So it tells you a lot about his character, tells you a lot about his grit and who he is.
DABO SWINNEY: I didn't hear the question. What did you say again?
Q. On student-athletes bypassing bowl season.
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, ditto. I mean, I grew up in college football. I've been in college football since 1988, and I know there's a different world and everybody makes their own decisions. That doesn't mean somebody is right or wrong. But I agree. I think that me personally, I think it's team; you finish.
Q. Coach O, I don't remember when you started the block-out-the-noise mantra, but you've had some personal hurdles and obstacles to overcome in your life. I've heard you reference your faith and Kelly's faith getting you through those. Did the block-out-the-noise mantra even leak into your personal life?
ED ORGERON: No, I think at the beginning of my career I had to block out the negative noise. There was a lot of negative noise. I couldn't let it affect me, and there was no way I would. And I know the team would listen to stuff like that, but it was about blocking out the noise. And then early in my career at LSU we faced some adversity, some strong adversity, and it was time to block out the noise. We can see through the adversity it made us stronger. I do believe the loss to Troy was a turning point in our program. It helped us realize what we had to get done, what we had to do as a coaching staff, as players. We could never let our hands down. We always have our hands up and ready to prepare for every game. I think that -- so now the noise is good. Look, they're going to be on that Twitter machine. I know they will. You can't stop them, know what I'm saying? But we don't talk about individual awards. We don't talk about anything except the task at hand, and we keep everything team, and I think that helps us out.
Q. Coach O, I wonder over the last few weeks or few months if you have reflected on when you were at Mandeville High School and your sabbatical, watching your son practice, and then all of a sudden you're here right now, kind of what that's --
ED ORGERON: Well, now that you mention it, I haven't. I really have been focused in on the game plan and the monumental task we have tomorrow night and giving everything to the football team. But you know what, it was a good time. I didn't get the job at USC. I realize now it was for a reason. It was to come home. I got to spend a whole year. I had never seen my kids play. I went to every practice, every game. Cooked a lot of food in the backyard. Had a blast. And then was very fortunate that Coach Miles hired me. I wanted to come back to Louisiana. I wanted to be at LSU, and Coach Miles hired me, and for that I'm forever grateful.
Da Boot Sports!
CFP National Championship
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Q. Talk about the matchup.
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think that's how it's supposed to be in the national championship game, the two best. That's what we've wanted all year, is to play the best. We've played a lot of really good teams. Clemson is obviously the best. They've made it this far. I think we're going to be ready for them. I think they're a really good team, have a lot of speed, have a good plan. But I think it's going to be a big challenge for us. I think we'll be ready.
Q. (Question regarding the NFL Draft.)
JOE BURROW: I think quarterback position is the most important position in all of sport. I think myself and Trevor are the two best in the game right now. I think that's a big reason why both teams are here. He is a really good player, really smooth. Still young, which is crazy. He's light-years ahead of where I was when I was his age. I'm excited to compete against him.
Q. Do you see some similarities in both your games?
JOE BURROW: I think that's the difference maker for both of us, when teams have everything covered, we can still make plays with our legs.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Honestly, just having an off-season with my guys. I got here last June, and most grad transfers come in December and have a spring ball and fall camp. I just had a fall camp in a couple months. So having January through August with my guys and everyone coming back from last year, I think the scheme that we have is great, but I think with the guys that we have and the connection that we have, we would have made it work anyway.
Q. (Question about expectations.)
JOE BURROW: We're 14-0. That's exactly where we expected to be. I just try to do anything I can to win games, whether it's throw for 500 yards or throw for 150 yards. Doesn't matter to me, as long as we win.
Q. (Question regarding the Heisman.)
JOE BURROW: Not really. I wanted to be here, talking to you guys, when everyone else is at home getting ready to watch us.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: So last year our tight end was attached to the core all the time. We had two tight ends sometimes, a fullback, and that just brings more guys into the box, makes it difficult to decipher where the blitzes are coming from. Now we can be at empty, three by one, detached. It makes the defense really declare themselves for me. I think that's been a big difference maker for us as far as getting blitzes picked up.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think there's a similarity as far as, no, it hasn't been done for a while. The last time here was going to the national championship 2011, last win was 2007, back at Athens it had never been done before. That's kind of a similarity. I kind of said before the season, when you're around championship football teams, something just kind of feels different. Going back to high school, that's the last time I kind of felt that. We felt it this off-season.
Q. Was there one big game that was the turning point?
JOE BURROW: I think everyone wants to point to one moment as a turning point. I don't think there was. We felt all off-season that we had worked hard to be a championship football team. I knew that we could be, as long as we practiced with intensity and focused on getting better every day. So I don't think there is one turning point. I think there's been a lot of cumulative actions that have gone into this going from last year to January to February. It all kind of piled up.
Q. Do you need to have a huge game, like you did against Oklahoma, to win Monday?
JOE BURROW: I think I always just try to play whatever the game calls for. You kind of figure that out the first quarter. I mean, I have to go out, throw the ball, throw for a lot of yards, get us down there. Maybe our run game is going. Maybe our defense is stopping them, and it's going to be a grind-it-out kind of game. You just have to feel it out, do whatever the game calls for to win.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I throw a lot of, for lack of a better word, 50/50 balls up and just let them go make a play, try to put them in a position that only they can go and get it. I have five guys that make those plays for me. That's a huge luxury for a quarterback, knowing if nothing else is open, I can just throw it up to those guys and they're going to make the play for me.
Q. (Question about the next-man-up mentality.)
JOE BURROW: I was so happy for Chris because for most of the season he's been fourth on the depth chart. He's just gone to work every single day. He's been the scout team running back. Ran his ass off all year for us. I was so happy for him because he's worked so hard for that. Didn't complain a single second. Went to scout team, ran hard. Came to the sideline, didn't say a word. Then when Clyde went down a couple weeks ago, he really started to click in practice. I think he deserves that start. He went out and showed it. I was so happy for Chris.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: He's the best I've seen at that age. When he first got here, I was throwing his way a lot, see if he was going to live up to the hype. I could tell early he wasn't a normal true freshman. He's been great for us. He's going to be a really good player for a long time.
Q. (Question about Trevor and hair.)
JOE BURROW: Before I cut my hair, I would have to go with me. His is flowing right now. I like his.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Oh, yeah, all the time. When he gets fired up, if he's trying to tell me something, I got to calm him down for a second so I can understand him. He gets fired up sometimes. He's tough to understand.
Q. Your dad gave a shout out to his former coach at Ole Miss, 1974. If you have the opportunity, are you going to give a shout out to your coach?
JOE BURROW: No, I don't think so. I don't think so.
Q. They're approaching it like it's a road game, Clemson. Are you treating it like a home game, or does it make a difference?
JOE BURROW: I hope it's a home game for us. I hope our fans come out, fill that stadium up, make it just like Death Valley. I don't really know what to expect, though. They try to split the tickets, try to, 50/50. I'm excited to see how much purple and gold we have in the stadium.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: That's the pedigree of a championship program. They find a way to win. They didn't play their best game, but they came out on top in the end. That's what elite programs do. That's what elite people do. That's what elite players do. We're going to have to play our best game to beat them.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Their coach does a really good job mixing up the looks. They'll bring the same blitz, play different coverage behind it. I'm going to have to be on my game, reading the safeties, reading the coverages, seeing blitzes knowing what covers they usually like to play behind it postsnap to make sure that it is what I thought it was. That's going to be key for us.
Q. How would you describe what's at stake in this game?
JOE BURROW: I mean, it's all on the line. This is the national championship. This is what we thought we would do at the beginning of the year. This is what we expected. We just got to finish it off.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I mean, yeah. I think we would win the national championship, we'd be on top. Someone would have to knock us off.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: No, I don't think so. I'm just trying to treat it -- just trying to prepare like every other game. We got mature guys that prepare very well. We've done very well so far just doing what we do, preparing, going through every week like it's just another game. That's what I'm trying to do, stay in my routine, stay with what I normally do.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: We have five guys that are going to play in the NFL in routes every single play. They got to account for everybody. You can't take Jamar and Justin away. We have Clyde, Thad, and Terrace. You really got to pick your poison, try to mix up the looks on us, because otherwise we're going to take you apart.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Even more if he didn't get hurt. He missed three games. He's a really good player for us. He's come a long way from last year. That usually happens your freshman and sophomore year, you just work really hard to be there.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, it's going to be a fun chess match for me. I know they're going to have something different, some looks that I haven't seen before. He's just really good at what he does. That's why he's picked so much, and that's why they've won a lot of games. It's why they're the No. 1 defense in the country. He's so good at what he does, showing you one way, blitzing the other. We know they're going to have something new for us. I'm going to have to read my keys, trust my eyes and understand what they're trying to do after the first quarter.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: No, you call some people around the country that have spent time with them, played them in the past, see what they tried to do in those games. It's the national championship, and he has two weeks to prepare. We know something new is going to be there, whether it's a blitz, a coverage, a front. Something new is going to be there. We just got to figure it out.
Q. Did you kind of fit into your coach's style, personality, early? Did he kind of adapt to you? JOE BURROW: I think we just kind of are one and the same from two different places. We have the same mentality: go run through someone's face. He's coached that way and played that way for a long time. That's how I've always tried to play the game. This has kind of been a great match for us. That's the mentality this football team tries to bring to the field every day.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I spent a little time with him. It was fun hanging out with him for a couple days.
Q. What are your impressions of him? Did you talk at all about football?
JOE BURROW: No, you don't really talk about that. You talk a little bit about football, but you try to just get to know the guy. He's a great guy, great player. It was fun hanging out with him for a couple days. He's a quiet guy, humble guy. That was nice to see. I respect guys that keep their nose down and just work hard.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, they've been at practice for a couple days. They're pretty advanced. T.J. has a really strong arm, quick release. You can tell Max is really, really smart for his age. His dad was Brad Johnson, the great quarterback in the NFL. You can tell he's been here for a week, getting on the board, drawing up plays. I think that will be a fun battle to watch in a couple years.
Q. What do you most admire about Trevor as a football player? Does he possess any skill set that you wish you had?
JOE BURROW: I wish I was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier (laughter). I mean, the best thing he does is just win, 25-0, something like that, as a starter. That's just something that not a lot of people can do, no matter what conference you play in, who you're playing. He hasn't lost yet. That's the number one thing.
Q. (Question regarding the passing game.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, we went into the season wanting to go more five-man protection. Something that I do best is get blitzes picked up. We wanted to go five-man protection, let me get the blitzes picked up, get the back out so you have five guys out. So when they blitz, they have one less guy in coverage. Loss of one-onones if I can get the blitzes picked up. That's been key for us this year, getting those five guys out.
Q. (Question regarding Heisman speech.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I just had two or three bullet points walking up there, knowing who I wanted to talk about. Tried to mention everyone that I could that had helped me get there. There were so many other people that I couldn't mention because you can't be up there for an hour and a half. There are so many people that helped me get there that I didn't even mention. They know how much they mean to me. I just tried to mention as many people as I could and make it feel like it wasn't just me that won the Heisman Trophy, it was everyone that helped me.
Q. (Question about mentioning Athens County by name at Heisman speech.)
JOE BURROW: I just wanted to mention where I came from. That was part of my journey that helped me get to standing on that stage. A big issue in southeast Ohio is poverty and hunger. I didn't mention it to have this big fundraiser to help a lot of people. I just mentioned it because it was what was in my heart at the time. That's what I was thinking.
Q. (Question about the impact on Athens.)
JOE BURROW: That makes me so happy because I know going through school, you see a lot of people that couldn't get a lunch because they didn't have enough money. I think that made me so happy because it's going to help a lot of people for a long time, help those kids that I grew up with that didn't have enough food or didn't have enough clothing. So that makes me so happy knowing that.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Monday. It's pretty easy. We knew what we wanted. No matter which game we won, we expected to be 14-0. We expected to be here. Monday was the one we wanted from back in January.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: No, I think their coaching is some of the best in the country. They do a lot of different things. You can tell they have really smart football players because not a lot of teams could show all the looks that they show. So I'm going to have to really read my keys and trust my eyes and be disciplined with my eyes to understand what they're trying to do. They'll bring blitzes and play four, five different coverages on the back end. Coach Venables does a great job. I think it's going to be a fun chess match on Monday.
Q. (Question about Coach Orgeron.)
JOE BURROW: He's been just like he has been all year. That's how we're trying to treat this, just like every other game, prepare just like every other game, go through our routine just like every other game as much as we can. It's been working so far. He understands that he's got to keep focused, keep doing what you do that got you to this point. We all understand that.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Have you talked to Coach O yet?
JOE BURROW: It's very convincing, isn't it? I had one conversation with Coach O on the phone, I was sold just about immediately. I just wanted to come down and confirm it. He's a great coach and a great leader. I was sold on the football part, but I was more sold on his vision of the program, his vision of me as a football player, where we could go.
Q. You're not still a student.
JOE BURROW: Finally (laughter).
Q. A lot of your teammates are (indiscernible).
JOE BURROW: Hopefully everyone comes down and gets as many tickets as we can, we can sell out that stadium in purple and gold. I think it's going to be really cool to have all the students here if they can get here. It's going to be a great atmosphere.
Q. What does Isaiah Simmons do best?
JOE BURROW: I think what he does best is when they just let him roam the field in the middle and read my eyes, just get all the different throws through the middle of the field. I think he's really, really good at that. He's really fast, super explosive, good tackler. He's super tough to defend when he's running that middle of the field.
Q. Your countermove in this chess match is Isaiah watching your eyes?
JOE BURROW: I'm going to have to look him off. I'm going to have to find him every play. Depending where they put him, they do a lot of different things. So you got to know where he is all the time to know what defense they're trying to do, where they're trying to move him to do different things.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, we went into the season saying if the national title is in New Orleans, we weren't going to let anybody else be there. We had to be there. We weren't going to be at home on the couch watching two teams coming in our state and watching them on TV. That was the motivation for us.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I think I had better hair. I had long hair. No, I didn't have long hair. I cut it already. When we had the mini camp, I had just cut my long hair. When mine was long, it was rivaling Trevor's. We would have had a real good battle. That was a good look for me. I almost went mullet for the year, but I decided against it (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: That's just preparation. That's understanding what you're trying to do on offense, understanding what they're trying to do on defense. Film study, knowing what they like to do behind certain blitzes, knowing what they like to do on third-and-three to six, third-and-seven to ten, third-and-one to three, all those different situations. Every defensive coordinator has different tendencies on different down and distances. You got to understand what they're going to do on those situations. If you go into the game preparing like that, you can narrow down all these different things that they do to one, two or three things. You can get your eyes on those keys to understand what they're doing. Just that preparation and knowing and understanding the offense allows me to make those decisions.
Q. You'll always be an honorary Cajun in this state.
JOE BURROW: I hope so (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Absolutely. I think I'm an honorary Louisianan for life. I couldn't be happier about it.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: As a quarterback, whether you like it or not, you're going to be a leader of the team. If your team isn't tough, you're not going to win a lot of games. So as a quarterback, you got to exude that toughness not only throughout the game but throughout practice, throughout the off-season, weight training, throughout sprints. You got to win every sprint. Otherwise you're just not going to win a lot of games if your quarterback is not the toughest player on the team.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I mean, he's what makes the offense go because teams really have to decide if they're going to cover Clyde with their Mike linebacker, if they're going to a safety. He can run through the tackle. He can run outside. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. I know where Clyde is going to be 100% of the time. If everything is covered downfield, I just have a feeling I know where Clyde is going to be, in the flat right over the ball, left flat, behind the line of scrimmage. If I get in trouble, I just dump it down to Clyde, he'll make two or three guys miss, get three or four, keep us on schedule.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I mean, I think you guys know I'm pretty focused, intense guy when it comes to practicing the game. They kind of keep me lighthearted sometimes and keep it fun on the field when things can get a little intense.
Q. How much has been the scheme? How much has been your comfort in an extra year? JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think the biggest factor was we just had so many people coming back. I got here last June, and most grad transfers come in in January, are able to get spring ball and a fall camp. I came in with true freshmen. Didn't have a lot of time. Wasn't named starter until two weeks before the game. Wasn't able to work with the guys like I really wanted to. Then we had a full off-season together, and we really started clicking. I understood where they were going to be, when they were going to be there. They understood when the ball was going to be there, as well.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think it didn't play a big part. At the same time, I think with the guys that we have, the connection we have, we would have worked with any scheme. I think it's been a big part of what we're doing. At the same time, like I said, we would have made it work.
Q. (Question about Thad.)
JOE BURROW: I think what Thad does is rare. He's super smart and understands the timing and spacing of zone coverage, understanding where he is on progressions. That's something that you don't see a lot in college football players. We have five guys that really understand what we're trying to do, understand coverages and zones and progressions. So they can tempo their routes to get where they need to be on time, whether they're slow off the run because they're the fourth progression, whether they're fast off the run because of first progression. They understand that. I think Thad not only understands that, routes and coverages, but understands what they're trying to do in run blocking schemes, put his face in another man's face and move him where he doesn't want to go. That's what makes Thad really special.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, you've always had to be smart as a quarterback because you want to be really, really good. But I think you can't get away with not being smart anymore, if that makes any sense. You used to have some quarterbacks that could get away without being smart, with arm strength, their legs. But now with all these different coverages people are playing, you have to be able to understand coverages and protections and blitzes.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Probably helped me a little bit. It's hard to say because you don't have anything to compare it to, because that's all I know. I would probably say it helped me a little.
Q. Help you out with the X's and O's?
JOE BURROW: I did not. He's helped me out a little bit.
Q. Heard you're a good basketball player. If you compare your basketball skills to a player in the NBA, anybody, who are you comparing yourself to?
JOE BURROW: Klay Thompson. Q. Could you expand on that? JOE BURROW: I think he scored 44 points on like four dribbles. I can spot up (laughter). Mentality, Delly; shooter, Klay Thompson. Mix them together.
Q. What about Brian Scalabrine?
JOE BURROW: No. Not Brian Scalabrine. The Red Rocket (laughter).
Q. You've shown appreciation with the Heisman and things. When you look back at the season as a whole, do you feel like you're making college football history right now?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, you know, I haven't really reflected on it a lot. I really want to win this game. But that might be a question for me after the game.
Q. How much has the extra time allowed you to get a little extra film study?
JOE BURROW: By extra time, you mean these two weeks?
JOE BURROW: After the first week, I treated the first week like a game week. This week was kind of like icing on the cake. Towards the end of this week I got a little tired watching film. I watched it all. You can only watch so much before you're just ready to play the game. So it did help. You got to be careful overloading information, too, in these two weeks. I'm a super focused guy that likes to look at every single look. I try to go into the game understanding the things they like to do most and just buzz the things that they've done one or two or three times throughout the year. I've had to kind of stop myself sometimes and not watch everything the same amount that I do, the stuff they do the most. It's going to help us, for sure. But they're going to have something new for us. We're going to understand that.
Q. What is your relationship with Trevor Lawrence like?
JOE BURROW: We've met one time at the Manning camp. Haven't really stayed in touch. Seems like someone I would like to get to know, seems like a good dude that works hard and is a winner.
Q. Is there a matchup that something you feel like you can exploit against their defense?
JOE BURROW: It's hard to say because they do so many different things, play so many different coverages and blitz so much. I think we're just going to have to go in understanding they like to do a lot of things, try to find zones that they vacate. When they disguise and bring it from another way, there's still zones out there, you just have to understand what they're doing, understand the coverage behind it. That's going to be the biggest thing, is exploiting when they do blitz and finding those zones.
Q. Is there any part of you that thinks you're going to have to keep your emotions in check, playing at home, keeping yourself balanced, almost not getting too hyped leading up to the game?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, you do. You do have to do that. Before every game I kind of close my eyes for the 15 minutes before we go out and just kind of take a nap a little bit just to calm myself down before I go out. I think about executing certain plays, visualizing defenses that we could see.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I don't know. I don't know. I felt weird doing it. Didn't really want anybody touching me like that, I guess. I don't know.
Q. You're the captain of the ship. How anxious are you to finish this?
JOE BURROW: This has been the motivation since we started in January, from the moment we walked off the Fiesta Bowl field last year. This is what we wanted, which is why we haven't celebrated a lot of wins, because this is the one we wanted. This is what we've been working for.
Q. Are you surprised how mature the group of 18- to 22-year-old guys have been this year? JOE BURROW: I wouldn't say "surprised" is the right word. We have a lot of people coming back from last year. We had a young team last year that won a lot of games but should have won more. We understood that. That was the focus going into the year. I knew we had mature guys, talented guys, that could get to this point.
Q. How much do you admire Trevor Lawrence?
JOE BURROW: 25-0, that's the biggest thing. He's a winner. He's a ballplayer. Seems to love playing football, finds ways to win.
Q. Steve Ensminger says Brent Venables is the best defensive coordinator. What do they to that confuses people?
JOE BURROW: They do everything. There's not a lot of team that can get smart enough guys to play every coverage in the book, have every blitz in the playbook. They do it. You can tell how well coached they are because while they do all these things, they're not unsound in what they do. It's going to be a challenge for us to see what they're doing, trying to exploit it.
Q. When you're out there on the first play, how are you going to say I'm in the national championship?
JOE BURROW: I don't think it will be that hard. I'm going to prepare like I have every other game, trust my preparation, just treat it like a football game. Still just ball, that's what I've said. That's what I said when I won the Heisman, is just ball. I'm ready to go out there and play it.
Q. Next to you on campus, I think the next most popular person is the guy who puts together your hype reel. It's insane. Do you have to lobby for the FaceTime?
JOE BURROW: I don't have to lobby for the FaceTime. I have plenty. I have to lobby for the O-line and their FaceTime. They need some more.
Q. What do you think about the numbers they're putting up? These things are getting millions of views, hundreds of thousands of shares.
JOE BURROW: They're the best at what they do in the country. You can see it every week when they make their hype film. It blows up every single week on Twitter. They're the best at what they do.
Q. Do most guys take a nap before the game?
JOE BURROW: I mean, it's kind of a nap. I wouldn't say I'm fully conscious. Yeah, I put the towel around my neck, close my eyes. Whatever happens happens. If I fall asleep, then I fall asleep. But, yeah, I do that before every game.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I understood it was a poor area. But I was young. You're driving through, you see these low-income homes that you haven't really seen before. I was moving around a lot growing up. Lived in uppermiddle-class neighborhoods. Then you come to Athens, see all these low-income houses. You understand at a young age, but you don't really understand the magnitude of it until you get older.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Yeah, she wasn't a teacher when I was really young. She became a teacher when I was about fifth, sixth grade. She did kind of bring a different perspective for me, for sure.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I mean, our high school was on a hill. You look down, the trailer parks, the low-income homes that just don't look that upscale. You can see it every day when you walk up to the high school.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: So he's with the Saints. One of my best friends, J.T. Barrett, was with the Saints at the time. And Coach Joe was kind of J.T.'s guy because he was the assistant quarterback coach, I think was his title. J.T. was practice squad. They were kind of going through the script together every day. J.T. called me when he got the job. He said, You guys are going to be best friends. From that moment on, I knew we were going to have a good connection and understand what each other was thinking on every play.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: I think he deserves a lot of credit, Coach E deserves a lot of credit. All my guys deserve a lot of credit. Nobody could do anything that we're doing without each other. This has kind of been a special season for us. This doesn't come around every year, where you have five guys with the connection that I have with them and the connection with the offensive staff. We hold each other accountable. We're also great friends, not only just players. I feel like I'm friends with Coach E, Coach Joe and Coach O, too. It's kind of an NFL approach to it.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: Hard work. That's where it starts, trusting your preparation, trusting your work ethic, understanding that you could quit or you could just keep working the way that you've been working, trust that it's going to work out eventually.
Q. Pregame, what is the routine going to be like? Do you do anything specific?
JOE BURROW: Listen to Kid Cudi, yeah.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: You don't want to speak too much on someone else's situation. He felt like it was the best decision for him. I think it's a good one that he made. He's a special player that I'll look forward to competing against at the next level, just like we did for two years in college.
Q. (Question about the 28-0 streak.)
JOE BURROW: It's never fun when you get shut out. You do think about it every once in a while. I don't think it was like a defining moment for the team. I think, especially this year, we just went into every single game saying we're going to dominate the opponent in front of us. Going into Tuscaloosa was exactly the same as playing Northwestern State at home. That's the way we thought about it. I think it really helped us.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOE BURROW: No, you don't really think about it like that. I feel like I'm going up against the defensive coordinator and the defense. You don't really think about the quarterback that's on the other side of the ball. You understand, when you're going against good offenses, you're going to have to score a little bit more. I think about it more as going against the defense.
Q. Venables, probably the most veteran defensive coordinator with 16 days to figure it out. Do you expect to see things you haven't seen all year long?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I mean, they're going to have something new for us because he's so good at what he does. We're going to have to manage it the best way that we can. He's going to get us every once in a while because he's so good. We just have to get him more than he gets us.
Da Boot Sports!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
2019 has been a dream season for the LSU football team and all their fans. Ed Orgeron and this group of young men have capture the hearts of the Tiger faithful. Throughout the season, this LSU team has broken and set several records. Below is a list of some of the records, as well as some interesting facts about the team's recent accomplishments. Enjoy...
**LSU is now 1-0 in College Football Playoff games since the CFP's birth in 2014. With the Peach Bowl win, LSU earned a spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship for the first time since the birth of the CFP in 2014.
**LSU is 14-0 for the first time in school history.
**LSU has won 15 consecutive games dating back to last season. It's the second longest active winning streak in the nation behind Clemson's 29 in a row.
**The 2019 Peach Bowl marks LSU's 51st Bowl Appearance. The Tigers are 27-23-1 all-time in bowl games. **LSU continues its success in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, improving to 6-1 at the game.
**The Tigers are 6-0 this season in games against Top-10 teams
**LSU's six wins against top-ten opponents is the most in school history.
**In their 41st overall appearance in a domed stadium, LSU has a record of 32-8 all-time.
**In games played as the #1 team in either poll, (AP or Coaches, or both), LSU is 30-4.
**National Coach of the Year, Ed Orgeron, improved to 39-9 as LSU's head coach.
**Under Coach O, LSU has won 30 games by double-figures.
**When LSU has scored at least 20 points under Orgeron , the Tigers are 37-2.
**LSU has only trailed four times all season long.
**The Tigers have gone 25 consecutive quarters without trailing in a game. The last time was in the 3rd quarter against Auburn on Oct. 26.
**LSU hasn't trailed in the 4th quarter all season long.
**LSU has extended its record for points in a season to 684, with a ball game to go.
**LSU's 63 points in the Peach Bowl set College Football Playoff and New Year's Six Games records.
**LSU has scored 40+ points a school record 11 times this season.
**The Tigers have scored in 53 of 56 quarters this season.
**Joe Burrow now has 71 career touchdown passes, breaking Tommy Hodson's career record of 69. Hodson played for LSU from 1986-89.
**Burrow's 493 yards in the Peach Bowl set a record in the College Football Playoff.
**Burrow is the first player in FBS history to be responsible for 8 touchdowns in a bowl game.
**Burrow's seven touchdown passes in the Peach Bowl ties an SEC record, most recently set by Drew Lock of Missouri in 2017.
**Burrow has become the first quarterback from the SEC to pass for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in the same season.
**Burrow now has 5,208 yards on the season and 55 touchdowns, both SEC records.
**Burrow is just the 17th player in NCAA history to pass for 5,000 yards in a season.
**Burrow continues the pace for the NCAA record for completion percentage, improving to 371-478 on the season. A staggering 77.6%
**Joe Burrow has won, First Team All-SEC, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Unanimous All-American, Davey O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, AP College Football Player of the Year, Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Heisman Trophy....
**Kicker Cade York has accounted for 146 points this season. Only former kicker Colt David has accounted for more in a single season with 147 in 2007. York should easily own this record by the end of Monday night. On the season York has made 83 of 87 extra points, and 21 of 26 field goals.
**Thaddeus Moss now holds the LSU record for receptions by a tight end in a season, (42), and for receiving yards in a season for a tight end, (534). Moss also set the record for the longest reception by a tight end (since 1958) in the second quarter of the Peach Bowl when he had a 62 yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow.
**Justin Jefferson has 14 catches for 227 yards and four touchdowns in the Peach Bowl.
**Jefferson's four touchdown catches are the most in the Peach Bowl, New Year's Six and in a CFP Semi-Finals game.
** Jefferson's four touchdown catches ties the record for all bowl games.
**Jefferson has 18 touchdown receptions this year. This now ties him with Ja'Marr Chase for the team lead this year and the LSU all-time record for touchdowns in a season. Both Jefferson and Chase are tied for the SEC touchdown receptions record with Florida's Reidel Anthony who had 18 in 1996.
**Jefferson's 227 yards receiving set a Peach Bowl, New Year's Six, and College Football Playoff records and are the sixth most in LSU history.
**Jefferson's 14 receptions in the Peach Bowl are tied for the second most in LSU history. Josh Reed had 19 in 2001 against Alabama. Wendell Davis had 14 vs. Ole Miss in 1986.
**Jefferson has also surpassed 100 catches on the season, (102), becoming only the third receiver in SEC history with 100 catches. (Amari Cooper, had 124 in 2014 and Jordan Matthews had 112 in 2013)
**The Tigers will be looking to win their 4th National Championship this Monday night in the Mercededs Benz Super Dome.
1958 - LSU 7, Clemson 0
2003 - LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
2007 - LSU 38, Ohio St. 24
2011 - Alabama 21, LSU 0
Looking forward to covering the game on Monday!! Geaux Tigers!!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
CFP National Championship
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Q. When Dabo was here earlier, he said the two teams are almost a mirror image of each other. How do you see that?
ED ORGERON: A very good comparison. Great quarterback, great coaches, great skill players, outstanding technique. Those guys have won 29 games straight. They've built a lot of great things at Clemson. They're doing a great job. They're attracting great recruits and developing them. A lot of similarities.
Q. How special is it just being here?
ED ORGERON: It's very special. It's very special for us to drive down the interstate yesterday with a great motorcade. I know our players were looking forward to that. Ever since we knew the National Championship was going to be in New Orleans it was a goal of ours to earn the right to be here, and now we're here and we've got to do something about it.
Q. Could you have written a better script?
ED ORGERON: No, I couldn't have written -- there's no way. And especially to have the football team that we have, the coaching staff that we have, and have the type of players that we have and the camaraderie we have at this time. I think that there's no way I could have written a better script, no way.
ED ORGERON: I think it's a combination of senior leadership, a combination of being prepared. Our coaches, we're led by Joe, Joe is a very serious guy. We've got some leaders on defense that have really come along, Rashard Lawrence. We talked about this in his living room during recruiting. Those guys were very, very focused on getting here, and you've got to give them the credit.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, he fires our team up. Joe is like a linebacker out there. I think it all started last year, he took some hits against Georgia -- I mean, two seasons ago, but the time that he got hit against UCF and he got back up, and we were down 14-3, I think that kind of sent a message to our football team who he is.
Q. Do you see this more as an SEC representation or is this more about LSU?
ED ORGERON: It's always going to be about LSU, but we have pride in being in the SEC. Obviously I know a lot of people, I've been told -- in the SEC, I think it's the greatest conference in the United States, a lot of great players, and we're honored to be here. To be in the National Championship Game you've got to beat a lot of good teams in the SEC to get here and then go into the SEC Championship and beat another good team. So we feel that we've earned our right to be here. We feel that we're always representing LSU, but it's great to be a member of the SEC.
Q. One of the things that make Trevor Lawrence a dangerous quarterback?
ED ORGERON: Well, his quick release, his reads, the plays that they give him. He can make a decision on the line of scrimmage whether to hand it off, whether to throw it, short, easy throws. And then they're going to take shots at those big receivers. He gets a one-on one, he's going to get the ball down the field, and then it shows you the type of championship quarterback he is that he started extending plays with his feet. I thought he took the Ohio State game in his own hands to win that football game, and you can see his determination and his grit and his courage, just like you see in our quarterback.
Q. How do you keep focus on all of this when you've got an offensive coordinator that's very highly sought after?
ED ORGERON: That's part of it. You want guys coming up, your coaches. It means you're doing something well. I believe in Joe. I believe in Scott -- Scott put the plan into place a long time ago. I do believe that we're almost finalized with the plan. I do believe Joe is going to be a Tiger. But you know, as in coaching in football, anything can happen. But I do believe that the talks that we had with Joe are very, very positive, and he's going to be at LSU.
Q. This year for a lot of guys (indiscernible) they're going to leave early for the NFL. How do you put into perspective what the offense has done, guys like this, that this is their shot?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think it's a combination. I think they have contributed to the offense with their outstanding skill, but I think this offense has put them in position to showcase their talents. So we know that we have juniors that are going to leave, but that's a good thing for us. That's a good thing for us in recruiting. Guys want to come to LSU. They want to get developed, and they want to be high draft picks, and when they get to the NFL, they want to have a lot of success. So I think that shows that we can take a guy like Justin Jefferson as a two-star athlete, he could have been a five-star as far as it mattered to us because we thought he was going to be a phenomenal player, and him develop into the type of young man he is. Got five-star athletes in Ja'Marr Chase, got two-star, three-star, four star. It don't matter how you got here. I think guys are getting put in position to make plays in space and develop.
Q. How would you describe what's at stake for LSU in this game, as a program?
ED ORGERON: Everything. Everything. Everything that we've done up until now is good, but it's not great. We want to be great. To finish the season strong with a win is our goal, and that's going to be a tough task. But we didn't look at it as hey, man, we've got to go down there and win the National Championship, it's going to be bigger than ever. We've got to play well enough to beat Clemson, and that's been our focus. We've done that every week. So we weren't going to change that, not make it bigger than it is. Now, after the game, depending on the results, we get to look at all that stuff.
Q. What makes their defense so special?
ED ORGERON: I do believe it's a combination of their great athletes that they have, but he always has them in position to make plays. The guy is a phenomenal game day caller, especially his blitzes. He knows how to blitz protections, and he can just send one linebacker, but it's at the right place. The way he uses No. 11, he's going to be all over the field. He puts his athletes in premier spots to make plays, and the guys play with great technique. They're hardly out of position.
Q. You and Dabo seem to have the same idea about coaching relationships. We don't necessarily always see that. How important is that to your philosophy?
ED ORGERON: You know, I think every coach obviously when you get to be a head coach at this stage, you have to play to your strengths. And I do believe everybody is different. So some guys are Xs and Os guys, some guys are CEOs, some are top level. It takes all kinds. I always felt that I was a people person. I always wanted to be in the mix. I wanted to be involved but I wanted to be a team player. I was a team captain when I played. I do believe that recruiting is very important in college football. I enjoy recruiting. I enjoy meeting people. So that's the way we run our program. We say one team, one heartbeat. Everybody has a role. Nobody's role is more important than the other. I coach from within, not above, and it's working for us. Everybody feels at this organization that they pull on that same side of the rope, and that's important.
Q. You seem to be very comfortable (indiscernible).
ED ORGERON: I do. I feel at home. I always wanted to go recruit in Louisiana, and I have been at other schools and I was comfortable in their office, too. But there's something about being in Louisiana, wearing the purple and gold and going into a school or a home in the state of Louisiana. I feel like I'm at home. I feel like I can relate to the guys. If they talk some Cajun French, I can talk to him. I probably know them. I know their coach for sure, and there's relationships. What's happened for us in the last couple of years, when we go to a home on a home visit in Louisiana, it's not an official home visit, it's a party. There's 30, 40 people there, there's jambalaya, there's gumbo, food, music and it's just a festivity. That's the great part about being in Louisiana
Q. Most National Championships are special. Is it any more special because one, it's in New Orleans, you're coaching for LSU?
ED ORGERON: I think it all adds up. I really do. And I think those are the things you think about after the game. Those are the things that can get in the way before the game. It's considered an outline of distraction. Block out the noise. It's going to come down to blocking and tackling, playing great for 60 minutes, and after the game, I guess you have a couple days to think about it, then you've got to go recruiting. But it does -- I'm honored to be here. Obviously being from Louisiana, being the coach at LSU and being from Cajun Country means a lot.
Q. Could you talk about what you expect (indiscernible)?
ED ORGERON: Tyler was the No. 1 player in the state of Louisiana when we got him. He was a slim 390 when we got him, but Tyler has worked very hard, and he has. He has a tremendous family. He's one of the first -- I think he's the first home I went into as the head coach at LSU, and there was more gumbo in there than the law allows, I promise you. But it was a great day. Tyler has a good heart. He's a good young man. But he's got down to about 345. Now, after one away trip he was 359. I got on him. He ate too much on that trip, but he's really come along. He's a force. And the thing about Tyler is that he's still learning. He's still developing. But to get a guy that big and that quick is very, very odd. He's one of the most athletic linemen that we've had here in a while.
Q. Dabo told the team that going to play LSU in Louisiana is like going to play Rocky (indiscernible)?
ED ORGERON: I don't know much about that, but I think those motivational tactics are for the other team, and obviously he's done a great job. I couldn't even tell you who those two guys are to be honest with you. But I just know this, that it's going to be an emotional night when we do run out of the tunnel. I believe it's going to be a home-field advantage. But we have to take care of it. We have to use it to our advantage, and as you know, those fans are going to be fired up. And we have a saying: Big plays fuel the emotion. They're going to be looking for some big plays. If they don't get the big plays, they'll have some emotion the other way. We don't want to see that.
Q. When you beat Oklahoma in the semifinal, how do you prevent your team from being overconfident in this game?
ED ORGERON: I think your team knows. They know the opponent. They watch the film. And when you see Clemson the way they made big plays to what we feel was an outstanding Ohio State football team with some great players on that team and to see Etienne running away from them, to see Travis running away from them and making big plays, you can tell your team all you want, but we have big guys on the O-line and they see it on the tape. This is a very, very talented football team.
ED ORGERON: Obviously that was at a different point in time.
Q. Do you ever think back about how that engrained in you and how that has become a mantra of this season?
ED ORGERON: I'm glad it has. You know, after that game that I said it, I felt that we finally matched them with the physicality and that we fell short on a couple of plays. So that's what I meant by that. And obviously they were the best for it, and we had to get the players, get the coaches to be able to beat them to get here today, and we did it. We're still coming. We still ain't backing down, and we've still got a ways to go. We feel like we're just getting started.
Q. Did you feel like playing in so many -- they talk about so many games against top-10 teams, did it have a snowball effect?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think it all played into each other. That 3rd-down-and-17 against Texas was the defining play in my mind in our season. It goes to show you that we have some big-time players, especially at the quarterback position and the receiver position, along with the protection that can make plays in tight quarters, in a tight spot in the game. That was a bigtime play in that game. If they get the ball back, no telling what happens. So I thought that that parlayed into beating Auburn, who I thought was a very good football team, Florida, Alabama, Georgia. Those were some really, really good football teams that we played this year.
Q. Coming back to LSU seemed like it was never going to happen; did you think it would ever reach that point?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, for a while I thought I would stay on the West Coast. It looked like I was going to be at USC for a long time. We really enjoyed it. It was a great place. It was something we really loved, me and my family. But when my boss came back, when we left Ole Miss, we had a chance to go to the Saints or the Cowboys. Obviously I wanted to be with Sean Payton. I thought he was an excellent coach. But really my kids wanted to live in Louisiana, and they wanted to live near their grandpa. The reason we moved back to Louisiana was because our kids loved it. And then when I went back to USC my kids wanted to stay in Louisiana. That told me a lot about where my family wanted to be, and when that happened we started gearing towards coming back to Louisiana. I would have been happy coaching the defensive line, but I just wanted to be back at LSU.
Q. When you think back to when you were a student, did you ever think that that opportunity would be there -- is that something you've regretted --
ED ORGERON: Yeah, there was unfinished business. No question. I regretted it. There was no question. Every time that I passed under that bridge going to Northwestern, although Northwestern was a good place for me, I just felt there was always unfinished business at LSU that I didn't give myself a chance to compete at the highest level like I should have, so I'm a little disappointed in myself. I wanted to get the chance to come back to LSU and prove myself.
Q. When the playoff pairings were getting ready to be announced, there was all this arguing, this team should be 1, this team should be 1. How do you think your team has kind of embodied that?
ED ORGERON: I think any place, any time, anywhere, anybody. We can't control that stuff. All that stuff -- whatever we need to be -- I'm not going to listen to that. All that stuff goes out the window when that ball is kicked off. It's about blocking and tackling and the players and coaches making the right plays. Those are the things we try to concern ourselves with.
Q. What is LSU's social media policy?
ED ORGERON: We say -- with our players?
ED ORGERON: We tell them to be careful, obviously, block out the noise. That's about the extent of it.
Q. You don't care if it's during the season, Instagram or Twitter --
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I'm not going to stop that. We used to have a rule you can't bring a phone into a meeting. If you tell them they can't do something during the season, I think that wouldn't work.
ED ORGERON: I think it means a lot. And you know what, that's why you coach at LSU. That's why you play at LSU, to represent the purple and gold and to represent this great state. We have a great relationship with the governor. We have a great relationship with everybody in the state. And all the high school coaches are so proud. I remember growing up being six years old and watching LSU play and Cholly Mac play and I remember what it did to the community. In the year I was off, I worked out at Franco's down there in Mandeville, and man, look out, when LSU won and when the Saints won, the whole city was on fire, so I know that's the way the state is. So we want to give back. It's a great state. It means a lot.
Q. Do you know what you think you might do if you get a chance to win the game, how you will celebrate?
ED ORGERON: No, no. I'm still thinking about how we're going to practice this afternoon.
Q. So much talk about Joe and the receivers and for good reason. Brent Venables called them the heart and soul.
ED ORGERON: Yeah. I say this all the time. Clyde walks in the room, he's 6'4", 270. That's the kind of persona he has. Listening to what I hear from other coaches, he's the hardest guy to game plan because he's a receiver in the backfield. But he's also a great running back. The things that he's done this season for our football team, not only on and off the field makes him the heartbeat of our offense.
Q. He talked about having a chip on his shoulder. When you talked about the evaluation process, what did you see, and do you see that?
ED ORGERON: Oh, we always liked Clyde. He reminded me of Maurice Jones-Drew. Do you remember him? I had to go against him at UCLA, but Coach Miles had had him committed, we stayed with him, too. We liked him. We fought for him. We always thought that Clyde was going to be a phenomenal player before anybody had told him that after the season, we loved him.
Q. What's it been like having Bill this year?
ED ORGERON: Phenomenal. Bill coached me in college. Bill got me into coaching. There was a situation where Dennis Johnson couldn't coach on the field. I needed him to coach, because I was being the defensive line coach, and he came in there and did a tremendous job for us. He brings so much to our school. He loves being here. He's from north Louisiana. He loves being at LSU. Tremendous coach.
Q. (Indiscernible) how important are they to what you do?
ED ORGERON: Key. Especially in transition. We don't -- we come here, everything is set up for us, rooms are set up for us, equipment is set up for us, practice is set up for us. We feel like wherever we go, we're practicing at home. Those guys are tremendous, and I like it because they give our guys all this nice new gear. I've got to talk to them, I've still got this bag from 1986 here.
ED ORGERON: Everybody deserves a second chance. We learned, we mature, and that's why we need coaches. That's why I feel like I'm a model-like figure to some guys, but I'm also a disciplinarian. We draw a line. If you cross the line, there's got to be consequences. He brought me in, don't cross it again, so guess what, I didn't. I'm very appreciative of that. I'm very appreciative of him drawing the line and making me do the right thing because it taught me that I need to do the right thing.
Q. Do you think the rejection that Joe Burrow's dad and you had at Ole Miss has --
ED ORGERON: Let me say this to you: I'm very appreciative of my time over there. I really am. I am. I learned a lot. I had a great opportunity there. But it didn't work out. But you know what, it helped me be a better coach than I am today. So for that time, I'm appreciative.
Q. Along those same lines, when you were offered a job, at that point in your life were you thinking am I going to get back into this?
ED ORGERON: Yes, it was critical. In fact, the day he called, I was thinking about going and getting another job. It was that close. Henry who was down in the bayou went and talked to Coach Rose, he gave me an opportunity, it was as a volunteer, but I had to prove myself. I stayed with him for a year. He hired me as a linebacker coach during that year, and then the next year I got a chance to go to Syracuse with Paul Pasqualoni, and he was another guy that gave me a shot at Division I football. So for those guys along the way I'm very appreciative but also did a good job for them, too.
Q. What other jobs -- I can't imagine you not coaching football.
ED ORGERON: I hate to think about that. I just never let my mind go that far. I was going to coach football regardless.
Q. What do you see from Trevor Lawrence?
ED ORGERON: Winner, obviously. I've called some high school coaches in Georgia and they talk about his legend over there, and one of the coaches that coached me in college, John Thompson, was one of the few guys to ever beat him, so he's been letting me know that. But anyway, a winner, very quick release, very well-coached, outstanding feet, knows where to go with the ball, can run. I think when you look at the Ohio State game, he took that game into his hands. He was going to win that football game. They're down, what, 14, 16-0? He was going to win that game. You could see it in his eyes.
Q. So much at stake for this team so fast. (Indiscernible).
ED ORGERON: Well, you know, it seemed like we got every award in the country, and we're very appreciative of that, but I was a little worried going into the Oklahoma game. I didn't tell anybody that, but you hear about all that, know what I'm saying? It just goes to the character of this football team. So I think all those things aside, I do believe that our football team is very focused on winning the football game and doing the things that it takes to win the football game, to beat a very good Clemson team. They're not thinking about what size ring they're going to get, what they're going to do, who's going pro, what's happening to this. We are totally focused in on the task at hand, and that's made this football team what they are today. Does that answer your question?
Q. Can you talk about the significance of having this game in New Orleans, the fans, the meals, things like that?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we had gumbo, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese last night. All the family was there. We loved it. I had about four bowls. It was good. You know what? Just to show up at the hotel and to see all the fans there, just to hear them, just to hear them when we walk out here, going down -- when we left Baton Rouge, neighborhoods, there was hundreds of people in front of the neighborhoods, and just seeing the little kids. Understanding the magnitude of this football team and what it means to me and who we represent.
Q. Does it feel like a home game?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it sure does. It sure does.
Q. Some of your players said Joe (indiscernible) does he have any rules?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he missed two plays -- yeah, he wasn't satisfied. He throws eight touchdowns and he said he didn't feel like he played his best game. That's him. I'll give you an example. Joe Burrow at his best. We have a tradition here at LSU that we carry the seniors off the field for the last practice. Joe Burrow told the quarterbacks, if any of you try to carry me off the field, I'm going to whip your... and he walked off the field. So that's Joe Burrow for you.
Q. You being a Louisiana guy and living this dream season, what does it mean to you personally to have this game here?
ED ORGERON: You know, it's always going to be about the team. I don't let that stuff get to me. That would be selfish. That would be something that -- that's part of our team. Now, to see the joy on the kids' face. To see the joy on our team's face when we win, to see the elation of the people of Louisiana, that means the world to me, and I'm more of a giver, and I just like to see all the people happy. And I know how much it means to them, so it puts a little internal motivation in myself to win it for the people of Louisiana. But as far as myself, I'm just happy to be the head coach at LSU every day.
Q. Did you expect to change this much, and was this part of your plan for the offense?
ED ORGERON: I was hoping we could get Sean Payton. I think Sean is a genius, and I really like him. We don't have Sean Payton, but what we have one who is very, very good in Joe Brady. We wanted to study the red zone offense on the feet part, Michael handles very well, and then we asked him, do y'all know anything about the RPOs, and they brought in a young guy named Joe Brady. The guy was phenomenal in his approach. The coaches told me that, they'd also brought the personnel -- into the personnel meeting. So we kept up with Joe, kept up with Joe, did our research. We had some people at the Saints tell us he was an up-and-coming star, and Kevin Rogers, who I worked with at Syracuse, coached with him at a younger age. He's an up-and-coming star. We took him, and they were right.
Q. What was Joe Burrow's reaction when you told him exactly what this --
ED ORGERON: That's what exactly what we need. That was his offense. He loved it. Thank God we had Joe for two years. Most graduate transfers you only have for one year. So the other offense he didn't flourish. In this offense he flourished. So there was development on his part. It was part scheme, part calling. I think it all worked out perfect.
Q. If you win the toss, do you take the ball?
ED ORGERON: You know, today is Thursday, and Saturday it's at 7:00 -- 7:15, central standard time. 3:30 p.m. on Monday or whatever day it is, I'm thinking of Saturday. We will have a coaches' meeting, and I will have made that decision at 3:29.
Q. How is Clyde?
ED ORGERON: He looked good yesterday. I think he's 100 percent healthy. I feel good about it.
Q. How about Dave?
ED ORGERON: Dave is good. He's practiced, a little sore after practice. But as far as handling the workload, he handled everything. He could cut. He's doing everything -- I think he's going to be as close to 100 percent as we can ask him to be.
Q. Do you like the shorter number of days here versus the number of days you had in Atlanta?
ED ORGERON: Love it.
Q. Not as long a week.
ED ORGERON: Love it. And really, the combination there were great, but we felt like we were inside the whole week, which we were. It was good to practice at home. Our guys needed a break from being in the hotel. I think this is a perfect schedule.
ED ORGERON: You don't know until you go through it. But adversity makes you stronger. You may wonder what has happened; it don't feel good. But when you look at, you figure it out, you know what, through that adversity, I grew. I changed I got better here. I got better there. I think the competitive fire that you see in Joe, although he doesn't say it, that has a lot to do with it. I think the competitive fire you see in me, past experiences, internal motivation, it makes you better, it makes you hungry.
ED ORGERON: You know, it was never a doubt that Joe was going to be a really good quarterback for us, but being the Heisman winner never entered our mind. All we wanted to do was win games and have a good quarterback, and he exceeded all our expectations.
ED ORGERON: I think having the second year with us. Most graduate transfers are only there for a year. Changing the offense to spread, having Joe Brady, having the look overs on offense to where we can change the play and have the right play dialed up and giving him great receivers. We changed our protection. We're not the same. We're more spread out. So there's more choices for him. I think all those combination of things.
Q. Did you picture this team as being "this team"?
ED ORGERON: No, I didn't. I didn't believe we could win every game. After what I saw in the spring, I looked at our schedule, and I didn't tell anybody this, but I said, with the teams we played at home, I thought we had to have a great home schedule, which we did. I think Auburn and Florida, our home crowd won that game for us along with our team. And if we could go on the road and beat Alabama, which I thought we could, we'd have a chance at the National Championship.
Q. Dabo said earlier (indiscernible) sustainable model.
ED ORGERON: You know, it all depends on us, what we need, who's available. It's been good for us, Cole Tracy and Joe Burrow have been good for us.
Q. We were talking to Brent Venables earlier and he called Clyde the heart and soul of this offense.
ED ORGERON: Clyde is 6'4", 270, when he walks in the room. That's who he is. He has a big heart. He's hard to tackle. He's explosive out of the backfield catching the ball. He's hard to defend. I think that when Clyde is not in there we're very predictable. When he's in there, you can't overplay the run, you can't overplay the pass. You have to be balanced on defense, and that enables all the other guys to make plays.
Q. Do you have any pregame rituals?
ED ORGERON: I get fired up. I drink a couple Monsters and Red Bulls.
Q. Going into this year, did you have any New Year's resolutions for yourself?
ED ORGERON: Yes, I did. My New Year's resolution is eat less and it won't happen, and it hasn't happened. Guarantee.
Q. You mentioned the transfer portal and the fact that so many graduates come for a single year. How much did those factor into your going after him and thinking this is a guy we can actually develop?
ED ORGERON: Huge. It made the whole difference in our season, it made the whole difference in Joe Burrow. Usually you only have them for one year. We would have took him for one year, there's no question. But after last year he was a good player, but being in the system for two years he's a great player. But to let you know how smart he is, to graduate in Ohio State in three years, that says a lot about that young man. There's a lot of things that go into when you evaluate a transfer, especially a graduate transfer, and they rarely graduate in three years. So we got the whole package with Joe. We got lucky we got him a second year.
Q. What's the hardest food to try to eat less of?
ED ORGERON: Well, here's what happens. You're with the team, who always eats. It's buffet. And then there's rice and gravy. Once I start eating any type of rice and gravy, whether it's étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, spaghetti, it don't matter. I can't discriminate on any of them.
Q. What have you seen out of Travis Lawrence this season?
ED ORGERON: Winner. He took that game in his own hands. Him and Etienne took that game into their hands against Ohio State and said we're going to win this thing. He has a quick release, sets his feet on RPOs and makes great decisions. But he's 6'6", 220. He's an athlete out there. He's tough, tough as all get out.
ED ORGERON: I think he's very similar. Joe is about 6'6", bigger. They do a little bit more running with him. Their tight end stays in most of the time on their protections. We're more of a spread. They're more of an RPO team. But they both throw the deep ball and make great decisions.
ED ORGERON: His heart. The game that he played against Alabama, he just took that game in his hands. Clyde is a great young man. The way he practices, the way he carries himself, his character and his grit, throw all that other stuff out of the way. There's a lot of great backs I've been around. Clyde is one of my all-time favorites.
ED ORGERON: It's about the trunk. It's not about the height. He was already committed to Coach Miles, so I didn't find him. But we kept him and we liked him. He reminded me of Maurice Jones-Drew at UCLA when I was at USC because of the trunk. But those guys are hard to tackle. They're hard to see. Now, Clyde has developed, but the thing that I'm most pleased with is not his running ability, it's his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. I think that's where he's made the most improvement.
ED ORGERON: If there's 6,000, there will be 5,999 I think they're coming, and I'm glad they are. I wish I could've gotten them all tickets, but I can't, but we're going to have a big contingent and I'm very proud of them, and if not, I hope they're going to be watching it on TV.
Q. When you were at USC, you guys won national titles, you had Matt Leinart, Heisman quarterback, great quarterback, and yet if you were to look at his stats compared to Joe Burrow's, they're not even close. How much does that say about how much this sport has changed?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. First of all, thanks for recognizing that, because that was the blueprint. That was the blueprint in my mind. There's no question about it. The things that I learned from Coach Carroll and also the things I learned from Coach Johnson and Coach Erickson at Miami. And I thought we had the most prolific offense in the world, and I always wanted that offense. I never dreamed that we would shatter all those records. But it just goes to show you, like you said, that's from a pro-style offense into a spread. That's the reason -- we have pro-style guys, but you can't score enough points in our opinion in the pro game, in the pro-style offense, so we went to the spread and look what happened.
Q. To win a National Championship, you've got to have a great defense, a great running game (indiscernible)?
ED ORGERON: Well, obviously it helps. I do believe you have to have a great quarterback to win a championship. I think that's the standard. That's the benchmark. The way offenses are going, you have to score a lot of points. But this game may be different, but I think the National Championships that are 13-10 are going to be few and far between.
Q. I know (indiscernible) affected by injury, but how valuable is he?
ED ORGERON: Phenomenal. It started off in the summer. When Terrace came, he had an injury in high school. He got great conditioned in the summer, was having a phenomenal year, and then got banged up a little bit, was brought back. He's a big target, especially in the red zone. Joe really likes him. I think the best thing about all our receivers is all of them have specific skills, and we use them at their best. Joe knows exactly where to go with the football. When the players call, he knows who's the favorite route, favorite play, and Terrace is one of them.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he did. I'm not going to tell you what it is. It just so happened that we were calling the champion high school coaches just to congratulate them on winning a state championship. And I called one of them to say, Coach, you know you're the old coach -- one of the last defensive coordinators to beat Trevor. He gave me some advice and he passed it on to Dave, and we'll see if it works.
ED ORGERON: You give a lineman a cookie, you make him happy. What do you mean, you get cookies on the training table? Hey, I got a question to ask you. Tell me about that new bowling technique that you have.
Q. It's just coming out my hips and letting that ball fly down the alley.
ED ORGERON: How many bounces it got to take before you can get a strike? Q. I'm not a big mathematician, but if I can bounce it between the first hit and the pins, I know I can get something down.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, no question. I give him all the glory. I couldn't have wrote a better script. Couldn't have even tried it. Couldn't have even tried it. I remember when we went to Macaroni Grill, me and Pastor Steve, and he asked me what I wanted to do, and we wrote the plan on a napkin. That was at Macaroni Grill. The plan has come to -- I can say that, even better. I give him all the credit, all the glory, and that's how I try to live my life on a daily basis, just give it to him and see what happens.
Q. What do you see from Trevor Lawrence?
ED ORGERON: Winner, obviously. He took the game in his hands against Ohio State. They're going to make plays with a winner. But his footwork, his releases, his RPOs, his decision making process, but he has that ability to run the football. That was surprising to me to see his feet at 6-6, 220. The other coaches would have him playing defensive end rushing the passer.
Q. Does this bring back memories of (indiscernible)?
ED ORGERON: I do believe watching Ronnie Epstein play, I do believe we shut out Notre Dame 3-0 or something like that. Irish two for LSU in the newspaper the next day, SD had like four goal-line stops, 12 tackles. He was from Le Roche, and it was the talk of the town for 10 years. Or still. And I remember this -- wow, if I could ever be a part of something like that. And then I just loved the way the Tigers played. I just liked those gold helmets going to the ball.
ED ORGERON: First of all, I think he's one of the best college football players ever. He changed the way we do things in the SEC. It's wonderful. He's a pioneer. He has a great family. I remember two years ago we were playing them, and my first recollection of his first pass, it was the quickest release I've seen in 35 years of football. Now, you can practice it until you see something else. A tremendous competitor. Always handles himself with first class. I can't say that I'm sorry that he's not coming back. I'm not going to say that. But he meant a lot for football. I think he's going to be a tremendous pro. I hope he stays healthy and has a great year. For his family to move from Hawai'i to the United States and to have the success that they have, I think it's a great story
ED ORGERON: Oh, it does. The one in 2018 didn't matter much, because we didn't play well. We got beat 29-0. We did not play well. But that game, adversity makes you better, that's the time that me and Ensminger decided we were going to the spread after that. The day after that we said we're going to the spread. So that was a significant game in our history together. Obviously the game this year, you have to beat them. There's no question. You hear it every day. You hear it at the store. You hear it everywhere. And you have to beat them, and they're great. And in order to get great, you have to beat great teams. So that was a significant win in our season.
Q. You said when you were going on your recruiting visits that you were going to have probably 18 to 22 (indiscernible) if you had to estimate how many did you eat?
ED ORGERON: You know, that week I probably had 18 to 22, that might have been an exaggeration, but I had at least 16.
Q. Is your favorite food seafood or chicken sausage?
ED ORGERON: That's hard. I like eggs in my gumbo with seafood. Not a lot of people put eggs in their gumbo. I like (indiscernible) in my gumbo and if I had preference, it would be chicken and sausage, but seafood is a close, close second.
ED ORGERON: Well, you know, I was working at the telephone company the year I left LSU, and he called me and said, hey, man, you want a scholarship to Northwestern State, and I said, hell yeah, where's Northwestern at? I didn't know where it was at. But he sent the coaches down there, me and him were roommates, Bobby was a motivator. Bobby had gotten into the flow of college. He understood the discipline that it took. So I think he helped me get my feet started at Northwestern and kind of showed me the ropes. Me and Bobby has always been good friends. I've always admired Bobby for his competitive attitude. Bobby is one of the toughest guys on our football team, and we believed in him. He affected another way, it was fourth down, I believe it was 27, and we're losing the game to Bonneville, and he makes a touchdown pass and we won a state championship. Those are good memories.
Q. We've heard about summer practices. Who was the driving force behind organizing some of those workouts?
ED ORGERON: Well, first of all, we have two hours in the summer where we can do skill position stuff with our guys, okay. But after that, the players decided to stay out an hour and a half later and to work out on their own, and they did it all summer. And thank you for recognizing that, because I do believe that is how we could have so much success, especially putting in a new offense. Our guys had to dedicate their time. I think that's one of the things that goes unnoticed, unsaid, how many Saturdays they spent working out on their own, player-only practices that was led by Joe Burrow. But it was also stoked by the coaching staff. If you want to get great, that's what great teams do, and those guys in leadership decided to do it.
ED ORGERON: Thank you. Thank you for saying that. Coach Cregg has done a tremendous job with that line. But Lloyd is the one that had them working out, because Lloyd -- I'd hear Lloyd tell them, hey, man, they think we're a question mark. We ain't going to be no question mark, so he was always motivating those guys. I think the leadership that you see in each group, you've got guys like Clyde, like Joe, like Justin, like Thaddeus Moss, like Lloyd, like D-Lew. Players like DLew and he likes Mr. Goodbars, too.
Q. (On Joe leading summer practices). ED ORGERON: Joe is a different cat, now. Joe is driven. Joe is driven. We sang Coach Moffitt happy birthday last night. He wasn't big on singing happy birthday. He wanted to go watch film. Joe is very driven.
Da Boot Sports!
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
LSU linebacker Michael Divinity will return for the National Championship against Clemson on Jan. 13 after missing the team's last six games. Divinity hinted toward his return in a Twitter post Saturday: "I’m Back❗️ See Y’all Back In My City On January 13th!"
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron announced Tuesday morning that linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. has been reinstated and will play against Clemson in the 2020 CFP National Championship Game on Jan. 13. "Obviously, Mike has been a tremendous pass-rusher for us," Orgeron said. "I know we're definitely going to use him. He'll be back in a role, what he's doing, and we'll see what fits best. He's definitely going to play for us, and we'll definitely use him in the best situations we can."
Divinity announced in a social media post that he was leaving the program to handle a "personal matter:" "I am taking some time off to focus on a personal matter and just wanted to say thank you to my coaches, teammates and the entire LSU community for your continued help and support. I am sorry I can't be on the field for you guys. My goal is to get myself back to 100 percent in time to graduate in December and be back on the field fighting with my brothers soon. "This is an incredibly difficult time for me, and it means so much to me that so many people have reached out—knowing you all have my back will make the next short while a lot easier. Thank you all." When Divinity left the team, the week of the Alabama game, he had 23 tackles and led the team with three sacks.
Reports surfaced soon after that the linebacker's departure was not an outside personal matter, but a suspension because of a positive test for marijuana, which of course is a team rules violation. Coach Orgeron would only say that his absence was a coach's decision.
The return of Divinity will no doubt help the LSU pass rush against Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
By: Terrill J. Weil
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