December 26, 2019
Q. Ed, you've had an adventurous career. What does it mean for you to get the Tigers to this spot?
ED ORGERON: This is my job. It's not about me. It's about the team, it's about the state of Louisiana. When you come to LSU, the expectations are high. Obviously, when you have the amount of talent we have on this football team, and the great coaches that we have, these are expectations that you have to meet at LSU. Obviously, proud of our football team. This is not our final destination. We came here for a playoff game. We're looking forward to playing a great Oklahoma team.
Q. Is this what you expected when you took over a few years ago?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, yeah. You know, you're expected to do this at LSU. I didn't know it would happen so fast, in our third year. I think in your third year, any time you're a new coach, that you have to show that your program's going in the right direction, and we've done it.
Q. What does it mean for the state? The Louisiana people seemed to have embraced you because you're one of them.
ED ORGERON: It's been phenomenal. To me, it's one of my favorite parts. I'm blue collar, a lot like they are. I tell them I represent them in every way I can. All the former players, all the former coaches, all the alumni, we want them to make those guys proud of Cajun. I have a Cajun accent. They like it. I like it. It's just been a wonderful mix of coming to LSU, coming back home, and us winning.
Q. What's the latest with Edwards-Helaire and his hamstring?
ED ORGERON: He hasn't practiced yesterday. He may practice a little bit today. We're not sure yet. If he is going to practice, he's questionable for the game. I do believe that -- if there's any shot of him being cleared to play medically, that if our trainers and doctors say that he can play, I think he is going to try. I don't know what's going to happen. I hope he does play.
Q. Jalen Hurts has had an interesting 12 months. What do you make of what he's done since he got to Oklahoma?
ED ORGERON: I'm so proud of him. I got to know him going to the awards banquet and stuff like that. Obviously, I know his history. We've played against him twice. We still ain't stopped them, and he made some big plays. We were talking about him this morning, the 10-0 game, it's 0-0 going into the fourth quarter and he makes two tremendous plays to win the game. His character, his grit, his determination, meeting his mom and dad, getting to know a little bit about him and the way he fought, I couldn't be more proud of the guy, to be honest with you.
Q. Is he different than when he was at Alabama? What do you see?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, they're running him more. Believe it or not, they're running him more. He has 1,200 yards. He and CeeDee are the keys to the offense. Similar plays in some ways, but some plays a little bit different. He's the key to the game. I think that the runs -- he's running inside the tackle, he's running outside, the quarterback powers, the lead draws. There's more runs in this offense -- the counters, the counter read -- than there were for him in the Alabama offense.
Q. You guys have gotten a lot of attention for your makeover on offense. What about Oklahoma's defense, the way they've made over the defense?
ED ORGERON: Outstanding. 24 points a game. That middle linebacker is one of the best guys we're going to see all year. They play good, sound, fundamental football. The things that they do up front, they stunt a lot, they try to get you out of your gaps. They try to create negative plays, tackles for a loss. But, again, the 24 points per game says a lot especially in that league.
Q. What goes into something like that, Ed, when you're 114th in the country and you're beat down and you have to have a complete mental makeover? What goes into that from your perspective?
ED ORGERON: I think it probably -- just like us on offense, it probably started in the meeting rooms. It probably started with an attitude. It probably started about the way we walk through stuff, the way we do everything. Probably a complete different change. I think schematically, players, their great coaches, and then you've got to go out there on the practice field and do it. Obviously, they have.
Q. Ed, what's Clyde's status?
ED ORGERON: Clyde has not practiced yet. He ran a little bit yesterday, ran straight ahead. Medically, hopefully, he's cleared to practice. I don't know if he will. It would be the first day he would. I think he may try something today. I'm not sure. It's going to be a game-time situation. Knowing Clyde, if he can play, he's going to try. We're really not sure yet. Do I want him to play? Yes. Do I expect him to try to play? Yes. How much he can play? I don't know.
Q. Is he getting treated now instead of being here?
ED ORGERON: Um-hmm, yeah.
Q. You guys, obviously, this is the first trip for LSU. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has made a habit of this. Is there an advantage?
ED ORGERON: I'm sure they have the advantage. I'm sure they know to how to handle the situation, handle the hype. They've come from behind in big-time games. They have great players, great coaches. Probably gives them a little advantage of being here before. But the newness also gives you an advantage. We're excited to be here, man. This is fun. When we walk into the Dome and we see College Football Semifinals in the playoffs, it means a lot to us. It means a lot. We're prideful to be here, so it works on both sides.
Q. On the outside looking in, you're a double-digit favorite; they're the underdog. Do you talk about that with the players?
ED ORGERON: Not at all. We don't talk about that. We block out the noise. We focus on the task at hand. We don't pay attention to it.
Q. What have been your thoughts on Joe's return -- I don't know, the attention that Joe has gotten?
ED ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. Not just as the Heisman winner, but bringing attention back to Athens and things like that.
ED ORGERON: I think it's been great, to be honest with you. It comes along with it. Obviously, we all know Joe's a great team player. But to put him in the national spotlight, to win the Heisman, very deserving. But typical Joe, he's going to help somebody else. I think he raised maybe half a million dollars for the kids of Athens, and it goes to show you the heart that he has, the character that he has. I think Joe's just getting started. I think the more Joe has success, the more he's going to help people. That's the type of guy he is.
Q. Ed, I know you've been around Edward Aschoff, he's been in your program for a while. Just thoughts on his passing.
ED ORGERON: What a shame. What a shame. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Great guy. I loved having him around. I read his stuff, thought it was outstanding. When I heard what happened, I was really sad.
Q. If he isn't able to play, do you change stuff up in your game plan or plug and play with the next guy?
ED ORGERON: We have three backs. Clyde does it all. Now, we've got three backs that are strong in each one of those areas, so we're going to have to use them. Tyrion, John Emery, and Chris Curry. You can expect all three of those backs to play in different situations.
Q. Ed, when you started this thing, how much of a focus was Alabama for you? Was it just them as an opponent?
ED ORGERON: We knew that we had to beat them. No question. It wasn't a focus every day. It wasn't the biggest game of the year or nothing like that. I think that you can make those things too big, and obviously your players feel that. But I knew that we had to get the type of offense that could score points on them. I knew we had to get the linemen to match the physicality of their football team.
Q. As a program, once you overcome that, what do you have to do to maintain it, because you know that they're going to come back strong?
ED ORGERON: You look at what they've done over the years. They've done a phenomenal job of staying on top. As they say, it's hard to get there. It's even harder to stay up there. We have to remain focused. You have to block out the noise. There have been a lot of accolades for this team already. That's not going to win the football game for you. It's about fundamentals, it's about getting better, staying hungry with a great mindset. I believe we have the coaching staff and focus to do that. Again, these guys are not satisfied. Although we've had success this year, they're not satisfied.
Q. You talked about how this is all exciting for your players, being here for the first time, seeing their names. What's kind of the coolest thing for them so far?
ED ORGERON: You know, I think winning the S.E.C. Championship, which was a goal of ours, to see them on the stage, happy and stuff like that. And then just coming here, being as a team. I do believe, like I said, when you walk in the Dome and you see College Football Semifinals, it hits them. It's all on the line. I think these guys are going to be ready. They've been fantastic. We'll see happens.
Q. Coach O, you mentioned that the guys are excited to be here. Especially here. You have Blake Ferguson, who is a hometown kid, right up the street in Buford. Can you tell me a little bit about him as team captain?
ED ORGERON: We had an awards banquet the other night, and he got every major award. Goes to show you what the strength coach thinks about him, what they think about him in academics, about his character, about his leadership on this football team. You know, the deep snapper, he never gets any attention unless he gets a bad snap. And he hasn't gotten that much attention because he hasn't had a bad snap. But, you know, Blake does a lot of things for SCA. He does a lot of things for the students. He's very involved in college football and wants to help in college football. He's a great leader, great young man, great family. It just so happens that our snapper has been from Buford the last three generations and we're going to continue -- Will's from Buford. We're going to continue that.
Q. I guess that's a growing trend, they all come from up the street and benefit LSU.
ED ORGERON: Sure does. And it helps us in recruiting. It helps the parents to know that those guys can come from Buford, from Atlanta, come to LSU and have success.
Q. Coach, a lot of people talk about each coach has his own different philosophy on how they coach the team. You hear a lot of people say it's Coach O's way. Explain that to us.
ED ORGERON: Say it again.
Q. A lot of coaches say they have a factor or a way of coaching. A lot of players say it's Coach O's way. Explain that to us.
ED ORGERON: I've been very fortunate to be under some great coaches, Jimmy Johnson, Paul Pasqualoni, Dennis Erickson, and Pete Carroll. A combination more of what we did at Miami, what we did at USC, combine both of them. Obviously, you've got to give your own flavor, be your own person. That's just the way we do things.
Q. Ed, you talked last year about the need to get more analysts, and you got a bunch and you added some more. Is it any coincidence that you guys have done better program-wise the last two years?
ED ORGERON: Good point. I think it's a direct result of our success. We were so far behind, and I knew it, and I didn't think we was giving our team a fair advantage. Now we have the power, we have the knowledge, we have advanced scouting. We have analysts that are breaking down everything we're doing, breaking down our opponent. We have answers for our players. Our coaches are able to get more information a lot quicker and put the game plan in a lot quicker. These guys have made all the difference in the world. Think about the analysts we have. We have NFL coordinators, big college coordinators. We have guys who have been in the NFL. Just a tremendous amount of knowledge.
Q. And if I can ask specifically about Jorge Munoz. You brought him in from Lafayette. And Joe invited him to the Heisman ceremony. His role and what he's meant.
ED ORGERON: Jorge does a great job of setting up what we call our winning edge. Obviously, he can't coach it on the field, but he does a lot of game management stuff for me. Also is involved in cut-off, also is involved in recruiting, also involved in setting up the daily meetings, setting up the drills for a coach without coaching on the football field. He is very knowledgeable. He's like having an extra offensive coordinator in the room with thoughts. I know he breaks down protection with Coach Cregg. I think I get there on Tuesday morning at 6:00. They've been there since 4:00 figuring stuff out. Tireless worker.
Q. Ed, as part of juggling the bowl excitement and the business of winning this game, I know you've had this approach. You identified that pretty early, we need to focus in.
ED ORGERON: We started early. Listen, we're not going to the bowl. We're going to win a playoff game. I've got to give it to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They understand that too. There's not been a required amount of time, too much required amount of time. But our kids had a couple of events. They had a Family Feud the other night, which was very interesting. And then last night, they had a little -- right before Christmas dinner, they had a basketball shoot-off contest. So these guys have been great. I think it's been a nice combination of letting us have our meeting time, great accommodations, practicing in the Dome, focus in and then they've had about a half hour or so of events each night, which has been good. Our guys, we've had 100 percent curfew every night. Everybody in for curfew. The focus has been tremendous. They totally get that this is a playoff game.
Q. You guys had a chance to play on this turf, and I remember the championship game and stuff like that, they were slipping a little bit. Did you switch cleats?
ED ORGERON: We had to change cleats during the week. We had guys, especially on Tuesday, when we had a tough practice. Linemen were slipping, outside linebackers were slipping. So we continued to change the right cleats. Every guy needs a different cleat, different footing. So I think we've got it pretty good right now. It was an advantage this week of practicing on that turf.
Q. Coach, how have you evaluated the Oklahoma defense this week? A lot of people say they didn't really have a chance to stop the LSU offense because Georgia couldn't stop LSU's offense. In my opinion, Oklahoma is built for this type of spread.
ED ORGERON: Yes. They play the spread every day. They play the spread in their conference. They know what they're doing. The biggest accomplishment to me, for Oklahoma's defense, is allowing only 24 points per game in that league where guys are scoring 50 all the time. What a tremendous accomplishment. But the middle linebacker is one of the best guys we've seen, obviously. He can run down, make plays in space. Their defensive line is very quick and agile, and what they do, they stunt almost every down. So you got to pick up those stunts. If you don't, they're negative plays. I think a combination of that and outstanding coverage makes them a very, very good defense.
Q. Have you done anything differently to prepare your offensive line for the speed of that defensive front?
ED ORGERON: Sure, yeah. We have what we called our cheetah package, where we have four fast guys in there and we're going against -- I've brought them down there with Coach Cregg and I run the cord and we run the different stunts. Those guys try to pick it up to simulate the speed of game.
Q. How have you guys handled the bulls eye so far? You've played so many good teams. There's hype and talk about Joe Burrow and the Heisman, the good team you're playing. How do you handle the bulls eye?
ED ORGERON: We block out the noise. It's about focusing on the task at hand. It's about fundamentals. When we get in the meeting room, it's Tell the Truth Monday. It's Competition Tuesday. It's Turnover Wednesday. Today is No Repeat Thursday. It's about focusing on the task at hand. We don't talk in our room about individual accomplishments. We don't talk about trophies. We don't talk about nothing but fundamentals and when the team does well and what the team needs to get better.
Q. Have you been able to enjoy this? 15 years ago, you're in the S.E.C., it doesn't go too well. You're back, you're the number one team in America. How does it feel?
ED ORGERON: Feels good. I'm happy for our team, happy for the state of Louisiana. You've got to win this game. There's no time to relax. There's no time to sit back. During recruiting, we had one week to focus on recruiting. This is not our final destination. This is a big game for us, and we're here to win it.
Q. Ed, you talk a lot about (no microphone). What is it that makes guys pop like that?
ED ORGERON: We feel like Chris has come along. I really like his ball security. When we put him in there, in the games, he ran tough. He ran with an attitude. We think we're going to need some physicality in this game. The thing that Chris does, along with John and Tyrion, they do a combination of everything that Clyde does. So we'll have to use all three of them.
Q. Does that help spread the ball around as well?
ED ORGERON: Yes, it does. They stay fresh, they stay hungry. They want to go in there and prove themselves. All three of them are good backs so they're going to be hungry to play. Obviously a big game in a big setting. The number one thing for us is ball security.
Q. You talk about the leadership on the team. Almost like a coach's dream.
ED ORGERON: I go to bed, I don't even worry about it. I know the next day they're going to tell me 100 percent curfew. I see the guys. I watch them. I see them in the morning. I know they're getting rest. They're like my children. You can tell when your children ain't doing right. When they're doing right, I have no complaints about the way these guys have acted.
Q. Get back to the trust that everybody seems to have.
ED ORGERON: I believe that one team, one heart beat. I think that has been developed. I think that's a culture. I do believe that everyone knows the task at hand, whether it be a third string guy, a second string guy, or the top guys. I think everybody has a vested interest in what we got to get done here. One team, one heartbeat, and you can feel it.
Q. Coach, LSU has always had loads of talent at the skill positions and they've have had talent at quarterbacks, but they've kind of managed the game throughout the years and fallen into the fold. Now you have a quarterback like Joe Burrow, who you can say, go out and win the game for me. He's set record numbers this year. What's it like having a guy that's not just a game manager, but you can put everything on his back and say win the game?
ED ORGERON: Obviously, it's a big advantage. What we always wanted at LSU, having a great back. The thing that's made our offense go is the play of our offensive line. I mean, those guys have been the MVP. Obviously, Joe's an outstanding player. We have outstanding athletes on the perimeter. But the offensive line has done a really good job this year. And then Stevens (indiscernible) and Joe Brady. I mean, the type of offense we're running is exactly what fits our skill set.
Q. Joe said that defensively on the back end, Oklahoma is a little similar to what Texas does in the secondary. What up front have you seen from Oklahoma that they do a little bit different than everybody else?
ED ORGERON: Stunt every down. I mean, every down is a stunt. They do a good job of it. Sometimes, when you stunt, you get out of your gaps and you get gashed on the run. Think about this. These guys have only given 24 points a game. They're very solid, know what they're doing, very quick.
Q. Joe has taken on the larger-than-life personality on and off the field. Does your experience back in the day with the Leinhart years, have they achieved similar status?
ED ORGERON: Very similar, and it's very similar, helped me to see the way Coach Carroll handled it. Coach Carroll let everybody be themselves. Obviously, when it comes down to practice, we focus on the task at hand. You can always tell when your team is focused. You can always tell when your team is distracted. I think we've been the most focused this week as we've been all year.
December 26, 2019
DAVE ARANDA: I remember saying to him, they know exactly where to go with the ball. I think that was a credit offensive scheme-wise, I think it's a credit to Joe Burrow, too, is that the weakness of whatever we were doing, whatever coverage variation we had, they went right to it, and there was no kind of getting around it. And I think that has been the case throughout our spring and fall camp and that's been the case throughout the season. They're able to identify and attack the weaknesses of people's alignments, structure, personnel, and get to it quick.
Q. You've been around for a good amount of time. Where does Joe Burrow stack up in terms of guys that -- I guess you have week to week kind of prepared for him a little bit.
DAVE ARANDA: Yeah, he's the best one I've been around. There's been some good ones. Texas Tech with Kliff Kingsbury, Houston we had Kevin Cobb, and Hawai'i we had Bryant Moniz, which was a big player for us. I think the difference with Joe is just his ability to be an offensive coordinator on the field. I think there's guys that can make throws, there's guys that can improvise. There's guys that can bring an intelligence to the game but not to the level that I'm used to, not to the level that Joe brings.
Q. So you see Jalen Hurts on the other sideline. When you saw this match-up did you think, I can't shake this guy, he's everywhere?
DAVE ARANDA: Yeah, I've got such respect for him. Just his story, the way he goes about his business, his demeanor, his approach to everything, his being in the spotlight as much as he's been. I have a lot of respect for how he handles it, one. And then as a player, he's improved as a passer. If you load up on the run, which they force you to do because they've got the math advantage over you with him as a runner, so you load up on the run, then you're short in your pass. The question, though, has been can he make you regret doing it that way, and there's multiple times this season that that's been the case. So that combined with some gadget plays and some innovation on offense, it's a beast. So I feel like our -- I'm glad we've had time to prepare, so I think our practices have been great. Guys clearly understand what's ahead of them, the challenge. They're focused, and I feel really confident in what we've been able to accomplish. But you get into the game, and we're going to have to see where it goes and adjust as is because it could be a run-centric game, it could be, yeah, he's making throws with simple coverage and we've got to adjust that.
Q. Just for your defense this year, you've all come under a lot of scrutiny at times, but the last three weeks of the season you seemed to play your best football. What was the turning point for you guys?
DAVE ARANDA: Well, I think that's a good question. We're at our most healthy now. I also feel the standards at LSU are so high, which I love, and I've always seen LSU as a defensive school. And so when we early in the year did not hold to that standard, I think that a lot of criticism came. And so I think those issues that we had early on were issues of, one, finding who we are, knowing like what we do best, and this particular year, with this particular group I think we've settled into that. Two is, hey, we're scoring a lot of points, and it's not about just winning the game anymore. It's about dominating the other opponent on your side of the ball on defense. A lot of those points were coming in second halves when we were up. So the push from me would be to finish the game, would be to focus every play, would be to -- the scoreboard doesn't matter, and I think we struggled with that pretty severely at times. And then three would be when the criticism would start, and we'd still be dealing with both one and two, different guys in the game because of injuries, and then two were up again, so we're trying to deal with how to finish four quarters. Things would go bad, and at this stage the criticism would start again. Then we'd get guys that would kind of push and stress, and I'm hearing this stuff about me, so I'm going to try to make a play to get it to quiet down, or hey, they're saying this about us. I'm playing on the right but I'm going to go make a play on the left. So that was the third mix. And so I think to work through that and get everyone on the same page, that's a credit to the players and a credit to the coaches.
December 26, 2019
Q. What's your opinion of Baby Yoda?
JOE BURROW: I haven't watched the show yet. I haven't seen it. I was going to wait until it all came out before I started watching it.
Q. You look a little tired.
JOE BURROW: Yeah, a little tired.
Q. Are you a little sick?
JOE BURROW: A little bit. Nothing serious. A little cold. I'm going to go to the bathroom real quick. I'll be right back.
Q. This is a bowl game but it's not like (indiscernible) how has the focus been?
JOE BURROW: It's been just fine. You don't got to worry about that.
Q. Is it because the stakes are so high?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think we have a really mature team that understands the situation and understands that we still have things ahead of us.
Q. What about the practices, how have they been?
JOE BURROW: We've had really good practices. Been really happy with them. Guys have been flying around, we look rested, healthy. It's been great. Q. (Indiscernible). JOE BURROW: I felt good out there. I know a couple of the guys were slipping around a little bit, but it's been good to have a week of practice on it, and they're getting used to it.
Q. How have the rest of the guys been?
JOE BURROW: Been really happy with it. They've been coming along. (Indiscernible) is having a great week of practice. He's been getting better. Ty and John are obviously getting a lot better, as well. Whether Clyde plays or not, we'll have guys that are ready to play. I still think Clyde will be able to play, and he's working to get healthy.
Q. Kind of strange being back in this room?
JOE BURROW: I wouldn't say strange. I wouldn't say strange.
Q. Good memories?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, clean sweep at the awards. I think there were a lot of deserving players across the country, but I was happy that our guys got them.
Q. Has it been overall -- what's your experience been like in Atlanta?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, it's been a lot of fun, but we know it's a business trip, so we're trying to treat it just like any other weekend as much as we can. It's tough when you're here for a week and you have a lot of free time. But we're just trying to treat it like any other game.
Q. Is there any other advantage to having played a game in that building already?
JOE BURROW: Not really. I mean, maybe the site for the receivers a little bit, but other than that, it's the same stadium for everybody.
Q. What specific issues of Oklahoma's defense do you have to focus on?
JOE BURROW: They're really fast, and I think Coach Grinch is a really good coach that's going to have a good plan for us, so we're going to have to see what they're going to do and make in-game adjustments really well.
Q. There's a couple local guys on your team that are here, especially your team captain. Talk a little bit about him. I know he must be excited to play here in front of the home crowd. JOE BURROW: Yeah, he's super excited. He went home and had Christmas dinner yesterday and invited a bunch of guys through. He's a great person as well as a great player. He's a guy that's really big into philanthropy and that's great to see. He's a really good leader for us.
Q. Just your overall thoughts on the game, how preparations have been? Where do you think the team's mindset is at?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I know everyone is just ready to play. Everyone said being here a week is nice, but we're ready to go out and play the game and go back to Baton Rouge.
Q. Can you go out with the family and eat dinner and stuff like that?
JOE BURROW: No, absolutely not. We just order in usually.
Q. How has that changed for you? You've been famous as the year has gone on but what happened in New York City really changed things.
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I didn't really experience anything during the season because I didn't really do anything. I was just in the facility and made food or ordered groceries, but I started to experience things a little bit, and it's been wild.
Q. Have you had to change your cell phone number?
JOE BURROW: Not yet. Thinking about it, though.
Q. How has it been wild? Was there a moment where you were like, this is too much?
JOE BURROW: I mean, you don't like not accepting pictures, but when you go out in public and 50 people want a picture with you, you've got to eventually say no. That's been my least favorite part, just telling people no when I wish I could be there all day.
Q. There's a five-year-old kid and a guy wants to put something on eBay --
JOE BURROW: Yeah, getting easier and easier to tell which ones want to put that on eBay. They just have duffel bags of mini helmets, like, can I get a couple signatures? No, dude, sorry.
Q. Are you learning you had a lot more relatives than you had?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, a lot of relatives that I'm related to that I've never heard of in my life.
Q. (Indiscernible). Is it going to make the circuit?
JOE BURROW: I guess I'll have to find out. That one is pretty comfy. I have like eight Fiesta Bowl sweatshirts, so we'll see. Q. So you're not wearing the same one over and over again? JOE BURROW: No.
Q. You had a bunch of opinions last year on a bunch of topics --
JOE BURROW: I've got nothing for you. Hopefully someone else does so I can get a little break, though. I think we're here for 45 minutes.
Q. How does the press work, you have the meeting room and -- what do you do?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, we have a floor dedicated to all the meeting rooms and just meeting there like it's our facility.
Q. What do you think about the narrative surrounding Oklahoma, saying that they don't necessarily have a chance in this game?
JOE BURROW: I mean, they're in the playoff. It's not -- I don't think they're sneaking up on anybody. They've been in the playoff three of the last five years. They're a great program, an elite program. They're not sneaking up on anybody. They're just as good as anybody in the country.
Q. (Indiscernible) what have you seen from them that makes you feel comfortable?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, they're getting a lot better, and it comes with reps, and I think Chris Curry, like I said earlier, is having a great week of practice. I'm super comfortable with all those guys in there, but Chris has really jumped out this week, and he and Ty I think will do a great job if they happen to be in there.
JOE BURROW: We'll have to find out. I don't go in thinking like that. I just go in and take what the defense gives me. I don't try to force anybody, and that's why you see people with -- Harris, two touchdowns in the SEC Championship and Ja'Marr with not as many. I just go in thinking they've got to take a couple guys away. We've got to figure out who they're taking away and go with the other guys.
Q. A lot of questions on their defense. Are they comparable to anyone you've seen this year?
JOE BURROW: You know, their scheme is a little similar to Texas's, a little bit. On the back end. Up front it's a lot different. But they play quarters, the occasional cover three. But like I say, we've faced something different like the last six weeks than what we've seen on film, so I have to go in and make those in-game adjustments.
Q. How quickly do you try to (indiscernible)?
JOE BURROW: The first play we'll know. Like against Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M, you go out and like, wow, I haven't seen this on film. I don't know why I watched film this week. So we'll go out and figure it out, like we always do. But it gets a little frustrating when you watch film all this time and it doesn't matter because they don't play that defense. So we'll see.
Q. You get a feel for their talent, though?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I mean, they pop on film. They're really fast. No. 9, the linebacker, one of the top two or three linebackers in the country, is really, really good, really fast on the D-line. No. 90 is quick twitch, strong. So they've got some guys for sure.
Q. Going back to the (indiscernible).
JOE BURROW: Looked pretty good, huh? Nobody thought I could play ball, but we came back and won, so that was pretty good.
December 26, 2019
Q. Ja'Maar Chase, wide receiver for the LSU Tigers. How crazy has this trip been?
JA'MARR CHASE: It's been unbelievable for us, just having fun and competing.
Q. When you look back at this season, you started off with Texas. That was sort of when you established yourself as this offensive power. You haven't let up. When did you know this offense was going to be when it has become?
JA'MARR CHASE: Offense in the summertime was going against our defense. That's when I found out who we were.
Q. Speaking of your defense, it has come along throughout the course of the season, especially the last month. Did you see that coming? Did you see that coming in practice? JA'MARR CHASE: Actually I did. You know, I mean, you're going to have a few flaws coming in the new year, so we thought about fixing those flaws and getting back on track, and I think I did a good personal job of that this year.
Q. When you look at Oklahoma's defense, Alex Grinch has done a good job this year changing what they've been able to do. What stands out about them?
JA'MARR CHASE: I see a lot about their speed. They play a lot of two-man. Don't want to get beat deep. But I see a lot of one-on-ones though. I do see that.
Q. You obviously went through the banquet circuit, the awards circuit. How much of a relief was it to get back to focusing on football?
JA'MARR CHASE: When I got here for the award thing I was still focused on football. I brought my iPad out here to watch film still. But I never quit football. Even when I'm busy I'm still looking at it.
Q. Clyde's injury has been part of the story line leading up to this game. You have some freshmen running backs. When they practice, when you see them, what stands out?
JA'MARR CHASE: Ty is a more downhill runner. He's likely to drop a shoulder on anybody. John is more of a first move and speed. But both of those guys will always make the first guy miss.
Q. Are you guys ready to roll?
JA'MARR CHASE: Yes, sir.
Q. When you look at Oklahoma, is it hard to not think about a championship game because you're such a favorite and they come in here kind of banged up? Is there any chance of not looking at them the way --
JA'MARR CHASE: No, I wouldn't say that. Right now actually we're just focusing on this game. We can't jump too far ahead and lose track of this game. I think we have enough tunnel vision right now for this game.
Q. What do you see in the Sooner secondary that you'll be going against?
JA'MARR CHASE: I see a lot of fast guys. A couple of them have tight hips, but some of them are slow, too. I think we'll have good match-ups all around.
Q. See much one-on-one for you or are you looking at them having a guy over the top and at least giving you one and a half?
JA'MARR CHASE: I mean, it's been happening all year, the double teams. The one-on-one chance, it comes every game. Whenever I get it, I have to make the most out of it.
Q. How much fun has this season been to get to this point?
JA'MARR CHASE: This season has really been fun. I'll say that. We had a lot of laughs during the game that made good memories for us. It's just a blessing to be here.
Q. What's it's like (indiscernible)?
JA'MARR CHASE: It's fun being under Coach Orgeron. I go into practice every day with my jersey up and he tells me to take it down, so I can't say nothing about that but he's a fun guy. I like him. Love him.
Q. Ja'Marr, what stands out to you about CeeDee Lamb?
JA'MARR CHASE: His after-catch. He's a big after-catch guy. He knows how to make people miss.
Q. How impressive is that? At wide receiver you know how difficult some of those kind of plays are. \
JA'MARR CHASE: I mean, it's not more impressive than Justin Jefferson's moves. I watch him every day and I still try to take some of his moves because he's so quick. It's pretty impressive. As a receiver you have to have some type of skill to get yourself open.
Q. When you look at Oklahoma and see their DBs, what do y'all have been accustomed to making this year?
JA'MARR CHASE: We just have to make them feel our speed. Run up to them, make them feel our speed. That's when we can get them to flip their hips.
Q. Various people look at the Big 12 and say that they don't play defense, but obviously you see that Oklahoma has some players on theirs. What do y'all feel when -- what do you see on film like your wide receivers having over their secondary?
JA'MARR CHASE: Like I said, I feel like once you get any team, any body to feel your speed as a route runner, you'll get them to flip their hips and that's when you'll make your route look very good on them. But in other words, those guys are good. I give credit to them. They got this far, too, just like us, but we're going to find a weakness on the team and we're going to attack it.
Q. How easy has Joe made y'all's job as receivers?
JA'MARR CHASE: He made it pretty easy. We work on our timing every day at practice, so that's why I'd probably say it's that easy for us, and if we probably mess up a route, I know we do it probably two to three times after.
Q. Joe mentioned in his speech, but talk about Coach O, what he means to this program and the fact that not many places gave him a chance but LSU gave him a chance and where he's brought y'all.
JA'MARR CHASE: That's unbelievable from Coach O to give somebody who didn't play for four years, three, four years and give him a shot to come to LSU, LSU is a big program, and the quarterback spot is even bigger, and for Joe to step up and take that role as a man, it's incredible for him. Coach O, same thing what Joe said. Coach O, that's my guy.
Q. Is it one of those like everybody on that team echos what he said?
JA'MARR CHASE: Yeah, I mean, Coach O, he's a very good guy. He lifts everyone up. He comes to practice hyped every practice. But it's just him pushing us every day at practice. That's what makes us better.
Q. You mentioned Oklahoma's secondary and talked about them as a whole. What stands out to you about Parnell Motley, No. 11?
JA'MARR CHASE: Nothing stands out about him too much. I watch him. I see he's -- I don't know if he's that long. I don't really know how tall he is. I see he's kind of fast. He'll try to put your hands on somebody just a little bit, but I'm ready for it. I want him to put his hands on me
Q. Why is that?
JA'MARR CHASE: Because he's going to feel me then.
Q. You guys are a very confident team. Where does that come from?
JA'MARR CHASE: It comes with heart. That's where it comes from. You step on that field, you've got to have heart to play football. It's not a game of babies. Everybody on this team is grown men.
Q. I've been to a few of these covering OU. It's rare to hear teams exude such confidence. Is that SEC, Baton Rouge?
JA'MARR CHASE: I think that's the Louisiana in us. We got it for a reason, so I think that's what that's from. Q. A little pride in that? JA'MARR CHASE: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Who do you know on Oklahoma? Do you know anyone? Did you go to camp with any of those dudes growing up or anything?
JA'MARR CHASE: I know T.J. Pledger, Bookie Radley. I don't really know them like that, but in high school we went to (indiscernible) with those guys. They're cool cats.
Q. Do you know Jalen at all, Jalen Hurts?
JA'MARR CHASE: I met him here a couple of weeks ago, but I don't really know him too much.
Q. Do you respect him? Obviously you do. How much do you respect a story like his, what he's been able to do?
JA'MARR CHASE: That's incredible. I'm glad he made it this far as a person, as a player. But I hope the best for him.
December 26, 2019
Lloyd Cushenberry III
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: A lot of confidence. It doesn't really matter who's in there. Up front we've got to do our job, so those guys can make plays. We've got to control the guys up front so they can do what they do. They're very well-coached, have a Super Bowl winning guy in their room. They're prepared.
Q. It's one thing for you to do your job, but when you're confident the other guys are going to do their job, you aren't trying to overkill, do too much, you just focus on getting it done. Is that the advantage of having some young guys, like I trust them to hit the right hole, I don't have to do anything extra?
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Yeah, just that trust you build in practice, and obviously because we know -- we know everybody on this team puts in a lot of work this off-season, this summer, coming in extra on Saturday. Running plays, getting that execution down. We all trust one another and we know the work that we all put in.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Joe. Obviously we know his importance to this offense. But when he came in, how much did things change? Obviously him and Steve were working together, but when they started making that change, how much did things change around?
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: It changed a lot. We knew from day one this offense was going to be completely different. I knew we were changing things a lot, but yeah, it's been a lot of change, and change for the better.
Q. What is he like? Obviously you don't work with him directly that much, but I guess he's around.
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Just like one of us. He's a young guy. He always -- he's clowning with his receivers all the time. He wears the shoes we wear. He wears the things we wear. He's just like one of the guys.
Q. Is he relatable?
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Yeah.
Q. What other qualities does he have as a QB? How would you describe him?
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Very smart. He knows a lot about a lot of things. Dealing with football, he knows what he's supposed to do. He knows his receivers. He knows a lot. Very relatable and very smart.
Q. The guys have talked about Clyde, how he shares a lot of advice. That has to help, right? LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Yeah, I feel like not a lot has changed with Clyde being out. He's been talking to those guys a lot in between practices and getting them ready for Saturday. I feel like they've been great, so not a lot has really been different.
Q. The maturity that they have, do they understand the moment that they're in right now?
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Yeah, I think so. Haven't got a chance to really talk to them about that. So I don't want to hype it up too much. But I feel like they'll be ready. I feel like they've prepared all season for this moment, and I feel like they're going to do great.
Q. In regards to the trust on this team, I feel like a lot of your success has been because of the trust you have in one another and your willingness to do your job.
LLOYD CUSHENBERRY III: Yeah, I feel like we all know the work that we put in during the off-season and the summer, so we all trust one another to do their job and get the job done on the field.
December 26, 2019
Q. Even with all the other stuff they throw in on you guys at a bowl, you all still manage to -- K'LAVON CHAISSON: Still manage. I mean, you practice on Christmas Day, I think that should tell you now.
Q. Was it difficult at all, after the Alabama game, to kind of hit the reset button and say we've got to move on to the next goal? It seemed like that had been a big focus.
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Maybe a big focus for the outside, not a big focus on the inside. I mean, it was great to win that game. I feel like it was good for the state. It was good for the city of Baton Rouge, but it was a regular game. I feel like with the confidence level we have on this team and so much we have in the offense and the offense has in us, we went into that game knowing we were going to win. We were prepared for it. So it wasn't really just a reset. But it was more so like we need to keep it moving. We don't need to start slacking and going down.
Q. Name your position and one fun thing you like about Bowl Week so far.
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Hey y'all, this is K'Lavon Chaisson, Number 18, outside linebacker at LSU. Everything is going great. We're in the big College Football Hall of Fame, you know. This is great. Glad to click in with y'all at the Peach Bowl. See y'all Saturday.
Q. The game plan for Jalen, is it one of those deals where you want to rush him enough to not get him outside the pocket and make sure -- kind of keep eyes on him?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Yeah, a lot. It's one of them. It's more so of a lot of his plays is not really too much of a quick game. It's more letting things develop, probably a play action or a looky passing thing. So it's about rushing him, keeping consistent pressure him all game but don't rush past the quarterback and create open wide lanes. Going into the game with the mindset -- going into the Texas game and kind of took the wrong approach and tried to keep him in the pocket. He beat us with his arm all game. We're going in with our approach and we'll make something out of it.
Q. Is it rush to the level? What do you call it?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Just level rush, that's it. Don't slow your rush down. Don't bull or anything. But keeping conscious and keep in mind don't rush past the quarterback and give him a wide lane to run the ball. We trust our defensive backs enough, where they're going to make him hold the ball long enough. They have one great receiver. Other than that, we have four great defensive backs that many can't handle.
Q. You're right, he'll run receivers out. That's what he does.
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Exactly.
Q. So it's kind of knowing that going in, do you have to have that patience, I guess?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Especially as a pass rusher, something that you kind of don't want to think about going against. It's like, man, I got to worry about him running the ball. I'd rather he sit in the pocket like a duck and let me grab you. It's something great on his part. He knows that. He knows as a team that plays a lot of man that we trust our defensive backs against any receiver in the country. He's going to get sometimes in the open field and make something out of. With people manned up, with their backs turned to the quarterback, that's his time to shine.
Q. Coach Aranda called a triple option. I thought that was interesting. You really have to read your keys.
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Exactly. We all know the Ole Miss game, when he just did it. He just has a better arm than the Ole Miss quarterback. It's something you have to watch. 255 yards rushing for a quarterback is not common.
Q. What about this team? I was talking to Coach O and he was talking about the leadership. For me, it clicked in my head, trust is what the team is built on. You trust each other to make the plays. They trust you to be business-like. And you trust them to put you in the right spot. Is that what you've been successful?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Of course, this team is more player driven than anything. Go with the simple fact that a lot of players, we want this ourselves. We know this is a special year for us. We knew from the get-go it would be a special year. It's all about how the players approach the game. In the past, I've been part of teams where it's more so thinking about the next level and not right now. So, man, I say everybody -- especially on this defense and this offense and the special teams players -- all clicked and they all bought in. It's all about the team and nobody has any individual goals.
Q. I think it's interesting that you knew it early. We didn't know it. We didn't know the offense would be as good as it was. Everybody we talked to was like, yeah, we knew this team had this potential. Why?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: We're the ones in this program so we know. I mean, a lot of people, they caught -- so it's like man, you go get a quarterback who doesn't even play at Ohio State and you try everything that works. So we knew -- from the get-go, we knew how good it would be, seeing Coach Brady come in and help in the spring, changed a lot of things up. As especially a defense, we win most of our scrimmages in the spring and fall on campus. When the offense wins scrimmages, you're like whoa, wait a minute. You start thinking are we just terrible or is the offense just great? The offense is great. That's what it is.
Q. The last four or five games, you've really turned it on. I mean, it's been incredible. Is it just something within you, or is it something with the people around you that have kind of helped you? Less people double-teaming you? What's been the difference in the stretch for you?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Personally, it's been good getting in a groove, getting healthier, getting your knowledge on the game. You only get better as your experience gets more -- as your experience gets older. So I feel like that's coming around, getting my experience up and getting my knowledge going with the game. Playing with great defensive linemen doing their jobs, I can count on them to make my job easier. I feel like just with the help of others and getting my knowledge of the game up and my experience, that's what's making me keep on going.
Q. The defense has really responded to the challenge. After the Ole Miss game, they responded. When you got knocked down to Number 2 in the standings, the defense took that as a personal affront. Talk about the last two games. What happened with the defense? Was it a matter of people getting healthy or a matter of, all right, we've got all this talent. Let's play like we have the talent.
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Both. I feel like it's more of a 90 percent healthy and 10 percent play like it. That's been intentional from the get-go. We never wanted to slack off. As a defense, we're not going to keep getting disrespected. LSU has never been disrespected for the defense. Always the offense. When the defense started getting disrespected, people started talking to us. I get DMs and text messages daily talking about the defense. It's not speaking on the defense's mindset. It's getting people healthy. A lot of people weren't healthy. We know we're not going to be 100 percent healthy. You play in a tough conference like that, you got to be at least 80 or 85. You're going against NFL talent every week.
Q. Does this defense in a sense still kind of feel disrespected going into the game, in the sense when you hear people talk about Jalen Hurts, they say look what happened with LSU against Ole Miss. They discounted everything that's happened between that game and do you feel like every game, you've got to go out and prove something?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Yeah, every game. Even if people ranked us the Number 1 defense, you'd still have something to prove. We're not taking anything for granted. We're not taking anybody lightly, man. Everybody got to get the work that we're given. So, I mean, as a defense -- man, we know as an offense, their expectations and they're receiving so much praise. The defense wants the same. It's kind of so much a competition if you ask me. So the defense, we take it personally. Every day, we're talking about something we can work on. Come Saturday, we can put it on the field.
Q. I'm kind of doing a sad story here. I know you guys know Ed Aschoff, who passed, right? I was talking to Grant about him. He ate with you guys in the cafeteria. Do you have any memories, anything that pops up?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: Yeah, that's the first thing when we speak about him. He said we was going to lose -- was it 'Bama and Florida. Or A&M. It was one of them three teams. I was like man, what? Are you serious? I really think he said something about A&M. That's what got me the most. I was like, Bro, you work for who? He was a cool dude overall. Honestly, I didn't know nothing about that, man. That's what kind of threw me off. To see it was his birthday, that kind of hurt me as well, Bro. Me and Grant talked about it, and he was such a positive person, always smiling. So it kind of threw me off. You would never expect him to have anything. It's true when you say you never know what people is going through outside of stuff. He didn't bring anything down, no negative energy from anybody from the time I was with him. So it was a sad case, man. I hope his family is taking it well and getting better and grieving at the right pace. But in my opinion, I feel like he was such a great dude. Everybody -- God has a plan for everybody. Hopefully, this comes out for the better, helping his family out with a new situation.
Q. I want to ask you about Stingley. How quickly did you guys know he would make this kind of an impact?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: The first day he got here, when he was working with the defensive backs, was working with Grant, working with Greedy, working with Kristian, he was clicking. I used to watch him all the time with his dad work out. I feel like that comes with being part of this program, this tremendous program. You get the help of Coach Raymond, who is one of the best defensive back coaches in the country. If anybody don't know that, that's just the truth of it. Check his resum� and you should probably do an article on that. He's one of the top dogs and that goes along with this great program.
Q. Physically, what has allowed him to adjust so quickly?
K'LAVON CHAISSON: I feel like he's a great athlete. I mean, from -- speed-wise. In the weight room, he gets after it too. Like I said, overall, I don't want to put too much praise on him, because it's not only about him. I know you're asking about him, but this is something that goes with being a part of DBU, the tremendous university of defensive backs. This is something that was expected out of him that Grant put the pressure on him, that Kristian put the pressure on him, Greedy, every defensive back in the past, Carey puts the pressure on, the expectations that he needs to achieve and he's done it so far.
December 26, 2019
GRANT DELPIT: Georgia tired them a lot in the SEC championship game. I guess that's the offense Georgia has. Oklahoma is going to do the same thing. They have great receivers, so I don't think they're going to shy away from any competition.
Q. Is it like a matter of you've got to throw to somebody?
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, you've got to throw to somebody.
Q. Even though you have 13 games of tape on them --
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe it go from just the QB favorite receiver being on that side, or I guess throw it to freshman, but he's definitely proved himself.
Q. I think you were really highly recruited. I don't know exactly what your ranking was, but there were a lot of five stars. When he got on campus as No. 1 corner in the country -- you guys were like, hey, five-star freshman, not like carry my towels but prove yourself? Do you give him a harder time?
GRANT DELPIT: We didn't give him a hard time. Probably the fans wanted to make a lot of plays and stuff like that, but we just took him under our wing and tried to show him the ropes. He's definitely proved himself.
Q. What's been the biggest key outside of superstars like yourself and Joe and several others? What would you say one of the keys has been to your team getting to this point?
GRANT DELPIT: Just finishing games. You know, I think that we put some good film on the past couple weeks, and that's kind of landed us in the No. 1 spot. Just finishing games, though, we had a rough game at Ole Miss. They had a great game plan for us, but as far as the last couple games we've played pretty good as a team overall, especially as a defense. So hopefully we can keep that going.
Q. How do you see your match-ups on the back end?
GRANT DELPIT: Great receivers against great DBs. So we're going to put on a show because they're going to throw the ball around a lot, try and get CeeDee the ball, he's a great player, and Jalen is going to run the ball a lot, and it's going to be a good match-up.
Q. Oklahoma, after injuries and graduation, they're playing with a whole lot of new people offensively. When you look at their personnel and your personnel, how do you see the match-up?
GRANT DELPIT: You know, I don't really see an advantage or anything like that. CeeDee was a Biletnikoff finalist, Jalen was a Heisman finalist. They've got good speed in the receiving room, good running backs. So it's going to be tough to stop. Those guys definitely have seen it all in the Big 12. They play good teams, and we're just ready for the game.
Q. Oklahoma has been able to take advantage of a lot the H-back coming out of the back field and the tight end coming down the seam. What kind of adjustments do you make as a safety when you've got to worry about CeeDee on the outside when you never know if the halfback is going to run right down the seam?
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, it's going to be tough. We watch a lot of film trying to prepare for that. They've got a lot of trick plays and plays to get the playmakers the ball. It's going to be tough to stop. They have a great offensive scheme. They do a great job. It's going to be a fun game.
Q. Does Jalen look any different at Oklahoma to the Alabama version?
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, I'll be seeing the little workouts he do and how big he's gotten. He looks like a running back to be honest. But he's definitely matured, I think, at Oklahoma. He's the Heisman finalist for a reason. He had a great year. It's going to be hard to stop.
Q. Does it help that you've seen him before?
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, it's tough because of the different offense. He runs the ball a lot more at Oklahoma. They try to make plays around him to fit his play style. Alabama I think he was still a sophomore when he played, but he's definitely matured, gotten way better since then.
Q. Does he throw the ball better or just more?
GRANT DELPIT: Man, I don't know. I think they run the ball more than they did at Alabama with him. They've got a lot of good receivers at Oklahoma. They try to -- it's a good scheme. I don't know which Jalen Hurts was better, but he's a great player overall.
Q. Do you like -- when the other team has a receiver like CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo, does that get your juices going a little bit?
GRANT DELPIT: A little bit. It's great to see some competition. We see competition every week in the SEC. This guy, these guys at Oklahoma, they definitely are great players. CeeDee is a great player. I played with CeeDee little league, a lot of people don't know that, in Texas, sixth to eighth grade. We played on the same team, so I know all about CeeDee. We talk all the time. He's a great player.
Q. You'll have conversations with him out there during the game?
GRANT DELPIT: Oh, during the game definitely. He was the first person I called when I was watching TV and it came out the playoff rankings that we were playing him, so he was the first person I called. It's going to be some competition.
Q. Were you defense, offense?
GRANT DELPIT: I played defense. I played corner. I was small, small. It was like sixth through eighth grade, so it was probably the smallest one on the team. I didn't get my growth spurt until like junior year in high school. He was one of the biggest ones on the team. He played running back and receiver. We never lost a game in three years. So it was a cool experience.
Q. How old were you guys?
GRANT DELPIT: How old were we, sixth through eighth grade and then we played on a seven-on-seven travel team in high school. So we always was around each other.
Q. Wow, that's cool.
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, it's pretty cool.
December 26, 2019
Q. Does it almost give you like goosebumps every time, no matter how much you prepare for it?
DEREK STINGLEY: Every single time.
Q. A lot of one-on-one opportunities with CeeDee. Or how do you look at it going in based on how you looked at plays in practice?
DEREK STINGLEY: Yeah, I mean, based on, like, if it ends up like that, like without defensive play call, then it will be a nice matchup, in my opinion.
Q. How much of what you see in practice can help you prepare for these receivers?
DEREK STINGLEY: Going against Ja'Marr and Terrace, every day they've been much help me prepare for games like this.
Q. When you CeeDee and his yards after catch, what makes him so dangerous?
DEREK STINGLEY: His ability to make people miss in the open field. He's strong and fast so it will be kind of hard to tackle him if you're not in the right position.
Q. I know you obviously weren't here when Jalen was at Alabama, but how much have the older guys and Dave Aranda sort of helped you prepare for what kind of player he is?
DEREK STINGLEY: Well, I mean, they pretty much talk about, like, his running abilities, and if he gets running, you got to treat him like a running back because he's a bigger guy. Really good. You know, he'll run you over. Throwing-wise, we know that he's good throwing the ball. I've seen that on TV last year.
Q. You've not faced a lot of quarterbacks like Jalen. You do think quarterbacks Bo Nix and like the quarterback from Ole Miss have prepared you for Jalen?
DEREK STINGLEY: Oh, yeah. After those games, we went back to see what we did wrong, and we tried our best to learn from him.
Q. Jalen's style is a little different as a runner than Plumlee or Bo Nix. What kind of adjustments do you make in that regard?
DEREK STINGLEY: We just got to be ready for it. If it's a passing play and somehow he breaks out of the pocket, we've got to make sure the secondary stay on our receivers and the interior level is there, everybody gets to him in time.
Q. Everyone asks about CeeDee. How exciting is it to go up against guys like Jerry Jeudy, big-time receivers?
DEREK STINGLEY: It's crazy because, like, last year, I'm watching these people on TV, and now I'm lining up right across from them. Like the coolest thing about it to me is whenever I go line up on the opposite side, seeing all the coaches that I see on TV all the time, and they're right there by my face. It's cool. It's cool to be in this position.
Q. Did you expect everything to culminate the way it did so quickly?
DEREK STINGLEY: No, I didn't think it would be like this. I figured I'd do all right, but not they way I'm doing right now.
Q. In the Ole Miss game when Plumlee ran crazy on you guys, after that happened, did you all kind of really tighten up things?
DEREK STINGLEY: Yeah, I feel like after that game, the defense we sat down, talked about a lot of things, tried to fix it the best we could.
Q. Is this something you kind of expected? You were one of the top recruits in the country, now playing in the Peach Bowl against probably one of the best wide receivers in college football. Is this something you expected of yourself in the first year?
DEREK STINGLEY: No. I never would have thought that things would end up this way. But it's cool, though, to like -- I don't know, like, it's just one of the best feelings in the world.
Q. Is that kind of like the dream, coming to LSU? Because you're from Louisiana and everything. Coming to LSU and getting to play so much as a freshman?
DEREK STINGLEY: Yeah, that's really been a dream of mine for a long time.
Terrill J. Weil
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