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October 15, 2016

Ed Orgeron

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Southern Missouri - 10, LSU - 45

COACH ORGERON: Played for 60 minutes. Was proud of the football team. At half-time we made some adjustments offensively and defensively. I think the biggest adjustment was to quit shooting ourselves in the foot. The penalties, maybe was trying to do too much or something too soon.

Southern Miss, give them credit, they came out and hit us in the mouth the first drive on defense. They ran the football on us. We didn't play very well. I knew we was going to have to go through some adversity at some point with this football team. It happened in the first half. But we came right here in the locker room at half-time and addressed those issues.

They were challenged and they came back and played a tremendous second half. We played for 60 minutes. I'm proud of the way the team played. We made some mistakes to build on. There are some things we still need to get better in our program and our preparation during the week, leading up all the way to game time and they will see that. And we're going to make an improvement this week.

Q. Is it as simple as just refocusing?
COACH ORGERON: You know, I perceive (ph) to respect your opponent; anybody on any given day can come in here and we knew that Southern Miss was going to come in here. They are a good football team, seventh in the nation in total offense. We knew that as a coaching staff that they could do some things that could hurt us. I think our guys woke up a bit at half-time and just decided to play hard, you know.

Q. The thought process on having the lead but still throwing the football in the second half.
COACH ORGERON: I want to teach our team to play for 60 minutes. You know, you play these spread teams, these explosive teams, on side kicks and stuff like that, the game could just get ugly in the end. We wanted to play a complete game. We wanted to take what they gave us on offense; they gave it to us, so we took it.

Q. Looked like you did a really good job of getting the ball to explosive guys, Malachi and D.J. Is that something you've emphasized the last couple weeks?
COACH ORGERON: Yes, that's what we want. Those guys want the ball. We want them to give them the ball. We want to provide them protection. We want to call the plays in order to give them the football. I don't think we ran the football as well as we wanted to tonight. We ran it better in the second half but that's an area of improvement we know we have to make. He with let them run the football in the first half and again, the penalties, foolish penalties. We need to be disciplined and we still have a long way to go on special teams. And our return game, we have some mistakes we're making and we have to get after it there.

Q. What was your level of concern in the changes in the offensive line, much earlier --
COACH ORGERON: Yeah, you know, I don't know really -- it didn't seem like he got hurt. It did seem like we were moving the ball like we could. There was a couple pressures, I don't know exactly where those pressures came from I think one of them came off our left guard as I watched on the JumboTron, but we'll see. We're going to see how it worked. We're going to reevaluate it tomorrow and obviously Ole Miss has a tremendous defensive line and we're going to have to put together the best position to be able to block those guys.

Q. The starters on defense -- were you trying to get a message to play hard?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah, we had Kevin Toliver in the team room, so he was suspended for the first half. We just had some other guys that didn't practice the way they should. Got to practice hard to play.

Q. Can you share what you said at half-time?
COACH ORGERON: (Laughs) (Laughter).

It was good, believe me. But it was no Vince Lombardi speech or nothing but I just challenged them, make a decision, man, we've got to go.

But we knew we were going to face adversity. Hey, they came in here and punched us in the mouth, let's see what we're going to do and our guys responded very well. I challenged them to play for 60 minutes. I challenged the sideline to be in there, everybody cheering for their teammate, their brother; let's go, let's see what's going to happen. Let's make some big plays on offense, and let's go get the ball on defense and that's what they did.

Q. Were you worried about this after what happened last weak that the team would come out a little flat?
COACH ORGERON: You know, I worried about it today, I really did before. I saw some things in our preparation on Friday. I saw some things in our preparation on Saturday. I said, well, you know, I'm going to see how they going to play. But there are some things identified, our coaching staff identified on Friday, on Saturday, that I think we need to get better at that will prepare us to start faster.

Q. Jamal and Kendall Beckwith, they combined for like 27 tackles.
COACH ORGERON: Those guys are tremendous players. They have tremendous coaches in Dave Aranda and Corey; they are good athletes.

And here is what you need, as you guys know. This is basketball on grass. You have guys that need to make plays in space, and they were trying to run the ball on the perimeter with those speed sweeps and stuff. Those guys made some good plays, and surprising enough, they ran the ball between the tackles more than we would like.

Q. You ran 42 plays tonight. Do you feel like you need to keep the ball a little more than that against Ole Miss?
COACH ORGERON: I think so. Pete Jenkins was chewing Steve Ensminger's butt off for scoring too fast. I said, hold up, Pete don't worry about it. It's okay. Yeah, we're going to have to have some ball control to keep the ball away from them and have some longer drives.

I think that we was just were ineffective running the ball. Give credit to Southern Miss. But also we want explosive plays. We want those bombs, maybe earlier in the game, but we want to be able to throw those long balls.

Q. Do you think your quarterback has gone from pretty good to maybe on the arrow up to something a lot better?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah, I think you bring up a good point there. We're going to be challenged coming up now. The competition is going to get a little bit stiffer and we're going to see if we can make those tight throws. We're going to see if we can make those throws under duress. We're going to see what happens when he gets knocked around a little bit. I think he's able to do that but we're going to get tested. I do believe he's made tremendous improvement.

Q. Did you think Leonard could play against Ole Miss?
COACH ORGERON: We're thinking he can, but I thought he could play two, three weeks ago. I'm not a doctor, that's for sure, but I think he's going to play.

No, we've got to see how the week goes. I'm going to talk to Jack, see if he can practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm not going to push him. If he's not ready, he's not ready. But the feeling is that he's going to be ready but we're not for sure yet.

Q. Do you have a rule there, if you don't practice, they don't play?
COACH ORGERON: You know what, I think that's a good rule, until it gets about game time (laughing). I just think you've got to be smart there making one of those rules, you know.

Q. I know you're going to be celebrating this, but do you look ahead to Ole Miss, how is that going to be for you.
COACH ORGERON: It's going to be for these guys. Whatever happened there happened for a reason and I moved on. I've been a coach at several other places before. I don't have many memories of that place that I want to remember, so I kind of just let it go, and I moved forward and I'm glad to be an LSU Tiger, I tell you that.

Q. What was your impression of John Battle tonight?
COACH ORGERON: I thought he played well. He didn't give up any deep balls. I thought he played well. Obviously we've got to watch the film but he didn't hurt us in any way. We knew what Ricky went down that John was ready, and so I think he did very well.

Q. Dwayne Thomas, too, playing more nickelback?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah, really helped us. Dwayne is a good player. He's a veteran player. He does a good job for us. This was a taxing offense, believe me. Now this offensive coordinator knows what he's doing. He gets his players in space and they attack you man coverage. They can give you some fits.

Q. Did you see any specific for this team with all five touchdowns in the second half coming beyond 20 yards and three beyond 60? -
COACH ORGERON: Well, I didn't know we did that, but here's the deal: We want to take shots. We want to be explosive on offense. We want to be able to let them put eight in the box and be able to create one-on-ones with our wide receivers, give great protection, some of the play-action pass, some are drop back, but a lot of those are play-action passes and throw shots. You've got to loosen up the defense and it worked. We're going to continue to do that.

That was I think one of the most improvements in the game over our first game. We took shots we didn't complete them and it looked like we completed them tonight. But again, we're going to be playing against different opponents.

Q. Malachi with the nice showing tonight.
COACH ORGERON: Good, he was fired up about it. Those guys work hard. Dameyune Craig does a tremendous job of coaching them. They work hard. They have been waiting for this thing.

Q. Are you looking forward to having your first true Tiger Stadium crowd next week at 8:00?
COACH ORGERON: It will be nice. It will be nice. This is why you come to LSU. This is why you sign here. This is why you want to coach here. I'm sure that Tiger Stadium is going to be wild on Saturday night. I'm sure that Ole Miss is going to be ready to play. It's going to be a classic battle.

Thank you.

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