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LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 7, 2016
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
COACH ORGERON: Today is Tell the Truth Monday. Truth is, we played a very well-coached Alabama team, very good Alabama team. Probably the best front seven we've seen all year. Maybe the best front seven that's been in college football for a while. My job as a head coach today is to put it away. We're going to talk to the team, going to identify the things that went wrong and things that went well, and it's awfully important, especially this week, that we forget about last week and move on to Arkansas, a very tough opponent.
On offense, some of the things that we didn't do well and obviously, you guys know, we got the ball in plus territory twice, and we came away with no points. I thought that was critical in the ball game that we were able to get points early. The outcome would have been a little bit different or the game would have been in our control a little bit. On offense, it came down again to execution, to pass protection, to run blocking, poor job on substitution, critical times cost us two time-outs. And third and three, delay of game at the 35 yard line, the score was 0-0 and next play was a sack. I thought that was critical. We met as a staff and we met offensively, and we identified some things that we need to fix. Obviously, there's some things we need to fix in protection, some plays didn't work, and we need to communicate better on the sideline, getting the plays on time so we don't have critical mistakes. Obviously, there's receivers that were open, Len didn't get the ball to them; sometimes under pressure, sometimes not. We need to identify those things and get better at them this week.
On defense, we're pleased with the way we played. Since we took over Dave Aranda's defense, held opponents scoreless. 10 out of 16 quarters, we had Alabama to a season low to points ten. Total yards 323 and passing yards 106. That was a tremendous job by our team, first held scoreless since 2007. For the first time since 2007 in the first half, but we did not play for 60 minutes. We let the quarterback make too long runs on us. We missed some tackles, we missed some assignments, so, again, it came down to execution and tackling for 60 minutes.
On special teams, I was very pleased with the play of the special teams. I think we made improvement over the last couple of weeks. We are down five punts inside the 12 yard line, an average of 41 yards, and our kick-off return averaged 27 yards per return. Obviously, we're disappointed with the catching the punt. We don't want to catch it inside the 10 yard line. It was a poor decision by Tre'Davious, and I will get that fixed. I thought the late hit on the quarterback, was third down and five against two yards, kept the drive alive. It resulted in a touchdown that was a critical, critical penalty in the ball game. These are the things we're going to talk to, with the team. I know they're going to be disappointed. I know they gave their heart and soul, and they expected to win this game, and throughout the game they thought they were going to win the game, and they gave it everything they had. For that I want to commend their effort. It was a great night in Tiger Stadium. It was a classic LSU/Alabama match, a great Tiger walk, all the former players come. What a great atmosphere it was, and that was just -- didn't get the result that we wanted, but it's time to move on. This is game five of our new season. We promised each other, we're going to take it one game at a time. Like I said, it's a going to be important to put this away and move on a tough, very tough, Arkansas team who plays very good at home. Only loss at home, I believe is to Alabama, and I believe they put 30 points on Alabama. Coach Bielema's team is a very physical football team. They always have. They had almost 300 yards rushing against us last year. They've beaten us three years in a row. They're going to come into this game with confidence. We need to go on the road and really play a tough, physical Arkansas game, but we're ready to do that.
Their turnover margin is even. Offense is pro style. We'll see a lot more 21, 12 and 23 personnel with two backs in the backfield, more than we've seen. They lead the S.E.C in time of possession. Their quarterback junior, Austin Allen, is a very good passer. He's a very good mobile quarterback, along with Rawleigh Williams, No. 22, has almost 1,000 yards rushing. They have a gigantic offensive line. They are very big. Their tackle's 6'10", 300 some pounds, they are very good, they are very well coached. They run the wham, they run the pin and pull schemes, the powers, it's a very pro style office. Tough, tough, tough. They use their tight ends well. Tight ends run block well, and they use them in the passing game fantastic.
On defense, they have six return starters, they're giving up 407 yards per game, almost 200 yards rushing and 208 yards passing. This is going to be a tremendous week for us. Game five of our new season, and it's going to be a challenging week to get over our very tough loss, and our first one of our season, but we must respond.
Q. Hey, Coach, Leonard, last year's loss to Alabama really kind of put him in poor spirits and everything. How is he handling this one, and what do you see with him in the final three games with people talking to him about the NFL and all the different things?
COACH ORGERON: I expect him to play well. I expect him to come back with a great attitude. I expect him to shake it off and have a good game against Arkansas and finish strong. I know a lot of guys want to finish strong, a lot of seniors and a lot of juniors, they came back. I think we're just getting started, to be honest with you. I think we found something in that football game that we hadn't had to do. We played deep as a family. We overcame some adversity. We fought a very good football team. We're not going to -- there's no moral victory. We played Alabama 10-0. We played them very tight. It was scoreless going into the fourth quarter. We got a lot of things to build in them, be very positive with our team, and I know Leonard will, too.
Q. Coach, with the Alabama game, two weeks of lead-up, so much going into that game, you've been a part of a couple of them now here at LSU, but how taxing is it mentally for you, for your guys and for your team going into that game and obviously coming up with the loss?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. I think we all felt it yesterday. I mean all of us had to deal with some kind of emotional letdown. I think all of us had that hurt in our belly, but when we get around each other today, it's going to be positive. We look forward to it. When we started this thing in our new season, we promised each other we're going to take it one game at a time. I think it's a mindset whether we've done well. Look, we beat some teams very handily. We made offensive records, and we had to go back the next day and say listen, we got to forget about it, move forward, just the same approach. It will be the same approach this week, and I think the guys will handle it well.
Q. Coach, you mentioned the penalty on Hurts. Do you plan to submit that one or any others to the league office for review or explanation?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. We have several ones we're going to send over to the league office. I usually don't do it, but this week I did. But I think there were some very questionable things out there that happened, and I would like to know the explanations.
Q. Hey, Coach, along the train of thought there, the three unsportsmanlike, that first hit that started everything, should that have been called differently in your mind?
COACH ORGERON: Well, it was called the way it was called and we sent some stuff in. We're going to get an interpretation, and I'm going let the league office let me know what their interpretation is and just follow that.
Q. Coach, Alabama has obviously gone into a different quarterback than they used to have, and they're employing a lot more spread techniques.
COACH ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. And Ole Miss had a lot of success over the last three years, not only moving the football but scoring?
COACH ORGERON: Yes.
Q. Does that maybe give you a pause to rethink about the approach, not this year, that you would take in the future about what you do against a team like that that has such a great defensive front?
COACH ORGERON: Yes. No question. I mean, there are some things that we looked at. Hindsight is 20/20. We should have protected the quarterback better. There's some things that we need to do against a great defensive front. There's some -- there's a certain type of offensive schemes that you can spread people out, have a mobile quarterback that would help against that. There's no question. There's more things that you could do. I think the spread offense is here to stay. Spread offensive coaches are here to stay. Those guys will score 40, 45 points until they come against Dave Aranda.
Q. Coach, with the possibility of an S.E.C. Championship now off the table, and that was obviously a goal for your guys, what do you tell them to motivate them for the rest of the season to prevent the letdown that's happened the past few years?
COACH ORGERON: Let me say this to you: When we took over the team, we didn't talk about any goals. We were going to play with energy. We were going to play with excitement, and we were going to play one game at a time and none of that has changed. There was no talk of championships, there was no talk about the future. There was talk about less practice better today. Let's take care of the day, and let's take it one game at a time, and that remains.
Q. Ed, it's kind of rare you face a pro style offense. What does it mean for your defense as far as personnel? How will it look differently than it has?
COACH ORGERON: Well, playing against a pro style offense, yeah, obviously, we're going to have to play more base. We're going to have to hone down our run skills, tackling, those guys are really good. I watched the film this morning, two yards, two yards, 70, two yards, two yards, 60, very explosive plays. They try to wear you down. They bring in different personnels. We have to be ready to play our base and dig in play against the run. This quarterback's very good and can throw the ball.
Q. Coach, after reviewing your offensive attack against Alabama, is there anything you would change as far as the game plan is concerned, and could Brandon have helped at all, a guy that can scramble a bit and has a big arm?
COACH ORGERON: Yes, we're going to change a lot of stuff. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20. I gave it to coach Ensminger and those guys to manage their group and not second-guess anything, so everybody can fit out after what we're told, but before those guys, they did a tremendous job for us, for the LSU family in three weeks, so I'm not going to second-guess. Obviously, we see some things that didn't work. We all saw that. In order for us to take out Danny, we would have to really think that Brantley can go in there and do a better job and he'd have to show us that in practice and right now, we don't believe that. Right now, we believe that Danny is our quarterback, not that Brantley can't play or anything like that. We think that Danny gives us our best chance to win.
Q. Coach, as good as Arkansas has been at controlling the time of possession, will you guys try and change the offensive game plan and play calling to keep your defense off the field or just trust that your defense can be efficient?
COACH ORGERON: I trust our defense will be efficient. You know, in order for us to have success, we need to do what our offense does best. You know, when you go back to these first three games we played, we ran the ball very effectively. We had some great play action. We took shots down the field. We managed the clock. We had some long drives. We got to go back to do that. No. Obviously, the team that we just played had a lot to do with it because we couldn't block their front seven.
Q. Coach, what do you make of Bret Bielema's coaching style? He's very player friendly like yourself. What impresses you the most about him?
COACH ORGERON: I like him. I think he's done a very good job. I loved his recruiting. I went there a couple years ago with my -- on my year off and watched him practice. I love the way he runs his football team. It's the biggest football team I've ever seen in college football. His lines are bigger than some NFL teams. I like his physical style approach. He's a player's coach and a good recruiter. I think he's done a fantastic job. I spent two years in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's a wonderful place. In fact, I loved it. It was one of my favorite places I ever coached, but it's not easy to recruit up there. They're doing a good job of recruiting two and three-star players and developing them into guys that are playing like five-star players.
Q. Coach, your review of Danny Etling on the tape, the throws with the pressure aside, the ones he misfired on, was he just nervous?
COACH ORGERON: It seemed like it. It sure did. I mean, it was totally out of character. There were some plays, the receivers were wide open. I think it was the first third down. He through the ball into the dirt. Seemed like he was nervous or anticipating getting hit. I don't know. I didn't see him yet. I didn't talk to him. It was totally unlike his character, but he did not play well.
Q. Speaking of character, the opportunity for your team to show their character in the last couple games following that disappointing loss, how much of an opportunity is that?
COACH ORGERON: Say it again now.
Q. Just the opportunity to show resiliency after that disappointment.
COACH ORGERON: Yes. There's no question I know we're going to bounce back. I know these guys, I know this team, I've been with them, and this is not going to affect us. This last game will not let game four affect game five. We're going to be mentally tough. We're going to go up there. We know how tough Arkansas is to play, especially in Fayetteville. This is a big game for Arkansas. This is a big game for us. But as game five all season, we'll continue the same approach and get better. I believe we're just getting started.
Q. Hey, Coach, I know some of the fans were disappointed the disparity in how you used Leonard and Derrius. I think it was like 17 to 2. Can you speak to that?
COACH ORGERON: Well, I think the game plan called for us to give Leonard the ball as much as we could. We knew how much he wanted it, and we wanted to give him that opportunity, and I feel bad that we wasn't able to put him in the position to make plays. You guys saw it. We tried throwing him passes. We tried doing everything we possibly could. Just nothing was working that night. I feel bad for Leonard, I feel bad for our team. I thought Derrius ran the ball, he ran it twice, he ran it very well. He's tough, we like Derrius, and hopefully we use him more this game.
Q. Coach, if it turns out like a lot of people think, Alabama will have a fifth offensive lineman drafted in the first round since 2013. Looking at the video, do you think that was a difference in the game and is that an area, moving forward, in the future, that you think you would have to make a ramp up there?
COACH ORGERON: You meant --
Q. Their offensive line and your offensive line.
COACH ORGERON: Oh, yeah. Yes. I got you.
Q. Their offensive line, they had guys we never heard of.
COACH ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. Well, we heard of them, but guys who are far less famous than Leonard averaging four yards a carry. Do you think that's a big thing?
COACH ORGERON: No question, no question. And the one that's the left tackle at Alabama should be here. So, we need to get better. We need to get bigger, we need to get stronger, and we need to have guys get drafted in the first round to be able to block first-rounders on the other side. I think you bring up a very good point.
Q. Coach, obviously the trend the last couple years has been a little bit of a letdown the week after Alabama. Do you feel this group kind of takes pride in the fact they can be the team that kind of reverses that trend?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. Listen. I do believe the mindset is going to be game five. I do believe we have some guys that came back that want to finish very strong, the older guys on this football team. We have a lot of juniors that came back. They want to finish strong. I'm sure they are thinking of going to a good bowl game. They want to finish with a winning season. They want to finish and give everything to LSU. We have a lot riding on the line.
Q. Ed, I think there's -- Ed, I think there's 10 to 12 Louisiana guys on Arkansas's roster. What is that going to be like that dynamic facing guys from this state?
COACH ORGERON: It means a lot to them. We worked out 10 or 12. I think five are starting. It means a lot to those guys. Listen. This is never going to be about them. This is always going be about us. It's going to be our preparation this week. Giving it everything we got, one day at the time. It think today's Tell the Truth Monday is probably the most significant Monday we've had all season, the way we are going to approach this, the way we're going to talk to the team, the way we're going to handle it, and the way they are going to put it away, and then we'll come back tomorrow for Competition Tuesday, take it one day at a time. It's our first day traveling together. I really expect them to treat this as a business trip, to walk om the plane expecting to play well, take care of their family and take care of their unit. I think it will be a great week for the Tigers.
Q. Coach, do you think the later kickoff time will be an advantage or make a difference in the game?
COACH ORGERON: Say it again.
Q. Do you think the late kick-off time will be an advantage or make a difference in you guys' game?
COACH ORGERON: I couldn't hear the second word.
Q. The late kick-off time. Do you think it's an advantage or make a difference at all?
COACH ORGERON: The late kick off. Whatever it is it is. In the back of our mind, we mind arrangements to be very organized during the day, and whatever time it is, we're going to get it.
Q. This is your first time taking this team on the road as you just alluded to. Do you have to do anything differently from those first two trips way back at the beginning of the season to Auburn and Wisconsin?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. A win. Good question, though. We're going to get crowd noise piped in, and really talk about focus, about why we're on the trip, motivate them, have a great team meeting on Friday night. You know, we do a different routine now than we have down the road in the past. We feel that on Saturday, we have tremendous meetings. We have tremendous meetings that gear up to the time we get on the bus, we make sure we're totally focused in. Those types of things.
Q. Ed, do you have an update on K.J. Malone at this point, or --
COACH ORGERON: I think he's going to be fine.
Q. Coach, the boot that the two teams play for, Arkansas, to them it seems like it's really a big deal, and here it just hasn't translated that way. What's your opinion on that?
COACH ORGERON: I think you're right on that. I think that -- like I said, this -- look, I have in-laws in Arkansas. I know what it means to them. This is a -- I coached at Arkansas. I know that -- and I coached at other schools in the S.E.C. and it just seemed like every time somebody plays LSU, it's their game of the year, and I get that. That's why you come here. And although it would be nice to bring the boot home, you know, I don't think that will be our single most motivation this week.
Anybody else? Thank you. Guys, have a great day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports