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November 25, 2019

Ed Orgeron

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

ED ORGERON: Welcome, everybody. Tell-the-truth Monday. Excited about our football team, excited about the way we played on Saturday. It was a good win for our team. A couple of things about this weekend, we're honoring 15 seniors on Saturday, man. Those guys have bled purple and gold, they've worked their tail off. They're great young men, great leadership. The last time in Tiger Stadium, I know it's going to be an emotional night for those guys. It's always a great send-off, a first-class deal, and our guys are looking forward to it.

A couple of things about our offense that I think I need to mention. First time in SEC history the team finishes with a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, two 1,000-yard receivers. I said that Saturday night. LSU set a school record for total offense in a season last week versus Arkansas. This year's team has racked up 6,172 yards through 11 games.

Joe Burrow is the first player in SEC history to have 4,000 yards passing and 40 TDs passing in a season. Clyde has become LSU's-1,000 yard rusher. We're so proud of him. And he also has 39 receptions. How about this: Thaddeus Moss has the most catches in a season of any tight end in LSU history, and obviously this is all led by our offensive line of Cushenberry and Lewis. Those guys have started side by side for 24 excellent games.

The reason I said this is when we got hired, this was the offense we wanted to bring to LSU. It took a while. But we're proud Steve Ensminger, Joe Brady the whole offensive staff and what they're doing.

On defense, we held Arkansas to 100 yards in the first half. I knew these guys would have their jaw set to come out and play well. I thought we finished with an excellent game. Defense had three sacks, 11 tackles. You saw six players had a least a tackle for loss.

Let me say this: There was a comment I made after the game and I want to apologize if it came out wrong to Arkansas. I love them. I had a great time up there. I have some good friends up there. By no means was that to demean them, that was just the mood of our football team, and we have bigger goals down the road. So if I said something wrong, I apologize to them. I know those guys are some good guys up there. Really appreciate those guys.

All right, on to Texas A&M, good football team, well-coached football team. They've got good players. This is going to be a big challenge for our team, and we have to take the emotions out of last year, focus in on this year. This is a different football team. We're playing them at home. We're going to have to play a complete game to win this game.

On offense they're very multiple, pro-style, a little spread style, 419 yards per game. Kellen Mond, Isaiah Spiller, running back, big receivers. They gave us problems last year. They're back. They're good, led by Jhamon Ausbon. A very, very challenging task for our defense.

On defense they're a 4-3 scheme. They're only giving up 20 points a game, 129 rushing, 192 passing. They've got an awesome defensive line. Those guys play well. They make plays, got big linebackers that can run. A team with a lot of talent, a well-coached football team. It's going to be one excellent game at Tiger Stadium.

I know our fans are going to be there. I can't wait to see them for the Tiger walk. Our last game in the stadium, we're 11-0 and I know our fans are proud of us, and I'm proud of our fans.

Any questions?

Q. Dating back to last year's game, that was one where you got a Gatorade shower there before the end. What are your memories of that and how that --
ED ORGERON: Well, just the Gatorade shower was obviously a little premature. Our guys were fired up. We thought that we won the game three or four times. We didn't, obviously, but you know, that's last year so we've got to let that thing go, and we've got to focus on this year. Last year don't matter. There's different players on this team. There's different players on their team, just like when we played Alabama. Those last eight games didn't matter. This is about this year, about focusing in on this team.

Q. I'm not sure if I ever heard you speak about what exactly happened on the field last year with Dameyune Craig and Steve Kragthorpe and all that stuff. What happened after the game?
ED ORGERON: Well, you know, it was a mess. It was a mess, and that's all I want to say about it. Obviously I wasn't part of it. I went to shake hands with Jimbo, and after I heard about it, all this stuff. But everybody knows what happened. It was a mess that shouldn't have happened, and I'm sorry that it did happen.

Q. Before the Florida game this year you said there had been some pushing and shoving between the two teams in the past before the game. Obviously with the emotions this high you don't want those things to happen this time?
ED ORGERON: We don't want that again. We're going to have our coaches out before we stretch. I don't want that stuff. I want to win the game when the ball is snapped.

Q. What's the plan for Grant Delpit this week, and then after seeing Mo Hampton on film, just your thought on how he played?
ED ORGERON: I like the way Mo played. I think he did some really good things. The first play was the same play that Ole Miss ran against us. He made a tackle, which was a nice tackle, saved it from making a big play.

Grant is full speed. I just talked to Jack. He's going to work out today and he's going to practice every day this week. I think the rest helped him.

Q. And I didn't have a chance to ask you on Saturday, but the celebration penalties, I guess, is there an explanation for that, something you want to tell the guys going forward, and can you explain to me is there a rule that maybe no one knows about?
ED ORGERON: I was talking to somebody outside. I never thought that I'd have to tell our offense, a celebration for scoring so much points. It's a good problem to have. But our guys got to calm it down a little bit. I talked to Clyde. You know, they do their little dance in there, and we'll find out what's the rule. I think you can do it as long as it's not excessive. But I guess they felt that it was excessive.

Q. Last year you guys on the way back from that game you had that fog issue and flew into New Orleans and were trapped there. What do you remember from that whole part of the trip?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I actually forgot that. Thank you for reminding me. We just felt -- like I said after the game, we felt helpless. I seen Jones getting three IVs, guys hurt. They gave everything they had. I don't know how many hours we played for. We just felt helpless and then we just felt that when our time comes we're going to do something about it, and now's the time.

Q. I'm curious, how long did it take for your shirt to dry after the Gatorade bath?
ED ORGERON: I don't know. There's so many things happening right there, like in the game, you've got to shake it off, man. But I stunk pretty well after the game, I can tell you that.

Q. Did anybody time you? You ran about 40 yards to call a time-out a couple times in those overtimes. Anybody time your 40 on that?
ED ORGERON: No, but the second one I almost pulled a hamstring, and that would not look good on TV.

Q. This week maybe a message to your team is let's play so well that we take the game out of everybody else's hands, unlike last year when it was decided kind of in somebody else's hands?
ED ORGERON: Say that again.

Q. Will you maybe tell your team let's play so well that we decide this take and nobody else decides it?
ED ORGERON: That's a good point. I'm going to mention that. That's a good point. I told them that after the game. I said, you know, although those things happen, we've got to look at the plays that we could have played, the plays -- let's face it, we didn't play well on defense. I watched the film again this morning. There's a lot of things that we've got to get better at starting today. They're very challenged and they're very well-coached.

Q. Are you a fan of the current college football overtime format?
ED ORGERON: Well, I haven't gone through it, so we'll see. I think it's a little bit better, obviously. We'll see how it works. I haven't seen many instances where people are doing it.

Q. Just the schedule this week, do you feel that you need to get more in in a shorter amount of time because of the holiday?
ED ORGERON: You know, we're going to have a regular Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Wednesday night we're going to have a Thanksgiving dinner at our nutrition center and we'll meet 7:00 on Thursday morning and have a regular Thursday practice. So as far as the players, they're not going to miss anything. I think it puts a little crunch on the coaches on Wednesday night to watch the film, prepare for a Thursday meeting, but our guys are used to doing that.

Q. And Kellen Mond as a quarterback over there, I don't know where he is as far as their expectations, but what do you see out of him as a quarterback that he's potentially dangerous?
ED ORGERON: He's dangerous. He's dangerous. Last year he had a lights-out game against us, running the ball, throwing the ball, big receivers, great scheme. I think this is one of the better players we're going to see all year.

Q. With Joe Burrow, how big of a difference does it make in a game to eliminate incompletions? Like from him last year to this, just his percentage is so high, how does that help in a game to make a difference?
ED ORGERON: Well, it helps the flow of the game. It helps the flow of the game. It keeps the clock moving. It helps us control the clock. You know, when it's an incompletion, the clock stops, and we want to control the time of possession, so that helps us there. It helps us gain yards, obviously, move the quarterback, and it looks sharp. But I think it's a combination of skill, no question. It's a combination of intelligence. It's a combination of his coaching and the connection he has with his receivers.

Q. There's several quarterbacks that are above 70 percent this season. 10 years ago, 20 years ago that's probably not the case. Why do you think people are more accurate now?
ED ORGERON: I think because of the short passes, the short passing games. People are in the spread. They're in the shotgun. There's a lot of quick throws. There's a lot of good reads you get in empty. They've got to tell you what they're in, man or zone. You can figure it out real quick, so I think the spread offense has helped that.

Q. No way to get Joe Burrow one more year here, right?
ED ORGERON: I can try, but I don't think so. I don't think it's going to happen.

Q. His last game, a guy that's only been here two years, probably no one has made a bigger impact in a shorter period of time. Can you can just speak to that?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, first of all, like I said, I don't know, you say these things and maybe it'll come out wrong. I think he's one of the top most important recruits LSU has had in a long time. I'm not saying he's the most and I don't rank and all that stuff, but for what he's done for our program, I knew that -- I grew up watching Bert Jones. I saw Tommy Hodson. I saw the great quarterbacks that LSU had, and we always wanted a great one, and we got one. Happy for that. I'm happy that we could put in the offense that we finally wanted at LSU. We broke all kind of records, and it's our first year in it. I feel like we're just getting started. I feel like we're going to get quarterbacks. I don't know if they're going to be as good as Joe but that can operate within this system. We'll get receivers that can operate within this system, and we're going to continue on.

Q. How has Adrian Magee matured over the course of his career, and how did you see him respond when midway through the season Ed Ingram comes back but he's been able to keep his job in the starting lineup so far?
ED ORGERON: I would grade him a 10 in maturity. The way he's matured. I coached him -- I was his scout team coach. Me and him -- I coached him for a year. Then he came here, good kid, just had to learn how to work a little harder, and he just kept on working and working and working. I give him a 10 in maturity. I think that his character is very high. He's worked very hard. He's played left guard and left tackle, so Big Charles is going to be back at left tackle. I asked Coach who he wanted to start. He said, I want Adrian Magee to start at left guard, and Ed Ingram is a good player, so he has competed and he has earned that position, and I'm happy for him.

Q. I had to laugh during the game the guys calling the game were asking why you still had guys in the secondary at the end of the game and why you didn't have other people in there, and you even joked a few weeks ago about trying to recruit offensive players to play in the defensive backfield. How much of a concern is that? Where are you going forward?
ED ORGERON: We're very thin back there. Very thin. We didn't have many players to put back in because of injuries and of other things. We have to keep them healthy. We're not able to do the things that we want to do on defense, with some packages, with some substitutions. We've just got to make the best of it.

Q. Joe Burrow mentioned on Saturday that the way that the way the offense had to produce in that game last year, because you guys had no choice but to score with continuous overtimes, that perhaps that kind of unlocked a little something as you guys made the offensive change. Do you feel like that offense grew up that night?
ED ORGERON: No question, and it set the tone for the bowl. I think that the performance of that offense that night and the performance of Joe I thought was phenomenal, the way he operated and he ran the ball. He gave everything he had. He tried to put the team on his shoulders and win the game, and it just built. That momentum built into the practices. I thought we had some great practices. We put in some new routes, a couple of new protections, and then I thought in the bowl game he was lights out.

Q. How big a rivalry in your opinion is this, one? And two, are these kind of games important as far as keeping a fellow SEC West rival out of your backyard when it comes to recruiting?
ED ORGERON: Sure. I think it's a rivalry. I'm not an LSU expert to say what's the best rival, what it is, but our guys -- we beat them for a long time and they beat us last year and it hurt. They have a good team. Coach Fisher is a good coach. He's been here. We all know about it. This is competitive. So they have great players. We have great players. They have great coaches. It's going to be a heck of a game, and it is, yes. We need to beat the other schools. That helps us in recruiting and also helps us in recruiting in Houston. Houston is one of our biggest areas of recruiting, so we beat Texas, and beating Texas A&M helps us.

Q. Could you explain the strategy behind fair catching every kickoff?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. Well, you get it at the 25, and we think that's a good starting spot. We feel that most of the time when you catch it, you're on the 5 or the 1, and you're probably going to get to the 20 or the 25, so fair catching puts us on the 25.

Q. Regardless of how many games you win, this will be the last time this team plays in Tiger Stadium. There's sometimes emotions that go along with that, but is there a message to the fan base, like this is your chance to get out and see this team?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, no question. Thank you for saying that. We need the crowd. I come back to the Georgia game last year, that crowd won the game for us. Go back to the Florida game, that crowd won the game for us. Auburn game, the crowd is our most important factor in these games. And the louder they get, the earlier they get up in the morning, the more they get prepared, I love the way they get prepared on Saturday. Just prepare as much as you can, it's Thanksgiving, let's enjoy it, come in there, make it the loudest we possibly can because there's no looking back. The point where we're at right now, there's no looking back. Every game is the biggest game.

Q. And then secondly, with the implementation of so many spread offenses around the country, does it change the way you look at the running back position and the versatility that's now expected out of that position?
ED ORGERON: You know, Clyde is perfect for it. The little running back, scat back, especially the back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. The big, bruising tailback, not to say that he can't play in this offense, but it just doesn't fit.

Q. Two questions, one, is Saahdiq available for the rest of the season there, and just how have you -- from injuries to coaches' decisions, how have you approached managing the roster throughout the season?
ED ORGERON: First of all, you have things that occur and you have to make a plan. We don't blink, whatever it is. Saahdiq is available this game. That's all I can say right now. I know for sure he's going to be available this game, and hopefully he's available the rest of the season. But we've got to take that one game at a time. So we managed the roster, I think Coach Cregg has done a tremendous job. We didn't blink. Dare Rosenthal has came in and played well for us, Charles played well for us, Adrian Magee, so those guys have come in and played well. So I've just got to give the credit to Coach James Cregg.

Q. Scott Woodward obviously came here from Texas A&M. Just curious in the six, seven months, what have been you guys' decisions of making this the new normal and just your thoughts about the program heading into the future.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he's been great. He comes every day. He knows more about recruiting than most people I've met. He talks to me every Sunday. We talk about the game. He's in the locker room. He's very supportive. He talks to the players, talks to the coaches. He's been phenomenal. Ever since the day he's come in there, he's been an asset, been phenomenal. Everything I've asked him for, which has been much, he's given it to us, in order to be successful. He wants to win just like we do.

Q. I realize that you're saying in terms of personnel and film study to leave last year's game behind; it's new stuff this year. But it may be your experience that a little bit of emotion can be helpful in a sport like football, so to what extent, what are the things that you do want them, if anything, to hold on to from last year, whether it's the feeling coming off the field or what?
ED ORGERON: Well, internal motivation is always good, regardless of where you get it. And these guys will be internally motivated to play well in this game. I know they will. But they also understand that that doesn't win games. You have to go out there and perform. You have to take care of the football, take care of your fundamentals and execute. We're going to be sky high, but we can't be too high to where we're committing a bunch of penalties and all that stuff, but it's going to be an emotional game because of what happened last year, because of where we're at right now. We're 11-0, we want to finish the season undefeated. We know what's ahead of us. It's our last game in Tiger Stadium, so hey, that's why you play football, to enjoy. That's why you coach. It'll be very emotional Saturday night. I can't wait.

Q. Joe mentioned at one point you ran out of two-point plays because of how long the game went. How taxing was it on the coaches?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we did. Ensminger was on the headset: Anybody got a two-point play? In fact, because of that game, I put a period in on every Thursday, two-point plays and trick plays. So we practice two-point plays. We try to get two-point plays off of NFL teams. The spring lead they had, there was a nice little trick plays and stuff like that. So we have a repertoire now that we have enough if we get into battle that we're going to be ready.

Q. It was impossible to watch football Saturday without hearing conversation about the Heisman Trophy, and most of it was how can player X catch Joe Burrow. I know you haven't talked much about individual awards but you've been on staffs where guys have won the Heisman. From your experience how important or is it important for promotion for the award, for campaigning for an award like that?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I'm for it. I'm for it. As much as we can do for Joe, I'm for it. We don't do it inside the meeting room, but myself personally, I know in my heart he's the best player in the country. I think he ought to win it. I'm biased but that's how I feel. It's going to be great for the university, it'll be great for Joe. He deserves it. And the best thing about Joe, he don't want to talk about it, he just wants to talk about the next game. He's a very unselfish player but very deserving of the award.

Q. Jacob Phillips, I think he's second in the SEC in tackles. I saw a tweet from Cody, I think he's only missed like two tackles the entire year. We don't talk about him a lot. What has Jacob Phillips meant to this team?
ED ORGERON: We started off, it was Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen and Michael in a competition, and I'm so proud of those guys, man. They stuck together. You know in this transfer portal world and all this stuff, things don't go your way, some kids leave. Those kids were going to sit there and compete, and they did, and I think it worked out for all three of them to be honest with you. But Jacob Phillips was -- we had to replace Devin White, and I think that him and Patrick Queen both have played very well both games this year. I think he has a lot of football ahead of him.

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