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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 2, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our College Football Playoff call with the LSU players. We're joined today by Joe Burrow and Grant Delpit. I'm Brett Daniels with the College Football Playoff and I'd like to welcome everyone and first say congratulations to both players on an impressive Peach Bowl victory. We look forward to seeing you guys in New Orleans next week.
Q. Joe, I wanted to know how much of the roots of this offense can you trace back to what Sean Payton and Drew Brees are doing with the Saints, and how much have you studied them to kind of help in your development?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I've studied that offense all off-season. That's basically what we do. We do a lot of the same stuff with Coach Joe coming from there. So yeah, I watched a lot of Drew, a lot of the Saints in the off-season to kind of figure out his footwork and his eyes, certain concepts.
Q. Grant, you've had a perfect record as a team, you've won the Thorpe Award, but it does seem like it's been a little bit of a tricky season for you as far as switching positions, switching roles and getting hurt. Can you describe what this season has been like for you, so much success as a team but some difficulties to deal with individually?
GRANT DELPIT: Oh, yeah, you know, that's how I am. I'm all about the results of the team. I'm a team player. So whatever position they put me, I'm going to play it. I was playing a lot of free safety this year in the middle of the field, and just trying to get other guys in position to make plays like Jacoby being down around the ball a lot. Just whatever we've got to do to win games, that's what we try to do here, and I think we've done a pretty good job of that so far.
Q. How are you feeling, and how is your health now compared to let's say toward the end of the season?
GRANT DELPIT: Yeah, the ankle was hurting pretty bad the second half of the season a little bit, but now towards the end of it it's feeling pretty good. I consider myself close to 100 percent, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Q. Joe, Trevor mentioned the other day that he met you at the Manning Academy, and I was wondering what were those conversations like, if you had any, and what are the things about his quarterback style of play that maybe you enjoy watching?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, we got to spend some time together. That was a fun week. We got to spend time with a lot of quarterbacks around the country. He's a super fluid guy for how big he is. He's fun to watch. You can tell he's a great competitor, tough guy. I respect those kind of guys.
Q. I know you'll get asked questions about the quarterback match-up here and there and I know you're not going up against him, but when you get in those big-time match-ups with other quarterbacks, do you ever catch yourself watching what they're doing during the game?
JOE BURROW: No, not at all. We're focused on going up against the defense and trying to beat what they throw at us. So I'll watch our defense out there and obviously watch the game, but we're focused on going up against their defense.
Q. Joe, there's often a feeling that comes to college football that there's going to be at least one weekend, one Saturday when college-aged kids come out flat or unfocused, but you've played 14 games, and it doesn't seem like that's happened at all really. Can you think of one game this year where you maybe weren't as sharp in the beginning as you would like, and why have a group of college-aged kids been so focused all year long?
JOE BURROW: I think that's a tough question to answer right now looking back. There were obviously some games where we were not as sharp as others, but we have a mature group of guys that is focused on winning and focused on doing their job, and we've put in a lot of work for this season. If we come out and lay an egg, we're pretty disappointed in ourselves every single week. So we try to do our job every week and execute to the best of our ability.
Q. In the NFL and I guess now with the College Football Playoff, the feeling is you want to be playing your best football at this time of the year. After your performance against Georgia and now Oklahoma, do you guys feel like you're playing your best football right now?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think our team as a whole is playing our best football. Our defense has become one of the best in the country, and they've worked really hard to get there. I think as an offense obviously there's still some room to improve, but I think we're very explosive right now, and our O-line is playing their best ball of the season.
Q. Joe, you worked in a pretty explosive offense at Ohio State when you were backing up J.T., but what makes this particular offense so much more explosive than most of what we've seen in college football?
JOE BURROW: We have great players. We have five NFL guys in routes every single snap, and it's tough to cover. You kind of have to pick your poison. We have three receivers that can beat you at all times and a tight end and a running back that can beat you in routes, as well. We're a tough match-up for a lot of people, and then I just try to get the ball in their hands on time and accurately and then let them do the rest.
Q. Joe, I wanted to ask you during your time at Ohio State, how much did you work with Corey Dennis, and was there anything that he did in particular to help you develop as a quarterback?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I think Corey is going to be a really good coach for a long time. I texted him as soon as I saw the news and was fired up for him. He's worked for that for a long time, and there's nobody more deserving. He's going to be a really good coach. I'm excited for him.
Q. Are there particular things that he brings to that quarterback room at Ohio State that you think are going to make him a successful coach?
JOE BURROW: I think the best thing for Corey was learning under Coach Day for a couple of years. I think that really helped him, and I think he's going to be one of the best recruiters in the country, as well. He works his tail off, and he has for a long time. I'm excited to get on the phone with him next week and talk a little ball and see his mindset, but he's a really good coach, really good person, and he's going to do a really good job.
Q. Grant, I was just curious, the past three games would you circle or put your finger on kind of the main reasons the defense has seemingly elevated their game to a whole different level?
GRANT DELPIT: It's hard to say. I don't know. I think after the Ole Miss game, it was kind of a turnaround for us. It wasn't our best performance, and I think we sat down as a defense and just saw what we did wrong, understood that some teams might try to make those plays and run it against us again. And I think we just kind of lit a fire and started playing LSU football after that. So hopefully this last game we can keep it going.
Q. Joe, we ask your teammates to talk about you a lot, so I'm going to ask you to talk about Grant. Do you get a sense of how important he is to the defense, maybe in practice? I don't know how much you get to study your own defense, but can you give us an explanation of how important he is to the defense?
JOE BURROW: Well, I think you saw it when he finally got healthy. He was being tough all year and battling through injuries, and he got healthy towards the end of the year, and that was kind of the turning point of our defense. I think that just shows how important he is. He's a great player and most importantly a great person and great leader.
Q. Justin Jefferson, he seems to have a real talent and ability to judge the ball in the air and know when to go up and know when to make that catch. I guess all your receivers are like that. Is that an instinct, a God-given ability, something they work on a lot? How do they know when to make that play?
JOE BURROW: You know, I think it's a little of both. I think talent only gets you so far, and obviously they got to LSU because they're really good at that, but then they worked at it this off-season and became three -- the best receiving trio in the country.
They've worked so hard for it, and I think Justin felt a little disrespected after the year with all the awards and wanted to come out in this game and prove to the country that he was one of the best guys out there, and I think he did it.
Q. How excited are you to play this game when you know it's in New Orleans and you know that the whole city, the whole state is going to be on fire, but at the same time you've got a week and a half to prepare and have to kind of stay grounded and not get too excited?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, I'm very excited, but a game like this you just have to stay in your routine and don't stray from it. You can really pump yourself up and get a little too excited, but I'm just going to stay in my routine, do what I've been doing, and treat it like any other week.
Q. Grant, how different is it trying to stop this offense at practice versus your offense the first couple years you were at LSU?
GRANT DELPIT: Way harder, for one. But especially in camp we knew that they were going to be good. We knew that either they were going to be really good or we were going to be bad because they were putting up a lot of yards, a lot of points on us in all the scrimmages.
Q. When did you guys figure out that it's going to be them being good and not you being bad?
GRANT DELPIT: I don't know, probably first game of the season. We almost had a shutout -- did we have a shutout the first game of the season? Yeah, probably when the season started, just seeing those guys slinging the ball around, getting the ball into playmakers' hands. It was great to see. We knew we had a great team then, we just had to keep going.
Q. Joe, when you guys found out that you had beat Oklahoma on Saturday, were you hoping at all that you'd get the opportunity to play Ohio State in the National Championship game?
JOE BURROW: You know, it would have been fun to play a lot of my old teammates and my old friends. There would have been some trash talk and some friendly trash talk and it would have been a lot of fun, but we'll play whoever. We're excited to get the opportunity to play.
Q. Did you watch that game at all, and what was it like kind of seeing those guys playing in that game?
JOE BURROW: I did watch the game, yeah. It was a fun game to watch. Everyone was battling their tails off, and I know a lot of those guys worked so hard to get to that moment, and being with them for three years, it was kind of sad a little bit to see their season end like that. But I know they worked really hard to get there, and we're excited to get the opportunity to play in this game.
Q. Grant, I was just curious if you could talk about Trevor Lawrence, your thoughts on him, and then also, what makes what you see on film of Clemson's offense so difficult to slow down and stop?
GRANT DELPIT: First of all, I was watching the game, the Ohio State game some, run the ball for a seven-yard touchdown, it looked pretty fast, so he's definitely a great all-around player. People don't give him credit for his running ability. So we're definitely going to take that into consideration. And also just the amount of weapons they have, guys like Etienne, big, tall receivers like Tee Higgins, they'll go up and get the ball. It's going to be definitely a fun match-up, going to be a fun game. They have great coaches, a great offense, so it's going to be cool.
Q. Are they the most balanced offense you guys have seen this year?
GRANT DELPIT: The most balanced offense? I don't know, we've faced a lot of great offenses. I would say theirs is definitely one of the best. We'll just continue watching film on them, and we're just going to get prepared for the game.
Q. Joe, I wanted to follow up on the question about when you studied the Saints' offense. What concepts immediately grabbed you when you first started studying them and being introduced that you really gravitated toward?
JOE BURROW: You know, I don't know if there were any specific concepts. I was at the beginning of installing the offense and just kind of getting a feel of how Drew went through his reads and his footwork and what he tried to do within the offense.
Q. Is there anything that stands out about what it's designed to do that really works, though? Is it about reading defenses or mismatches, or what is it that sort of defines what the offense is all about?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, it's getting five yards on a route every play and making them defend every single person. Anybody can get the ball on any play. We're not designing plays to go to this one guy. We have progression reads that everyone can get the ball on, so you have to be on your toes as a defense and really understand who has each individual player, otherwise we'll beat you, or I'll find a guy, and that's what makes it so difficult to defend. You've got to find your guy, and we make it difficult to do it and change up people's eyes with motions and moving different guys around from the slot to the backfield to outside. We do a really good job of finding match-ups that are favorable for us.
Q. Grant, we obviously got the news a couple days ago that Michael Divinity will be able to play in the championship game. Just your thoughts on having him back on the field, and what do you think he'll mean for the defense?
GRANT DELPIT: That's a big part of our defense. He's a great player, and like you say, he's been around in practice and all working out the whole time he hasn't been playing. So that's a big thing for us just that he stuck it out and stuck around. To have him back, that's huge. That's a huge key. He's a vocal leader. He's a vocal guy on and off the field. I think that having him back is going to be a big key for us, and we're excited for it.
Q. Through the season your relationship with Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady, getting on the headset with those guys, from your studying of Clemson so far, what are some things you think that they do difficult on defense to make your checks and things, having an understanding their flow of the game throughout the course?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, you can tell that they have 11 really smart guys. They do a lot of different things on defense, and they have a really good coach that makes it difficult for me and my eyes to look -- pre-snap it'll look the same and they'll go to cover-two and cover-three on the same look. It'll be tough for me. I'll have to do a lot of film study to understand what they're trying to do.
Q. Joe, I was just wondering what the biggest difference you saw from Georgia in the SEC Championship and Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl was.
JOE BURROW: What do you mean by that?
JOE BURROW: Oh, I mean, they have two completely different defensive structures. Georgia came out in dime and blitzed us a lot, and Oklahoma came out in drop-eight, cover-three. So they did two completely different things against us.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to thank Joe and Grant for your time here today. Again, to all of our media members, look forward to seeing many of you in New Orleans next week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports