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December 2, 2019

Jacoby Stevens

Atlanta, Georgia

Q. We're here with Jacoby Stevens. Please take a moment to comment on the LSU team entering the SEC Championship game.
JACOBY STEVENS: We're very proud that we won the SEC West. It's an accomplishment for the team. We know what a great deal this is and a great accomplishment for the program heading into the Championship. We have to press on as a team. We know that we want to do more and keep pushing and keep pressing on. I know for Coach Orgeron we have to press on.

I feel like this year we turned a lot of heads. We proved a lot of doubters wrong. Offensive-wise, they took care of business all year. They've been doing things that we knew that they can do with all the time they have on this side of the ball. And defensive-wise, we've been trying to play our part and contribute to this roll that we have going.

We're just trying to do our best defensive-wise, even though we had a couple of games that we were playing out of character, and we had a couple games where we played LSU defense of old. We need to find and be more consistent on that balance and find what's working and keep going with it.

Q. Jacoby, when you look at the Georgia offense, particularly Jake Fromm and D'Andre Swift, the running back is pretty much like Clyde, got over 1,200 yards rushing this year. What do you see in this offense as you all look at them on film?
JACOBY STEVENS: When I'm looking at Georgia's offense on film, they're talented. They have basically a pro type quarterback in the backfield. He's very mature in his decision-making. He can make throws that a lot of quarterbacks in college football can't make. I think what makes them elite and brings them -- makes their offense to another level is the running back corps out there that's led by D'Andre.

So D'Andre is a really good back. He can cut, stop on a dime. His dead leg is something to be reckoned with. But it doesn't just stop with him. They've got three other backs, three young backs that are really good. I'm sorry. They have two younger backs and one senior back that's really good, and it's their rotation is what's scary for us.

Q. What did you guys do against Texas A&M that was so effective defensively? And a lot of people ask, where has that been all year?
JACOBY STEVENS: We know that's what we've struggled with all year long. When we do a self-assessment, we know that pass rushing is one of the things we struggle with. We just, as a team and as a defense, we got together and figured out -- we just talked to each other on how we can get better and what do each position group need for us to get better at our weaknesses. This week the leaders of that D-line and the front seven just stepped up, man. They affected the quarterback. They had a goal going into the game to get, I'm pretty sure, three or four-plus more sacks. I'm pretty sure they ended the game with five.

That's a talented group up there, and hopefully it's a hot streak, they're catching a hot streak. And it's just about the feeling out process. You know we're playing good teams. We had a harsh schedule this year, and we played a really good offensive line. You've got to put that into play too. I think that the defensive line and the front seven really stepped it up this week and really affected the quarterback, which in turn made my job and the DBs' job, the secondary's job very easy.

Q. And Coach O said last night you all always try to block out the noise, but you all couldn't help being motivated by some of the outside conversation that you all have heard this year. Even the chairman of the playoff committee moved you all down this year and said it's because of the defensive piece. How much of that has been motivating to hear all of the outside conversation about how LSU is so good except for their defense?
JACOBY STEVENS: It's hard to block out the noise when you look -- you know, you're looking, and next thing you know you're looking, and you're the No. 2 team in the nation from recently being No. 1. And you hear all along the offense is great but the defense is not. As a competitor, you take that as motivation. You want to change that narrative, and I feel like we did that against Texas A&M.

People can kind of realize what 60 minutes of LSU standard performance football is, and I feel like we still haven't played our best ball yet. We have some mistakes that we made defensive-wise on the field that we need to clean up, and we're going to do that today on Tell the Truth Monday, but that definitely motivated us as a defense, and we're going to accept the challenge, and we're going to take it on.

Q. Jacoby, you came pretty close to choosing the Bulldogs when you were a recruit, and it meant you got to know guys like Richard LeCounte and the Georgia staff fairly well. When you made that choice, did you get the feeling that you might wind up in a high stakes game like this one this week with Georgia? Does that add anything extra to this matchup?
JACOBY STEVENS: Definitely. I mean, just looking at the class that they had, of course, you knew, I'm pretty sure I told you about this, the recruiting, the group texts we had, all the commits we had was crazy. I knew, when choosing LSU, that Georgia was going to be good for now and for a long time from now.

Coach Smart, he's a heck of a coach. It isn't surprising that we're playing them in a big game like this because of the talent that they recruited and the coaches that they have. I expected to play those guys in a big game like we did last year and now the SEC Championship. I expected nothing less from those guys.

Q. What did you take away from the time you got to know Coach Smart and the staff while you were a recruit?
JACOBY STEVENS: While I was recruiting there, I loved Coach Smart, and at the time, he was the defensive coordinator there, Coach Tucker, and I enjoyed talking to him all the time. They were great people. They made me feel at home when I went to go visit there. There was a reason why Georgia was one of my schools that I really looked into and felt like I could fit there.

But they're great coaches, and there's a reason why they attract top talent in the nation.

Q. How dedicated are you guys to stopping the run from Georgia? They're a really physical team up front. How dedicated will you guys be to stacking the box?
JACOBY STEVENS: Right now we're going to get our game plan today on how we're going to try to limit what Georgia wants to do. They have an incredible offensive line, a really big offensive line, and a really good set of running backs.

You see that a lot in the SEC. Georgia's seen that when they play teams in the SEC, and we've seen that when we play teams in the same conference. That's what you get when you're in a conference like this.

We have one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation. Today we're going to focus on our corrections from the A&M game because it is a copycat league, and we're going to press on to Georgia and figure out how we can stop and limit Georgia to what they want to do, which is one of their strengths is their running game.

Q. And the second question, how is it like to play for a high energy guy like Ed Orgeron?
JACOBY STEVENS: Man, it's amazing. I always say and tell guys, when you see Coach O before we run out before the games in the locker room, you'd swear Coach O is about to put on his pads and his helmet and get ready to play. Coach O is a high energy guy. He loves the game. He's very passionate about the game. He's a true competitor. When you put well rounded people and competitors such as myself and other people on this team and our leaders like Coach O, it's going to be a great environment and an environment that is healthy that can bring in victories.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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