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December 28, 2019

Ed Orgeron

Justin Jefferson

Joe Burrow

Atlanta, Georgia

LSU - 63, Oklahoma - 28

THE MODERATOR: Coach, feel free to give us an opening comment and we'll go into Q and A.

ED ORGERON: I'd like to thank the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for giving us an outstanding week. Giving us our time to prepare, giving us great facilities, great food, made us feel at home, great hospitality. But also in the sense it's a playoff game and they gave us all the time we needed to prepare. I'd thank to thank our football team for working so hard.

Also, Coach Ensminger. There was a tragedy that happened in Coach Ensminger's family today. I was the one that had to tell coach. I told him what happened, and here's what he said: Coach, we're going to get through this.

And, obviously, he was distraught, but he called a great game today. So just goes to show you the integrity and the grit and character of the men on our football team.

Proud of these two young men on the side of me. They're great players, great teammates. What a tremendous job. I thought we played -- for about three quarters, we played a complete game.

Give Oklahoma credit. They have great athletes. Coach Riley is great coach, and they've had a lot of success.

Q. Joe, describe kind of what you were thinking when you did the scramble and you kind of made the heave to Terrace Marshall and it was seemingly really similar to what you did here three weeks ago.
JOE BURROW: I trust my guys. I trust them enough to throw 50/50 balls up to them and they're going to be able to make a play for me. I've got great people around me, and that's why we've been so successful. We have trust in each other.

Q. Earlier in the week, you said you were able to identify the defenses very quick. How quickly did you realize that what you guys have prepared for this game was going to be successful?
JOE BURROW: First series when we scored a touchdown. We go into every game thinking nobody can stop us. That's the way we think. We think we need to score every time we touch the ball. If we don't, then we're still kind of chasing that perfect game. It's always something to get better at, and today was a lot of fun, but still room to improve.

Q. Joe and Justin, you guys both set a lot of records today. Are you aware of them? Do any of them mean any more than others? They handed us a whole sheet of all the records you all set today.
JOE BURROW: January 13 is the record we're worried about.




JUSTIN JEFFERSON: That's the goal of the whole season, to win that National Championship. So we're not going to stop until we get that.

Q. Look, Ed, I know it was obviously a rough day for Steve. For you personally, dealing with this, how difficult would you describe it for you? Who knows how to handle something like that?
ED ORGERON: You know, being a head coach, stuff's going to happen. You don't know what is going to happen. You've got to be prepared. But you got great people around you, it makes it a lot better.

It was tough. It was tough. I didn't want the team to know. I didn't want it to affect the team, the mindset of the football team, the energy of the football team. Neither did Steve. We tried to keep it from them. I think they found out before the game. There was a little concern they might be a little low, but it sure wasn't the way we started. Give credit to your football players.

Q. Full disclosure, early on the radio today, I said you would win 28-16. So mea culpa for that. But this is for all three of you. Put this game and the season in perspective for you.
ED ORGERON: Go ahead, Joe.

JOE BURROW: I think that will be a question after January 13th. I'm not reflecting on anything right now. We're full steam ahead, getting back to work.

JUSTIN JEFFERSON: I mean, we're not done. We still have a lot of -- we have one more game left. We're going to go in these next two weeks focused, ready to go, and, I mean, dominate the next matchup that we face.

ED ORGERON: I'll give them some credit, but I'm going to enjoy the win tonight. Semifinal playoff game against a darn good football team. I don't know how many top ten wins these guys have had this year. I think it's more than anybody in a long time. So I'm going to enjoy this victory. Oklahoma is a good football team.

Then we're going to go through the process where we've got a couple days off, and we'll watch the game tonight and see who we're playing, then we'll start preparing.

Q. Two-part question. Coach, first of all, was it a difficult decision at all for Coach Ensminger to decide to work tonight?
ED ORGERON: There was no question. He didn't hesitate.

Q. And as far as the players, when did you guys find out about this, and how did it affect you?
JOE BURROW: I found out about it in the post-game interview. I didn't -- nobody said anything to me about it until then.

JUSTIN JEFFERSON: Same. I found out in the interview. Just the fact that he still stuck with the game and still called a great game, so that just means a lot for the players. I feel bad for him. I'm sorry for his loss. But, I mean, we're all with him.

Q. Joe, Ja'Marr had a lot of headlines this year, and deservedly so. He's had a fantastic season. Justin has been your guy for two years. Can you talk about this performance for him and what you think it means for the team?
JOE BURROW: I think he'll be the first to tell you that he could have had two more touchdowns, but I missed him down the sideline and on the right one. He made sure to let me know that one on the sideline.

Q. Coach Orgeron, what was it about Chris Curry that enabled him to play such a big role tonight?
ED ORGERON: The style of runs that we're running, his practice the last two weeks. Coaches came up to me today and said Coach, we think Chris Curry ought to be the first back. Y'all believe him in, put him in. He played well.

He's proved -- Chris has come a long way and he's proved on a daily basis to his teammates and his coaches he's worthy of the game he played tonight. I'm excited about him. I'm excited about the other backs too. I'm really proud of Clyde. Clyde was hurt, but he wanted to play for the team. He played in some situations and did a good job.

Q. Ed, can you update Damien Lewis and Terrace Marshall, who left the game?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, Damien, somebody hit his ankle on the side, and he's going be out for a little bit. I don't know the severity of it yet.

Terrace, I think, is going to be sore for a little bit, should be fine. DeVo is the one I don't know if he'll be able to practice in a week or so, we'll see.

Q. You always make a point to say this is for the state of Louisiana in your post-game press conferences. Now you're going to the National Championship game in the state of Louisiana. What does it mean to you?
ED ORGERON: Great story. Obviously, it's going to be a great day, going to be a purple and gold crowd in that Superdome. The state of Louisiana is going to be on fire.

But all those things doesn't win the football game for you. We have to prepare. We have to study. We have to be ready to play our best football game. Obviously, when you're playing in a National Championship game, you're going to be playing a very, very good football team. All those things on the perimeter are nice. Just like in a fight, when you get hit with the first punch, all that stuff goes out the window and you've got to play football.

So we're going to prepare, whoever it may be. Obviously, we feel it's going to be an advantage playing at home and we love that it is at home. But that's not going to win the game for you.

Q. Joe, you had that huge lead going into the second half. I'm just wondering, what did that do to you? Did you kind of take your foot off the gas or something? You still did well, but nothing like the first half.
JOE BURROW: No. We didn't take the foot off the gas. We went in at halftime, said it was 0-0, came out and scored on the first possession, then missed a field goal the second possession. So we were moving the ball. And I think those are my last two series, I believe.

Q. Did LSU adjust?
JOE BURROW: They were doing exactly what they were doing in the first half. We were still moving the ball, still scoring points.

Q. Joe and Justin, when the game plan is clicking like that, what's going through your mind? Anxious to get back on the field? What are you thinking when it seems like everything is working?
JOE BURROW: Yeah, let's get back out there on the field and keep executing. I'm just thinking about my read keys and what I have to do each individual play. So I'm hoping that -- obviously, I'm hoping the defense gets stops every time.

But every game, just going through read keys, going through what my coaches want on each particular play call and try to execute to the best of my ability.

Q. Congratulations, gentlemen. Coach, when and how did you learn about the plane accident, and how do you process that information to be able to disseminate that to Coach Ensminger?
ED ORGERON: It's funny, Derek Ponamsky and I -- we have a coaches' meeting at 12:30. We had finished walk-through at 11:30 so I was trying to write down things, the game plan we were going to discuss.

I looked at Derek, and I said Derek, you know what? Thank God we've gone through the whole week without any incidents. Usually, you go to a bowl, something happens. None of our guys were tested or suspended for anything. Nobody missed curfew. Almost a perfect week.

Then he got the text. And I had to go find Steve, and I told him. About 12:30.

Q. Coach, it's now 55 touchdown passes for Joe for the season. You're a student of the game. Do you think that anybody in college football has ever had a better year than Joe is having right now?
ED ORGERON: No. Not that I can remember. They had some guys running the football and stuff like that. But to see what those guys are doing out on the field, and me being a football fan, I'm kind of a fan. I'm like hey, go ahead, guys. Way to go, man. It's incredible what this coaching staff has done, what these players have done, the connection that they have with the receivers, the protection on the offensive line.

I've been a part of some good football teams, but I've never been part of an offense like this.

Q. Ed, it's another Joe question. You've seen an awful lot from him this year. I don't know where you put seven touchdowns in a half. How do you process something like that?
ED ORGERON: I felt that we were going to do very, very well. And I felt, against Oklahoma, in order for us to get ahead, we had to score every possession. I had the utmost respect for Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb, not to think that we wasn't going to stop them, but I thought we had to get the pedal to the metal and get a big lead, which we did.

So it doesn't surprise me they did the things they did. But it does surprise me they did it with the ease that they did.

Q. Justin and Joe. Justin, what is it like to be part of the receiving corps and have the success and have a guy who can get you the ball the way Joe does.
Joe, you have options, you're able to go to plans down the line. To get everyone involved, to have the level of success you have executing, do you ever think it's unusual?

JUSTIN JEFFERSON: To have this receiving corps and have Joe throwing it to us kind of makes our job easier. All we have to do is catch the ball. Going and practicing every day, working with each other, being competitive, just being our normal self, just being goofy, just laughing all practice. That's what we do. So just not being really, you know, so serious all the time. Just being our self and Joe just makes our job easier.

JOE BURROW: I think it's nice to have a couple goofy guys when I'm so serious all the time. So they keep me having fun on the football field. I wouldn't say it's unusual. I would say it's special. We've worked for this. We know the kind of team we have. We know the kind of guys we have, and I think it starts with the relationships that we've built between us and the coaching staff. We're such a close team, I think that's why we've had so much success.

Q. Justin, Thad told us that he came up to you after the fourth touchdown and said hey, share the wealth. What's the like playing in a game where you guys are having that much fun on the sideline?
JUSTIN JEFFERSON: When someone's hot, why not keep going to them. So Joe just kept finding me on the field, just making those big plays. Just like Coach said, on the big plays, feel the emotion. So just going out there, doing what I got to do.

Q. Ed, you've been a part of National Championship teams. This is the first for you as a head coach. Has that fact sunk in yet for you? How do you approach the next weeks, now that the moment is finally here?
ED ORGERON: It won't be any different. It will not be any different. We won't make it bigger than life. Obviously, we understand the magnitude of the football game, but we're going to focus on the task at hand, the fundamentals, get better. We have an excellent football team. We're going to study our game plan, and we're going to work like we've been and go through the process with confidence.

Q. Coach Orgeron, did you know Carley at all? Did you ever interact with her?

Q. What are your memories?
ED ORGERON: All the time. Knew her. We'd go to McNeese games. She interviewed me and Kelly. Saw her all the time. Saw her at the state championship game. In fact, I can't go to the state championship game. We watched it, and we watched her work from early morning until late at night. Me and my wife complimented her and obviously we're friends with the Ensmingers. We saw her around all the time. An outstanding young lady with a bright future. It's a shame it happened.

Q. Ed, with an offensive day like that, it's obviously going to get a lot of attention. You mentioned the defense getting stops to build a lead. Three of the first four possessions were three and out. What worked so well, also with K'Lavon, the MVP.
ED ORGERON: We had pressure on the quarterback. We felt we could win the one on ones with them. We stopped the run game. Coach Aranda had a tremendous game plan. The counter read, I haven't seen anybody stop it. The key was Jalen Hurts not beating us with his feet. We did a great job with that.

We thought CeeDee Lamb would be hard to cover but we didn't think he would drop back and throw the football on us to beat us. Coach made them one-dimensional. We had a great pass rush. Very proud of Coach Aranda and the whole defensive staff. They worked very hard this week.

Q. (No microphone)
ED ORGERON: No, I think K'Lavon had one of his best games. K'Lavon had his best week of practice. We named him team captain. I told him that last night, and he's coming on to his own.

Q. Talking about the defense, first play of the game, y'all go get a sack on Jalen. How much did that set the tone for LSU?
ED ORGERON: When you have an offense like we have, and you win the toss, human nature wants you to take the ball. But I want to show our defense I had confidence in them, and we deferred, and then it worked out perfect.

They came out on fire. They wanted to go out on defense first and stop them. Went three and out, they had a short punt and we scored. I think it set the tone for the football game.

Q. Joe, you had a performance tonight that very few have. What is it like to be in that kind of a rhythm?
JOE BURROW: To be honest, it wasn't my sharpest game. This guy was bailing me out on a couple throws that I had missed. Guys like Terrace and Ja'Marr were bailing me out on misreads and being late with the football. I'm excited to get back to practice and tune those things up. That's the kind of team we have.

Someone doesn't have their best game, the other guys step up.

Q. Joe, you were saying that you were still in search of the perfect game. In the late game right now, Ohio State has an early lead. Would that be a perfect ending for your college career?
JOE BURROW: I'm excited to play in the national title game.

THE MODERATOR: I think that's a good spot to end it, gentlemen. Thank you very much.

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