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January 4, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
TODD STEWART: Good morning, everyone. Left to right we have defensive end Doug Worthington, defense back Kurt Coleman, defensive coordinator Jim Heacock and safety Anderson Russell.
We'll start off with Coach Heacock and the three players, if they could give a brief statement on the significance of playing in the national championship game on Monday night against LSU and what it means to them. And then after that we'll take questions from the audience.
Coach, would you like to start with an opening statement.
COACH JIM HEACOCK: On behalf of the whole defense and Ohio State University, we're proud to be here and excited to be here. Expectation level going into the season wasn't great. And I think these guys sitting up here and back in the hotel, I think they took a lot of pride in what they were doing, set some goals for themselves and, like I say, it's an honor to be here. We're excited to be here.
The guys have worked hard. They prepared hard, and we're looking forward to Monday night against a great opponent. We know offensively they are very talented offense. They're very multiple offense, and they give you a lot of problems. And they've scored 39 points a game for a reason. And we know that they're a great opponent.
DOUG WORTHINGTON: First of all, we're blessed to be here. We don't just want to be here, we want to compete. Coming from the defensive line, we're very eager to be able to come out and play our game and play our brand of football.
As a defense as a whole, we're working hard to compete and to have a great game. I feel that these guys sitting to the side of me have worked tremendously this whole season and we're all eager to get out on Monday.
KURT COLEMAN: I feel like since the beginning of the year, you know, our seniors and our leaders have set out to make this a goal for us. And ever since we've been out in summer camp and everything else, this is our goal. We knew we could get back here with this leadership.
It's a testament to them. It goes out to the team because we know we worked very hard and we deserve to be here and we're ready to represent everyone.
ANDERSON RUSSELL: Yeah, we've had a great season so far, and this is our final test. And I think our coaches have done a great job preparing us. And we're happy to be here. And we're thankful for this opportunity and we're definitely going to come out and compete to the best of our ability on Monday.
TODD STEWART: Questions.
Q. Coach Heacock, could you talk about the problems that LSU poses when they have dual quarterbacks? I know last year against Florida, the speed, the mobile quarterbacks gave you problems. LSU has two similar quarterbacks that can just get in and out of the pocket, find receivers, also create plays with their legs.
COACH JIM HEACOCK: Like I said, the word I keep thinking about is multiple. I think with the two quarterback system, they've got two outstanding quarterbacks. I think probably the thing that we feel like, they both run well and really they both throw well, in our opinion. They're a little bit very similar, because I think Flynn has proven that he can run the ball very well also.
But that's preparing for a quarterback that can run the football, and then you add five tailbacks that are a little bit different and very multiple and very talented tailbacks and you've got, between the five of them there -- you start, of course, with Hester and his toughness and the things that he can do and his relentlessness as far as a running back, you know, they're very talented there.
Then you add a stable of wide receivers that are big and strong and fast and certainly an offensive line that's very physical. So they're very multiple. They do a lot of different things. They give you a lot of problems, if that's what you're asking, they give you a lot of problems.
Not only with the quarterbacks, but in the running game and the throwing game and everything they do. They're just very multiple team and very talented team.
Q. I guess for Kurt and Anderson here, you look at the LSU wide receivers, and in particular Early Doucet, physically gifted, physical wide receiver, just the challenge of facing a guy that's more than likely going to be another LSU wide receiver going in the first round of the draft?
ANDERSON RUSSELL: Personally, I know we're all looking forward to it, because we've done a good job all season. We've faced some good guys, but he's definitely going to be the best receiver we've seen all season. But it's something that we've got to deal with. And I think we can get the job done. It's just something we're looking forward to because we can have a chance to show that we can play, too.
KURT COLEMAN: Definitely. I think it's a great challenge going against those receivers. They're very big, they're very tall and they're fast. It's a challenge, and speaking as the DBs, we love challenges. We always thrive on it.
We're looking forward to going out there going up against great competition and seeing how we match up.
Q. So much has been made about defending teams with great speed. Obviously Florida had great speed a year ago. You've played plenty of teams this year that have had tremendous speed especially on the outside. What is the most crucial part, especially for Kurt and Anderson, as you play against specialty players with great speed? What is the key to trying to keep up and try to maintain proper coverage on those guys?
ANDERSON RUSSELL: You know, really being with man coverage and all that type of stuff, a lot of it comes down to technique and making sure you're being disciplined. And we work on pursuit angles all the time. So that plays a role. And really the biggest thing, though, is just technique and discipline and eye control.
KURT COLEMAN: I think also what he said is, you know, we have speed to match up against them. We're very fast as well. We just gotta be able to play our leverage lanes and be able to tackle in pursuit.
We figure if one person can hold them down or make them move around, our defense will be ganging up on them.
Q. What's your mind-set? I mean, you're not getting a lot of respect nationally here in New Orleans. No one thinks you're going to win. You're the underdog. I guess Coach Tressel gave you a DVD to look at over Christmas. What's the mind-set of this team, just, I guess, the lack of respect?
DOUG WORTHINGTON: I feel personally we're a lot more focused than probably a lot of people will think. We're not intimidated by the stage we're put on. So I feel that we have a great game plan coming in. We've got great leaders in our seniors and we are just really focused. Extra film study, playing hard and practicing harder than we ever did before. I feel that if we do what we have to and take care of a job, then a lot of people will be surprised and shocked on Monday.
KURT COLEMAN: Really what it comes down to is just trusting the game plan that our coaches have implemented for us. What everyone else says, it's going to be said no matter what. So we really just have to trust the coaches and team players and just go out and work hard every day. And hopefully when it comes to game time, we'll be prepared.
ANDERSON RUSSELL: I think our coaches have done a great job of preparing us for what we're going to see. And on Monday, you know, all the talking and everything that everybody is saying is going to be over and done with. And it's not really going to even matter anymore. And, you know, what happens on that field is, you know -- that's all that's really going to matter.
Q. Coach, how much does recognition of personnel that LSU puts on the field on every play, does that determine what you do defensively? And for the players, have you faced anybody this year that's a similar style of play that LSU presents, therefore, you're a little more prepared for it?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: You know, as we play through the Big Ten and in our league, we probably face most of the different offenses, a lot of different, went to Washington and played a running quarterback out there.
But we've seen throughout the year a lot of different offensive looks, and so I think as we've gone through the year we can reflect back and say we did this well or we didn't do this well. And try and grab a little bit from each of the games in the past.
But it's just -- you very seldom see a team that has five tailbacks, and who is to say -- who would like to rank them? They're all very talented. They all specialize in what they do. They all have great ability. And it's just awfully hard to sit up here and say, you know, what are you going to do for each one of them.
I don't think you can have a game plan for each one of the five tailbacks or game plan for each four or five wide receivers or game plan -- you'll get too caught up in game plan. Like all these guys said, it's going to come down to execution. Tackling is going to be a real factor in this football game. Turnovers, all the things that are important are the things that we're trying to keep our focus on and get lined up and play hard.
Q. Coach, there seems to be in the past couple of years when you've been on both sides of it, a lot of blowouts in these BCS games, especially this year. Any reason to pinpoint that? Do you have an opinion?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: You know what? I really don't have any answers. I know what -- I've watched those same games and had a chance to see a few of them. And watch a little bit of football. And every game is unique. Every game is different. Every motivation is different from one side of the ball to the other. So we don't get -- here again, it's not something I sit around and think about or wonder about, to be honest with you. We've been pretty much locked into what we're doing and just really trying, along with our players, be ready to play the best that we can on Monday.
Q. Coach, how much of that SEC championship game tape did you watch to get a feel of what Ryan Perrilloux is capable of and how much did you go back to maybe the beginning of the year when he was able to throw the ball against, say, Middleton, and also, how much did playing a guy like Juice, the similarities between those two, do you see them?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: First of all, I'm sure all these guys, we've watched every tape. I mean, that's what we've done for the last two or three months. And just watch a lot of tape and study a lot of film. You're trying to put together recruiting, as well as getting ready for a football game.
I think probably all these guys and myself have watched the majority of the games that they played this year. So we've seen each one of their quarterbacks play in abundance. And obviously against Tennessee we got to see a bunch of Perrilloux, and I don't know what more I can say. They're very talented and they're very multiple and they give you a lot of problems. There's no question.
And as far as the comparison, I would never compare two players -- I can't do that. We haven't played them yet. I know Juice was good against us. He played well. Illinois had a good game plan against us and played well and you give them credit. They did a great job. And we didn't play as well as we needed to to win that football game, but as far as comparing, I really couldn't do that.
Q. To all you guys, among the psychological factors, how important is it to wear this role of underdog? It seems like your team's kind of on a slow burn, peaking until Monday. And it seems like you like the fact that you're being counted out.
DOUG WORTHINGTON: I mean, it's good not to have all the spotlight on you. Coming in the last year, seeing all the crowds and all the spectators and all the things that is said about our last year's team, it's good to come under the radar and not expect too much from us, because that drives us. That makes us want to show you that we are a great team and a great senior leadership and great -- in every aspect. It's a gift and a curse.
And I feel being able to play the underdog role in this game does nothing but I say good for this team.
KURT COLEMAN: I think the best thing we can take from this is that it gives us more time to focus on what we need to do. We're not sidetracked by all the things that may go on if we were in the spotlight. So I think it's a blessing that we have time to focus on what we need to do.
Q. Is there any difference from last year to this year?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: It's awfully hard to compare. We felt like last year going into the game our guys worked hard and prepared hard and it didn't happen. And this year, I know from a coaching staff, everything that we've asked these guys to do they've done.
They've worked extremely hard. Underdog, not underdog, to be honest with you, that's not something that we've certainly talked about. We're playing a team that we don't have a whole lot of time to sit around and wonder what the odds are or who is favorite or who is not favorite. I think we've got plenty of work to do. And I think these guys have really locked into that side of it and not got too involved in the surroundings and what's going on outside.
And I compliment them for that. I think they've done a great job in staying focused on the task at hand and not getting too caught up with the surroundings.
Q. Doug, Kurt and Anderson, obviously it's been kind of a crazy year in the polls. When you beat Michigan, you're sitting at home, I think you were at five. How likely did you think that you guys could move up being idle to get to this game? And, similarly, when you did get closer, and everyone thought that last weekend, did you think there was any way that LSU, coming off a loss, was then going to be able to be in this game with you?
ANDERSON RUSSELL: In all honesty, I thought we would end up in the Rose Bowl playing USC just because how everybody was thinking things would play out. But there were a lot of upsets this year in college football. It was a crazy year. And I honestly didn't think we'd be playing LSU after they lost to Arkansas that weekend.
But just shows you can't count anybody out.
KURT COLEMAN: I think that we went into the game preparing for Michigan to go to the Rose Bowl. Once we beat Michigan, we prepared for the Rose Bowl. I think it's a blessing for us to get back to the national championship two years in a row. LSU got in after the loss to Arkansas. We didn't have anything to do with that. So it's out of our hands. So it's really a testament to them for them to get back there after all they had to go through. So it's kudos.
DOUG WORTHINGTON: I remember at the Illinois game a lot of guys felt that we were definitely out of it. I remember a lot of teams falling, and it was a surprise every week. It was a blessing, and prayers do work.
As far as LSU, they're a great team and a lot of guys wanted to see this matchup in the beginning of the season when we were 1-2 for a while. I felt, like Kurt said, it's a testament to them and the season they have played and things they have done, so I feel that everything's worked out the way it should be.
Q. Coach, you were talking about earlier about LSU's multiple backs and being able to do different things. Your defensive backs have done a really nice job against the run all year. How important are those DBs to your scheme in terms of support against the run and is it any more important against a team like LSU that can do all those things you were talking about?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: No question, probably with the multiplicity with their offense, I think probably just the team concept is going to be critical. They do a lot of misdirection. They do a lot of different styles of offense, and as we talk about all year as a defense, everybody's got that do their job. For us to be successful, 11 guys have to execute and carry out their responsibility and have great eye control and do the things they do, and probably the success against LSU is going to be determined by how 11 players play and that everybody's doing their job and execution is always a factor in a game like this.
Q. Are you surprised that maybe there's a little bit of lack of respect with only one loss winning the Big Ten and having one of the top ranked defenses in the country going into this game, at least nationally?
ANDERSON RUSSELL: Honestly, I think a lot of people are doubting us because of what happened last year when we played in the national championship. But we really honestly don't have any control over -- we had control over what happened last year. But that's behind us and we can't go back and change that. Honestly that's why I think a lot of that is what it has to do with. But there's nothing we can do about it and we're just waiting for Monday.
COACH JIM HEACOCK: Yeah, I think that's -- I think he put it the best. I mean, there's absolutely nothing we can do. And I think a lot of the controversy has to do with the performance last year and as coaches and players we didn't get it done.
And like we talked, it's over and we haven't really reflected back on that a whole lot. I think our success is going to be determined by how we play this game and I think the guys have done a great job in locking into that and focusing in on that. And are we surprised? To be honest with you, I don't think we really think about that as a surprise or why it happened or how it happened. I mean, it was a crazy year. We all feel fortunate to be here.
Q. Jim, Jacob Hester appears to be kind of a coach's dream kind of player. Nick Sabin, Les Miles talked about him being a great football player. When you watch the tape of Jacob, I know you're trying to stop the kid, but do you look back and you say that's the kind of kid you would like to have playing for you anytime because he's kind of a throwback football player?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: There's no question. And you can see why both coaches have mentioned him. And then I just read an article that the word "relentless" came up. And when you watch him play football, being a defensive coach, I like those relentless linebackers and safeties and defensive line, and you know what you're looking for and you know what you like to coach.
And you can tell watching him play he has a passion for the game, he has a passion for toughness, he plays every play hard, you never see him take a playoff. And I'm sure as a coach, I'd love coaching him, and obviously I don't know him, but you'd love coaching him and you'd know he's going to give you all he's got.
Q. Coach, could you talk about your relationship with Coach Fickell. He said obviously you're the guy who makes the final call but talk about the dynamics of being co-defensive coordinators, what your relationship is with him?
COACH JIM HEACOCK: I've said this many times, we really don't have a coordinator. We've got four guys on our defensive staff; somehow I was named coordinator. But Luke does -- really Luke and Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson, we take an approach that it's the four of us working together, and they contribute every bit as much as I do. We work together.
Luke Fickell is an unbelievable young coach. I think he's so talented. He was a great player. Actually showing my age a little bit, but I coached Luke my very first year at Ohio State. I've been there 12 years. Luke was a nose guard when I came to Ohio State in '96, and went to the Rose Bowl. Luke was a nose guard for me. I coached him at that time. He's a very intelligent coach. Very -- does a great job with our linebackers, does a great job motivating them, and like I say I think we're all just working together and trying to get it done.
TODD STEWART: Thank you.
If each of the three could make an opening statement on what it means to play in the national championship game on Monday night against LSU, and we'll take questions from the audience.
We'll start with Coach Fickell.
COACH LUKE FICKELL: Obviously, it's an honor. I know that sometimes the biggest thing about it is the hype around everything. Again, we have to try and be down here for a reason, and that's probably the biggest thing we learned last year, that we've been in this situation before.
But it's an honor to be here. We're here for a reason. And I think that's what I think we learned big time last year about the things that we can't take for granted. Sometimes just being in a game like that of that magnitude, that our guys -- a great lesson in humility, and we're honored to be here.
MARCUS FREEMAN: You know, definitely excited to play in the game on Monday. Like Coach said, it's an honor for us to be here. We know how big of a challenge it's going to be for this team to face a great team like LSU and we're definitely excited for opportunity.
MALCOLM JENKINS: Pretty much the same thing. It's a blessing for us to be here. We came a long way this season. We're not going to take it for granted. We're going to take advantage of every opportunity we get to try to come down here, get a win. Everybody has a good attitude and hopefully we can take care of business.
TODD STEWART: Questions.
Q. Luke, I just caught the tail end of your answer next door. Why don't you feel like you have to go to Texas or California or that much? Was that a speed question or was that just recruiting?
COACH LUKE FICKELL: That was a recruiting question. I said we're probably not as much of a national team as people think. Obviously we're Ohio-based team, we do a lot of Florida and East Coast and Jersey and Georgia and things. But we don't usually go to a lot of those different places unless we have connections. Obviously we have kids from Texas and we have kids from Louisiana and we have kids from California, but a lot of times those are connections and we go out there for specific reasons.
Q. Malcolm, a lot of these guys before you in here were talking about the excitement of playing a great offense and great individual players. How genuine is your excitement to go up against the best and prove that you're the best at what you do against such great players?
MALCOLM JENKINS: Just being a competitor, you know, going against the best is always what you want to do. And we had the opportunity in front of the world. So it doesn't get any bigger than this, the stage doesn't get any bigger.
We're excited. We're rated number one defense in the nation. This is our chance to prove it versus one of the best offenses in the nation in the biggest game of the year.
So I think anybody who is a competitor would lick their chops at this opportunity and we knew they were going to be ready. We're trying our best to be prepared.
Q. Marcus and Malcolm, the guys in here before were saying that after you guys beat Michigan you were just kind of getting ready for the Rose Bowl and thinking that was going to be it. I know it's been a crazy season, so how likely or how surprised are you that you're here and did you just spend the past few weeks after Michigan kind of crossing off the names as they lost, as you guys moved up?
MARCUS FREEMAN: You know, I think as a team we thought we were going to the Rose Bowl. And then I think it was that night or the next week we saw LSU lose to Arkansas, and we knew we had a chance.
But it's tough being at home and knowing that other teams control your destiny. We knew we would be very excited to go to the Rose Bowl. But we had an ultimate goal at the beginning of the season to be here. We're excited for this chance and thankful for being here.
MALCOLM JENKINS: I think as a team and just looking at the papers and things like that, everybody said we were out of it. But I think a few of us still had hope. I guess just a pride factor saying everybody's going to lose and we're going to get there. It sounded farfetched at the time, but once we saw LSU lose and it actually became a possibility, I think everybody had a strong faith that we were going to get here.
We were still breaking our team huddles and stuff on national championship. So I think when it happened, you know, we were excited, but I think nobody was surprised because this is what we were hoping for. And as soon as we knew we were going, everybody had a business-like attitude. Nobody was real super excited for it anymore. Everybody is like, we have the opportunity now, let's lock and load and get ready.
Q. Coach and Marcus, talk about LSU's running game and the multiple backs they use and your preparation for such a factor. I guess, does it vary? You have to do more work, less work, or do you just focus on what you're doing?
MARCUS FREEMAN: I think it presents a huge challenge. You have definitely a talented running back like Jacob Hester, a powerful guy, but also has deceptive speed. Then a little guy like the Holliday guy. He has very, very good speed, number five. And they have a lot of talented running backs that presents a huge challenge to this defense and something that we have to prepare for.
COACH LUKE FICKELL: I think, like I said over there, a lot of times those are the things that drives coaches nuts because there's a lot of ability, and I don't mean that one doesn't have more ability, but they have different things that they can do, so different things that you have to prepare for. It's kind of like a two quarterbacks, and you throw people in there, that it makes you really have to be aware of I think these guys on the field. I mean, they're going to play what they see anyway.
I think sometimes it's a lot more for the coaches to try and prepare for and not to overprepare for or overdo, because ultimately it comes down to them on the field, that as long as they're aware of what's going on, who is in there, there might be different things that are going to happen. But obviously it gives them a lot more multiplicity in what they're doing. But I think they're all capable of doing anything they're asked to do.
Q. Obviously there's a lot of talk -- I mean, you guys are saying all the right things, that this is a business trip, but it sounds like everything you're saying is the same thing Florida said last year. Do you feel that gives you extra motivation because nobody is giving you a chance this year just like nobody gave Florida a chance last year? You kind of feel like them? Like maybe, okay, nobody's giving us a chance, and that's really going to make you guys come out and just chomp at the bit?
MALCOLM JENKINS: Yeah, for about a month straight all you hear is not only how you can't win but how you don't deserve to be in the game. So in the back of your mind it's a flame that's going off. But in the forefront, we just have the opportunity. That's just enough motivation for us to prepare hard and get ready to play.
But that's an added flame to your fire when everybody doesn't think you're going be able to even have a chance to win. So I think it's in the back of our minds. Everybody's aware of what everybody says. But ultimately it's going to come down to believing in ourselves anyway. People told us all year how we couldn't do this, couldn't do that. We've already had a great season. We'll try to come out here, take care of business and get back to Ohio.
MARCUS FREEMAN: I think just being college football fans, I think obviously we're football players, but we're fans. We watch SportsCenter and ESPN all that. You hear what people say. But I don't really think you can sit back there and try to use it as motivation.
I think you look back and you realize there's 119 or so many teams that play college football. And we're one of the two finalists that get a chance to be the best football team in the nation. And I think if you really sit back and realize, you know, this opportunity that we do have, that should be enough motivation in itself.
Q. Kind of a follow-up to that, are you surprised on how much last year's game resonated around the country, if you would have won, we probably would have been talking about a dynasty. And not only is that obviously gone, but the opposite seems to have happened and the reputation has been bashed, the Big Ten has been bashed, your guys' schedule, whatnot. Are you surprised how much last year's game has affected all that?
MALCOLM JENKINS: Not at all. We go to a national championship undefeated, ranked number one. Everyone is saying how all you got to do is show up and win and then you lose 41-14. You can't expect that to go away within a year. That's probably not going to go away forever. It's going to be on highlight reels for centuries from now. But that's something that we expected, and luckily we have a chance to get that taste out of our mouths, erase that memory. And we get another shot at it.
We've been blessed with this opportunity and going to try to take advantage of it.
MARCUS FREEMAN: I think just when we performed the way we did last year, you can't expect nothing less but to be brought up again, especially when we're in the same opportunity. We know this is another year and another game, another opponent, and another football team for us and ourselves. And we just want to go out and perform a lot better than we did last year.
Q. You guys will be outnumbered in the fan department. But Robo has a lot of family here and his dad played at LSU, what does he talk to the players about, just having that support system rooting for him? Luke, could you talk about Jonathan Wells who is from here, and you recall from Ohio State, he'll be here as well rooting you guys on?
MARCUS FREEMAN: Talking to Robo, you know, Robo has a lot of fans down here, but I think our fans from Ohio, no matter where we play, they're going to come out and support us. I don't know how many is going to be in the Superdome, but we know they're going to be supporting us and cheering us on. We have a great fan base, and we're excited to go out and perform and have a lot of those fans here with us.
COACH LUKE FICKELL: Jonathan, that's probably one of those recruiting type of things we talked about. We don't notoriously go to a lot of places like Louisiana, Texas or even California, but when there's great players and things come along that you might have a connection, obviously you take those chances and you come and you take those trips. And Jonathan Wells and obviously Nader Abdallah, the two people from down here that I recently remember that we've had on the team, have been good players for us. So there are opportunities for us to go any place really if we've got a little connection.
Q. In terms of what happened last year and how that sort of carried over and lingered with you guys in terms of ways people treated you, I remember Terry Bradshaw talked about when he first started with the Steelers and things weren't going so great and people wanted to run him out of town, and then when the Super Bowls came those same people wanted to put him on their shoulders and how that sort of helped him in terms of not getting too high after wins and too low after losses. Have you guys learned anything through this process in terms of the way outside people -- I can't imagine another team in recent memory that has gone from people saying you guys could be basically a juggernaut to now you have no chance at things.
MALCOLM JENKINS: I guess it's the same thing. Not to really listen to what people are saying, because the same people who are doubters this year are the same people who are probably rooting for us last year. So we try not to -- our coaches do a good job of making sure that we don't pay attention to the media and things like that. We just focus on ourselves and what we can do to be our best. And that's all we can do is give our best effort, prepare and train throughout the season so that we can come out and perform at our best levels.
If we don't get it done, we don't get it done. But the media and things like that, they're going to say whatever they want to say. The nation's going to have their own opinion. It's a business. So we can't really pay attention too much to that.
COACH LUKE FICKELL: I think that goes from the head coach, and I think that comes from the top down, that the guy that -- never too high, never too low, as even keel as you can get. And obviously he tries to pass that on to us as coaches and we try to pass it on to players. But still you have to remember that football is a game of emotion, and those emotions obviously affect you. But I think that we always -- we always try and talk, but I think we've got a quote that John Wooden has always said that criticism is not going to kill you if you don't swallow it, and praise isn't going to kill you if you don't swallow it and you don't really ingest it.
So our kids being in Columbus, Ohio, getting a lot of attention have had the highs and lows and have seen things in this program that I think have prepared them for that and will obviously prepare them for a lot more in the future.
Q. Coach, taking a look at the film, how big of a difference does Early Doucet make to LSU when he was in the lineup as opposed to when he wasn't in the lineup? And, second, have you ever faced a player like Trindon Holliday who is so small and yet so dangerous?
COACH LUKE FICKELL: Yes, Doucet is probably their best receiver, most known receiver. But when you've got as many good guys around him, it's hard to sometimes really pick out everything that he does. But obviously he makes them a lot better team.
As I said before, their speed and things are a lot more obvious and look a lot more impressive because of the way -- as physical a team as they play up front and the things they can do in running the football that makes your speed look that much better, no, I don't think we've seen anybody like Trindon Holliday as far as obviously probably nobody that we've seen as fast as he is.
But those are the things that you're interested to get out there and see. And obviously, like Malcolm said, if you're a competitor, those are the things that you're excited about.
Q. Marcus and Malcolm, we've asked you so much about the two-headed monster at quarterback for LSU and their lottery number, running back system. What about your defense should LSU's offense be concerned about?
MARCUS FREEMAN: You know, I think we're just a football team and a defense that plays for each other. I don't think -- obviously you have a couple of guys, you know whose name they are, but they're just guys that do their part of the defense. And somebody doesn't try to do another person's job.
I think that's what makes our defense successful, is that we want to make sure each person's accountable. We can make sure we depend on each person to do their job when it is time to do their job and a play comes our way.
If you can count on all 10 other members of your defense, I think that's what can make a defense successful.
MALCOLM JENKINS: Yeah, go along with that, we have a couple of names in our defense, but really everybody makes plays. Everybody on our defense has made plays, even if they aren't even starting. Guys come in and make plays all over the place. So I just think that -- I don't think there are too many highs and lows as far as talent. I think everybody plays at the same level. There's not many positions if any that you can just look at on film and say we're going to exploit this certain person.
I think everybody plays up to the level that they're expected to and everybody just does their 1/11 when it comes to their responsibilities. I think a balance of that is what makes our defense as good as it is.
Q. This is basically going to be a home game for LSU. You guys have played very well on the road this year. Just your mind-set going in and what do you think Monday night will be like?
MARCUS FREEMAN: I think it will be an atmosphere like no other. You know, not only are we in the state of Louisiana, but it's a national championship game, and it's going to be something that is exciting and I think that's something that you gotta try to enjoy. Not only is it the biggest game in the nation or all season, but it's for the national championship and that's something that you have to look back and be excited for and enjoy stuff like that.
TODD STEWART: Thank you, gentlemen.
End of FastScripts