BATON ROUGE, La. — Even if he won’t admit it, this is a big week for Ed Orgeron.
Heading into his third game as LSU’s interim head coach, Orgeron and his Tigers team will host Ole Miss this weekend, the school Orgeron coached from 2005-07 to less-than-positive acclaim. In addition to that storyline, Orgeron said Saturday night that he expects to see Leonard Fournette return this weekend after missing two games with an injured ankle, and LSU starts a nightmare stretch of five-straight games against ranked SEC opponents.
Orgeron will kick off the week with a press conference Monday, set to begin at around 12:30 CT. SEC Country is on the scene and will update this blog with quotes from Orgeron as he says them. Be sure to keep up with and refresh this page periodically to stay informed.
- First of all, we want to build on the positives. We played with energy in the second half. We made some adjustments at halftime. Offense getting 10.2 yards per play was a school record. We attribute that to coach Ensminger. The thing I’m most proud of is the nine explosive plays. That something that we wanted to improve on that we didn’t do well in the first game.
- We only allowed 242 yards of total offense against our defense, they were averaging 530, and we forced the turnover which I thought was the turning point of our game.
- We need to fix the mechanics [of substitutions]. Those are foolish penalties. Those are things we need to eliminate. We need to put 11 on the field and make sure they’re playing hard.
- On to Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has done a tremendous job in his five years there. I know him, I worked with him. They’ve done especially a tremendous job in recruiting.
- It’s a very experience offense averaging almost 40 points per game. They have a big-play offense and they like to take shots down field. We’ve got a tremendous respect for their defense. Their [defensive coordinator] trained under me and we’ve got tremendous respect for him. We know this is a game that they want to play very well.
- I expect Leonard to be back this week. I expect him to practice today and practice all week and we’ll see how he does throughout the week.
- I thought it was very courageous of [Hugh Freeze] to go down to Miami and meet me on the football field and ask me for a job. I probably should’ve hired him as my offensive coordinator. I told him to stick it out there and he’d probably be the next head coach there. And he is.
- I do acknowledge that this is the SEC. The upcoming schedule is very challenging. But I would be wrong to be focused on that and not the day ahead.
- [Leonard] is in. He was in my office first thing. He was the first one in there. And he said ‘Coach, I’m ready to go.’ I guess the injury took a toll on him mentally and physically. He did help me at halftime, he helped me on the sideline, and I know he’s going to help us with the ball in his hands.
- When I was a first-time head coach, I wanted to run the USC system. I loved the USC offense. I forced the USC offense on my [coordinator] and he didn’t know it. That was a mistake on my part. So when I took over USC, I had some parameters. Steve Ensminger have coached together since 1985. I have a lot of respect for. We have talked numerous times ‘If we have the chance, what will we do?’ We’ll talk before the game what we want to do and how we open up the game. The nuts and bolts of it though, I’ll let him and the staff do it.
- This is a huge game. If you’re on the other sideline, this is the team you want to be. I remember being a 27-point underdog. Oh man. It looked like we were playing the Green Bay Packers the Tigers looked so big. We gave them the best we could, but the Tigers’ defensive talent took over. But times have changed. They have talent now. This is going to be a battle.
- They had a lot of people going into the draft. A lot of people that lost some defensive linemen. And they’ve played some very good offenses. They’ve played some guys that can move the ball. They played Alabama, they score a lot of points. So let’s just see. I think they’ve played a stiffer schedule than we have.
- I had more success in ‘The Blind Side’ than I did coaching Ole Miss. So there’s that.
- We want to rotate our [running backs]. We want them fresh. There might be a possibility that we put them in the field at the same time. I don’t know how much [Leonard] can do to be honest with you. He’ll run the plays that he can run. We’ll play them both.
- [Ole Miss] was a great opportunity for me. And I didn’t do well. I didn’t like it. So I said ‘These are things that need to change. These are the things that didn’t work.’ So I tried to change the things that I did at defensive line coach. Those techniques that I used to create some of the best defensive lines in the country did not work as a head coach. I had to get more into a head coach mode and not be the hard-butt on the staff.
- You can see a little pep in their step. Guys are making plays. Guys are having fun. Leadership is coming. I thought adversity [at halftime] was good. As we all know in sports, things aren’t always going to go how you want. These guys beat us last year in every aspect of the game. I remember the game. They were on fire. But it’s not about them. There are some things that we’re going to need to continue to improve.
- We expect Will Clapp to be back in practice this week. How much he can do, we’ll see.
- We played 63 guys our first game. Guys are seeing the opportunity. You come to practice and you work hard. You want your opportunity to play. And when they see a second-teamer making touchdowns or a second-teamer making tackles, it creates a better morale for the team.
- [Chad Kelly] has some very good receivers. When you play one-on-one, he’s going to throw it up and they’re going to grab it. He’s a very good competitor. He wants to win the football game. I know Jim Kelly very well. Those guys are competitive guys. He’s tough and he’s a little bit faster than you think he is. He’s able to read the defense and takes what the defense gives him.
- Toby is feeling a lot better. He’s going to go out and do a couple things. Questionable for the game. [Foster Moreau is also questionable.]
- They exploited us. We had a weakness in our coverage. They found it on film. They made it difficult to read for the nickelback and they threw it over his head. That’s what they do. They have a great coach.
- The speed in which they run the plays is No. 1. Hugh runs the plays very fast. It’s one of the fastest that we’ve seen. The ability to see what the defense does, the ability to call the plays from the sideline. He’s a really good offensive coach.
- Danny manages the game well. I really like his makeup, I like his attitude toward work. He’s what we’re looking for as a quarterback right now.
That’s the end of that. Thank you for following along.