BATON ROUGE, La. — In the month since Ed Orgeron was promoted to the interim head coach of the LSU football team, there’s always been one week circled on the calendar.
That week is here.
Orgeron and the Tigers host No. 1 Alabama at Tiger Stadium this Saturday, with LSU’s title hopes hanging in the balance and the potential of Orgeron to drop the interim tag in-season as high as it’s ever been.
Coming off a bye week, Coach O is about to address the media for the first time in advance of the pivotal matchup against the Crimson Tide. SEC Country is on the scene and will be updating this live blog with quotes from Orgeron as he says them. Be sure to follow along and refresh this page for updates as they come.
- We had a tremendous open date. I really love the attitude of our players. We had a tremendous “Tiger Bowl” on Thursday. The younger guys got to show their talent. Then our guys got to go home for the weekend and spend some much needed time with their families.
- I’m looking forward to seeing our team today. It’s ‘Tell the Truth Monday’ and the truth is we’ve got a tremendous Alabama team coming to town. We understand the rivalry. We understand the importance of this game. But really, it’s game 4 of our new season. That’s how we’re going to treat it.
- Alabama Crimson Tide. 8-0. 20-game winning streak. Coached by one of the greatest coaches in college football history. And Lane Kiffin is a great play-caller. He was born with a football in his hand.
- Jalen Hurts, it’s like defending the wildcat back there. I really like their offensive line. I think it’s the best offensive line that we’ve seen. They execute. There’s nothing fancy. They come off the football, they hold their blocks and their backs hit the holes.
- O.J. Howard is the best tight end we’ve faced.
- Obviously the best defense we’ve seen. Might be one of the best defenses in college football history. We’ll see at the end of the year.
- On special teams they’re very explosive and they’re very solid across the board. They’re efficient, they’re well-coached and their plus-4 in the turnover ratio.
- Getting back to our team, we’re going to be excited to play. We’re glad to have Leonard back. We’re glad to have Dave Aranda running our defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do this week, but we’ll be ready to play Saturday night.
- [On Dwayne Thomas’s “dominate Alabama” comments] That’s wrong. He shouldn’t have said it. You don’t win games in the papers. I’ll have to talk to him.
- We’re very proud that [Etling] is our quarterback. He’s going to get hit. He’s probably going to get sacked once or twice. But he just needs to do what Steve Ensminger teaches him.
- They’re very well coached. I would imagine they make adjustments right away when things happen. They fix things. They’re big. They have depth.
- We’re going to see this week if [Toby Weathersby] is ready to go. We won’t know until Friday.
- [On the first time Orgeron met Leonard as a recruit] I was just amazed what a high-character kid he was. When he came to camp, we felt he would be a great player. But I had no idea the player he’d turn out to be. I think he’s the best player in the country.
- Hopefully a lot will be different. We’re going to do some things with Leonard. Whatever happened last year is the past. It’s going to be very tough moving the football on this defense. They’re one of the best defenses I’ve ever seen.
- I think Alabama is better defensively [than Orgeron’s USC championship teams]. You think Alabama, they’re great on special teams, great on defense and maybe scoring 25 points per game. Now they’re scoring 45 points per game. He just has a complete package.
- The focus is about these players, the LSU family. About Tell the Truth Monday and one day at a time. These next four weeks are going to pass fast. I’ll let the chips fall where they may.
- I think it’s a combination. It’s respect. [Our veterans] respect this football team. They want to beat them. Two years ago, they felt they played well enough to beat this team. I expect those guys to come out hungry wanting to win the football game. We know the type of football game we have to play in order to beat this team.
- I went to my son’s game this weekend at McNeese State and I kind of felt [the fan base’s want to beat Alabama] a little bit. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve put on the Alabama LSU game. I know that the people are not satisfied with the way it’s gone. But when we walk on the field Saturday night it’s not going to be about that.
- I think they have great pass rush technique. They overpower you and they overscheme you. We’re going to need to be really tough and smart.
- At some positions, no question. We like our football team. We like the guys that we have. We feel we need to get better at some positions to get where we need to be. But this is a great collection of talent on both sides.
- [Leonard] did some things conditioning-wise off the football field to get in shape.
- I’m going to tell you what my mentor Pete Carroll told me. “You can’t win the game in the first quarter. You can’t win the game in the second quarter. You can’t win a game at halftime. You can’t win it in the third quarter. But you darn sure better win it in the fourth quarter.”
- You have to be smart. You have to have smart protection first. Make sure that every guy is blocking the guy he’s supposed to. And then taking care of the football. Our guys have done a pretty good job of taking care of it. Realize that they’re going to make plays too. This is going to be a battle.
- Every week brings a different distraction. We stay on our regimen. In Saturday, in our hotel, we have a strict regimen of things we do to keep our guys focused. They’re going to be on their Twitter. They’re going to call their girlfriends. Everybody does that. But we have little saying to click them back in.
- We have a good team. We have good players. We have a good coaching staff. We’re playing in the best stadium in the world. This ain’t about me. When I took over this team, I knew we had a good football team. It was our job to put them in position to make plays.
- Obviously you need to be smart and know this is a rivalry game. The guys are going to be excited. The way I’m going to talk to the team today, they’re going to know how much confidence I have in this team.
- I see [Jonathan Allen] jumping over the tailback who tried to cut him and my jaw… I have a vision of him jumping over that tailback.
- This is an intimidating place to play. I’ve been on the other side. But I tell our guys: Big plays fuel emotion. You have to give them something to cheer about.
- Besides the guys who are out for the season, we should probably be at full strength Saturday night.
- Thank you guys, I hope you have a great day.