BATON ROUGE, La. — For the third straight year, the weather is overshadowing an LSU football game.
Less than a week separates Monday from the Tigers’ scheduled season opener versus BYU in Houston. But the status of the game remains up in the air, as Tropical Storm Harvey has flooded Houston and made the city a nonviable option as a game location.
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron and athletic director Joe Alleva took the podium Monday afternoon to address the status of the game, as well as all the things pertaining to his squad. SEC Country was on hand and typed out everything Orgeron had to say, including his comments on Houston, key position battles and health updates, plus Alleva’s statement.
The following is a transcript which was typed live by a reporter on hand.
What LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said:
- Obviously the first thing I want to do is give our thoughts and prayers to all the people in Houston. We in Louisiana have a pretty good idea of what they’re going through and it’s really bad. Our athletic department and university will be working together to reach out to the people in Texas and do whatever we can to help them.
- We’ve been in constant communication with the people in Texas and ESPN. I am not prepared to say where the game is going to be, but I’m confident to say that no later than tomorrow we’ll have a location of where this game is supposed to be. I really don’t have much more to tell you than that right now.
- As you know, this is ESPN’s game. This is not LSU’s game. They have the rights to it and they’re negotiating where the game will be located. We’ve been in constant contact. As soon as something happens, I’ll let you know.
- Can’t discuss the options that are on the table. Wish I could.
- No parameters on where the game can or can’t be.
- They’ve been great. They’ve been in constant contact with myself and Tom Homan, the athletic director at BYU. They’ve kept us in the loop. The No. 1 goal is to play the game.
- [Tiger Stadium] has been offered up but I frankly don’t think that’s going to happen.
- I think right now, the biggest thing that’s going through their minds is where is the best venue to play this game. The storm is a factor. Fans are a factor. But right now there are various venues in discussion.
- Barring something crazy happening, I’m very confident that the game is going to be played. We’ll let you know as soon as we know something.
What LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said:
- I want to echo what Joe said. Our thoughts and prayers are with the wonderful people of Houston and South Texas. We called the parents of our players last night and everyone is OK. Most of our recruits too.
- I totally trust Joe. My job is to get the team ready. I’m going to focus on the task at hand and wherever the game is played, I’m going to get the team ready to go.
- We’ve had a good camp. Matt Canada has all his offense in. He’s ready to go. Dave has all the things ready that he wants from the first game. Our team is completely on BYU.
- They’re very well coached, they’re tough and hard-nosed and experienced. Won eight of their last nine games. The four losses were a combined eight total points. They know how to win. They’ve historically wanted to stay in tight games and win at the end.
- On offense, they’re a pro-style offense. Their offensive coordinator is Ty Detmer, as you guys know. He was a Heisman winner and a College Football Hall of Famer and now he’s calling plays. Very good coach. Offensive line is very physical and very big.
- They’re very balanced. Their center is only about 6-foot-1 but he’s started every game he’s played at BYU. Me and Pete have been studying the guy all summer. We’re going to have our hands full with him. Tanner Mangum is their quarterback. He’s guided and commanded the offense. Squally Canada is their running back, had 100 yards against Portland State.
- They run the same defense we do. Very good friends with Dave. Very stout against the run. Only gave up six points and a few yards rushing to Portland State. They’re coached very well. They’re top players are Fred Warner Sr. at outside linebacker. He is a very good run defender and pass defender. The strong safety, No. 7, is they’re best DB. Their edge defenders are guys we need to know where they are at all times.
- It’s always going to be about us and never about the opponent. Our starting offensive line as of now is: K.J. Malone, Garrett Brumfield, Will Clapp, one of our two freshman either Ed Ingram or Saahdiq Charles and Toby Weathersby. Our quarterback will be Danny Etling. Tight ends are Foster Moreau and J.D. Moore. Our three starting receivers will be D.J. Chark, Russell Gage and Derrick Dillon. Our starting running back will be Derrius Guice, backed up by Darrel Williams. You will see Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire get into the game.
- Defense: Our field linebacker will be Corey Thompson or Michael Divinity. Defensive end will be Christian LaCouture and Rashard Lawrence. Nose tackle Greg Gilmore. Bench linebacker not decided. Arden Key will not play. Inside linebacker will be Donnie Alexander and Devin White. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson backed up by Jontre Kirklin. John Battle at safety backed up by Todd Harris. Other safety will be Ed Paris or Grant Delpit. Other corner will be Kevin Toliver backed up by Greedy Williams.
- Jack Gonsoulin won the kicker competition. Connor Culp won the kickoff competition. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to start at kick returner. Punt returner will be Donte Jackson and/or Derrick Dillon.
- I’m going to show the defensive line the film of where Portland State’s line was getting crush. They’re defensive line was crushing the offensive line. BYU is a good football team. I’m going to show the players that today.
- Lloyd can also play right guard. He’s going to back up Will at center. I’m proud of the [right guards]. I’ve seen them go at camp. They’re going to make freshman mistakes, but I think they’re physically prepared to do it.
- I think the answer is going to come soon enough as where we’re going to go. But our focus is going to be on BYU. It will not be a distraction, I promise you.
- Obviously BYU is going to put in new wrinkles for us. From what I’ve hearing, they’ve been game-planning for us for a long time. Like anybody else, they were preparing throughout the summer. We know that. But we went through 12 games of last year. Every formation. Every blitz. We’ll be prepared for it.
- We’ve tried to manufacture all the pressure we can for [the freshmen]. But until they get under the lights, we’re going to see. We believe in them. We think we can do it.
- I trust what Joe is going to do. I know they’re going to have the best interest of our fans.
- We talked to most of our [Houston players’ families.] Most said they are OK. I talked to Toby Weathersby’s mother. Her mother was in a situation she was struggling. I got in touch with most of the parents. They felt like they were trapped. I felt bad for them. They couldn’t move. But they were appreciative that we did call.
- This is going to be a battle. This football team is very good. We’re going to give it all we got. I know our guys are going to play well. There are going to be first game mistakes. But we’re going to be able to back them up if we can.
- We expect to ease Derrius back into practice. We’ll see how it goes. Are we 100 percent sure he’s going to play? No. But we expect him to. We’re going to see how it goes.
- I let the assistant coaches handle the position battles. As far as the B linebacker, I need to see them handle the whole process. I need to see how they feel on game day. I won’t expect us to name someone until right before game time.
- Derrius was out last week with an injury. He’ll be back today though.
- Since we took over, Tell the Truth Monday, Competition Tuesday, it’s all built on focusing on the task at hand on a daily basis. Going into the last week last year, look at what we went through. And we focused on the task at hand. All of them have come into the office and said ‘I don’t care where we play. Just tell me what to do.’
- When we took over last year, we broke a bunch of records on offense. I don’t know how much better we’re going to be. But I think consistency, running the ball and passing 50 percent of the time, being unpredictable, running the spread offense, I think all of those things are going to be better. We ran for so many yards against Texas A&M, against Arkansas. I think Matt Canada does a tremendous job on offense. He’s averaged 40-45 points per game where he’s been. But if we can get that average up from last year, I think it’ll be a tremendous year.