BATON ROUGE, La. — Coming off a 27-0 win over BYU, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron has a lot to be happy about.
Orgeron spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon for the first time since after the Tigers’ season opening win. In the press conference, Orgeron addressed questions about LSU’s depth chart, commented on Arden Key’s health status and raved about the performances of his young players.
SEC Country was on hand and typed out Orgeron’s words as he said them. Here is a mostly complete transcript of what was said.
What LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said:
- We’re coming off a good team win against BYU. We’re very pleased with our preparation. Been a very focused group all week. You could just tell all week we were ready to play.
- I’ve got to thank Tommy Moffitt for the great job he did with our guys over the summer. We were bigger, faster and stronger because of the job Tommy and his excellent staff did.
- We’re proud that we started five true freshmen and we played 17. This is a fantastic group and we’re going to grow with them.
- Zero turnovers and zero sacks. We’re very proud of that. Good job by coach Grimes and good job by coach Canada calling the plays. Danny Etling we thought played fantastic. His passes were on the money. He made great decisions. We ran the ball for almost 300 yards. Our receivers caught the ball. I think it’s the first time in a long time that LSU has had seven guys catch the ball and run the ball.
- The thing we want to improve on is red zone efficiency and we want to eliminate the penalties, especially early in the game.
- Outstanding performance by the defense. It was a shutout. Just a tremendous job. We had a lot of guys play well. All 11 doing the job all the time. We want to create more turnovers though.
- We had a 32 yard punt return by D.J. Chark. That was a nice play. We stopped a fake punt; great situational awareness there. The blocking on our kickoff return was outstanding. Our field goal protection was good. They had blocked many kicks.
- We’re going to open up the competition on who is doing kickoff. We were not happy with our kickoffs and we were not happy with our assignments.
- We want to press on to Chattanooga. We need to focus totally on them. It’s our first home game. I want to encourage the fans to get their tickets now. We’re expecting a sold out crowd and I know we’re going to get. I can’t wait to walk into that stadium with our new team Saturday night.
- On offense Chattanooga is multiple. We’ve seen the spread, we’ve seen the pro style. It was mostly spread against Jacksonville State but we don’t know what we’re going to get. But I do believe we’re going to be prepared.
- They’re top players are their running back, their wide receiver and their big, big quarterback.
- On defense we expect a 3-4 defense that gives us multiple looks. Their top players are two linebackers and a defensive lineman.
- They’re averaging 19.2 yards on the kickoff return. Their field goal kicker was 2-of-2 on field goals.
- We thought our guys graded out pretty good. Most of them graded out in the high 90s. That was awesome. For the first game, our younger guys played great. I thought the offensive line played great. Obviously there’s some things that Jeff wants to fix. But those guys played great.
- The guys who didn’t play last week, they’re going to work their way back. We haven’t made that decision yet. It might carry over to game time.
- I think any time you get over 25 [carries] is too much because we have three or four backs who can carry the ball. We wanted to get Derrius the ball on that first play. But I don’t think you’re going to see him run 25 or 30 times a game. We don’t want to wear him out.
- When I woke up Saturday I was a little nervous. I wanted the team to play well. I knew we had a new offense and new special teams. Those things were important to me. First time that Matt called the game I was on the headset with him. We had a lot of new freshmen playing. There was a lot of anxiety inside. But I believe the team gives you confidence when you see the way they prepare. I knew we were going to play well.
- We’re glad we have them. The freshmen are exactly what we thought recruiting them. The thing I was most impressed was their mental outlook. They didn’t have that deer in the headlights look. I thought they graded out well. Tyler Taylor, Grant Delpit, Kary Vincent, they all did a fantastic job.
- We felt that ball security for a first game was of utmost performance. We thought D.J. Chark had better ball security skills [on punt return]. We’ll see how it is moving forward. Donte Jackson is a gamer. Once he secures the ball better we’ll be in good shape.
- Corey Thompson has speed and is very strong. He’s strong at the point of attack. When we get Arden Key back on the defense, the pass rush is going to be in very good shape. Corey has to stay healthy. He’s faced a lot of adversity through injuries. It’s not his fault.
- Arden is still waiting to be cleared for contact. He’ll get a little more today as far as repetitions. We’re going to bring him back slowly. But he’s not been cleared to play and he’s not ready yet.
- I grew up watching LSU football. Just being around those guys and seeing them play in Tiger Stadium, I think it gives us all motivation. I wanted to bring them back. At Miami, we brought back old players. They were always there. At USC, Marcus Allen was always by my side. I remember Jerome Brown and them calling Cortez Kennedy before the games. I think that’s a great tradition LSU can have. We brought some of the greats back. All the great ones. They talked to the team. I think it gives us strength and unity.
- Splitting out tight ends: That’s all Matt’s stuff. We want to create mismatches. The F position can be a tight end, it can be a wide receiver. It all depends on the play. We’re trying to create mismatches.
- Frank Herron is going to be on a week-to-week basis. He’s not ready to play right now. He’s not cleared to play. And we don’t know when he’s going to be cleared to play right now.
- The challenge this week is focusing on the task at hand and preparing for this battle. We’re not planning for anything but a battle. Obviously if teams go the way we want them to in any game, we’re going to put in the freshmen. But only if we can.
- Derrius wants 70. That won’t be a good conversation. But we’ve talked about it, Matt and I and Tommie and I. I’m not saying he won’t get 25. There might be a game where we need more. But we don’t want to wear him out. I have all the confidence in Darrel and Clyde and Nick Brossette. We want to rotate them out.
- Obviously we have team rules. We have team rules. That’s it. If you break the team rule, you pay a price. That’s it. We bring guys in and we council them. But once they cross a line, they have to pay a penalty. And that’s what we have to do.
- We want to hit the long ball. We want to be consistent in hitting the long ball. There’s going to be a rush. He’s going to have to avoid the rush and make decisions. The competition as we grow is going to get stiffer. We all have confidence in Danny, but everybody is waiting to see him win the big game. Until he does that, that’s going to be his mark. And he knows that.
- Last year we had Lewis Neal that could play 4-technique and he could play 6-technique. We didn’t need to sub when we played 3-4 over. Now we don’t have a guy who can do that. We need to make more substitutions now and we have more outside linebackers now so we can do that. But we need to be careful. Sometimes you move a defensive end to defensive tackle and he gets stymied.
- Every play [Etling] has a choice on where to run the ball and where to put the ball and whether to pass.
- We’re still anticipating a lot more nickel this year. We rarely see 21 personnel. I think we played 75-80 percent nickel this year and I think we’re probably going to do the same this year.
- Myles Brennan has been excellent. He’s been excellent all camp. There was some scrimmages where he was one of the best players on the field. But we want to see him grow into the offense. His first time playing and he walks into the Superdome. Think about that. His one pass, he read the linebacker perfectly. He has a grasp on the offense right now. He’s learning. Hopefully we can get him a lot of experience this year.
- Dee Anderson has been out with an injury all camp. He has not practiced yet. And I don’t know if he’s going to be back this week.
- Sci Martin will be practicing today. I do believe he’s practicing today. He should be.