HOOVER, Ala. — For the first time in a decade, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron is set to speak at the SEC Media Days.
Orgeron returns to Hoover for the first time since his three-year stint as the head coach at Ole Miss, now leading his hometown LSU Tigers. Coach O is set to address the more than 100 media members at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. Monday, ready to answer questions about the strengths and weaknesses of his team, as well as some of the pressing issues in college football and the SEC.
SEC Country is live on the scene and will update this article with quotes as Orgeron says them. Feel free to follow along with this post while Orgeron is speaking. You may need to refresh the page for updates as they occur.
What LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said:
- Thank you commissioner Sankey. It’s great to be back at SEC Media Days. What a wonderful event for college football and what a wonderful event for the best conference in the United States.
- Before I start, I’d like to say our thoughts and prayers are with congressman Steve Scalise in Washington.
- I want to tell you a story about growing up in Louisiana. LSU played Notre Dame. It was a great game between two great opponents. LSU beat Notre Dame 28-3. I was a young boy from Larose. I think the whole city of Larose and the whole state of Louisiana was cheering for LSU that night. Ever since that night, I wanted to be in the purple and gold.
- The thing I like best about Matt Canada is he talked about being a team player and he talked about running a balanced offense. I think he’s going to do an outstanding job as our offensive coordinator. He installed a whole new offensive staff. Guys he had never met before. They jelled well and had a great spring.
- One of my great hires heading into the spring was hiring running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tommie Robinson. He’s a guy that I trust. We found Mickey Joseph. He’s a friend of mine. We hired him as our wide receivers coach and he has done a tremendous job in recruiting and in coaching our wide receivers.
- I want to talk to you a little bit about our offense. When I interviewed Matt, I said ‘What kind of quarterback do you need?’ He said ‘Coach, we can have success with either kind of quarterback.’ I said ‘Good, we have both.’
- Right now if we were to play, Danny Etling would be our starter. There’s still a competition there, but Danny is the leader.
- We feel that we have the best running back in the country. He runs the ball like Warren Sapp who played defensive line for me at Miami. Behind Derrius, the guy that lost a lot of weight for us Darrel Williams is going to be our lone senior running back.
- Garrett Brumfield has earned the starting left guard job in the spring. Will Clapp is going to move to center. Lloyd Cushenberry gives us the flexibility that if Will Clapp needs to play another position. At right tackle, we thing we’re pretty solid with Toby Weathersby. He’s going to be backed up by Jakori Savage and Adrian Magee. We look forward to Austin Deculus and Saahdiq Charles.
- You’ll see DJ Chark run the fly sweeps. He was thinking about going out early after his junior year. He came back. And also we gave him the jersey No. 7. We look forward to him having a great senior year at LSU.
- Foster Moreau is one of the toughest guys I ever met and J.D. Moore is a tremendous, tremendous leader.
- I’m very excited to have Dave Aranda. As you guys know, we have one of the best defensive coordinators in all of football. I think he did a great job of shifting from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense. His defense held to the fewest touchdowns in the country in the first year and he held the Heisman Trophy winner to no touchdowns.
- Rashard Lawrence earned his starting job in the spring. He’s also a 4.0 GPA student. I think he’s going to have a tremendous, tremendous season at LSU. Backing him up will be Frank Herron. And nose tackle we have Greg Gilmore and Ed Alexander, two nosetackles that played extremely well last year. Behind them we have Tyler Shelvin.
- At outside linebacker, we feel that we have one of the best defensive players in the country if not the best defensive player in the country in Arden Key. We expect him to have a great season. He came back and he had some work done. We don’t know when he’s going to be back but we expect him to be back and have a great season. We expect K’Lavon Chaisson to develop early and be a great player.
- We needed to go out and recruit three of the best middle linebackers in the country and I think we did that. We expect those guys to really play and really compete for a starting position next year. Donnie Alexander is up to 230 pounds. We expect Devin White to have an outstanding year.
- Coming back from Philadelphia, we’re happy to see all our players get drafted. What a great year for Leonard and Jamal and all the guys getting drafted. But now we’ve got to replace them. Here we go. We’re DBU. We go and get them. Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens were two of the best players in the country and we expect them to get playing time early and potentially even start.
- We feel we have one of the best corners in the country and he’s the fastest guy in the country in Donte Jackson. Kevin Toliver is now starting. We’ll be really excited about Greedy Williams, Jontre Kirklin and Kary Vincent, who won the 200 meter dash in the state of Texas.
- I’m very grateful for my time at Ole Miss. I had a great time. It was a job in the SEC. I was given a great opportunity. I went there as a defensive line coach and had a great unit there. But it didn’t end well. I said ‘Hey, there’s some things I’ve got to change and I’ve got to figure out why things weren’t successful.’ Here are the two things I came up with: One, I was going to treat the team exactly how I treat my sons. No different. And I was going to treat every coach on my coaching staff with respect. Ever since those changes, we’ve gone 12-4. That’s the difference.
- Here’s what I need to tell you: Florida is a great rivalry for us. Every time we go into the Swamp, it’s going to be a battle. We need to have respect for coach McElwain and what they do. But we’re going to be ready to play.
- I’ll say [Arden Key] can be as good [as Myles Garrett.] Can Arden reach that status and perhaps pass it? Maybe.
- I thank God. I do believe he had a big hand in this. And I thank Jimmie Johnson and Pete Carroll. Those guys taught me a lot. When you walk in on Sunday afternoon and you’re the head football coach, you have to have some guys who lead the way. The team bought into what I was doing. I’m very, very honored to be the head coach here.
- I think Derrius will end up after the season being one of the top players in the country, if not the best player in the country.
- Obviously, they’ve done a great job. Coach Saban has done a great job. Last year was a really tight game. They’re quarterback made two plays. We didn’t. I don’t think there’s that big of a gap. Obviously there are a lot of teams on our schedule that are really good teams. We can’t just point to them, but they’re the benchmark. The way to beat Alabama is to recruit like Alabama. But last year we weren’t that far off.
- The recruiting process for us: We have six weeks in April and May that we can go identify and evalute players that we’ve been studying for two years. We got to Texas. We got to Georgia. We go to Alabama. They come to our state. Guys are not going uncovered nowadays. If there’s a guy on a country road, my GPS will get me there. As far as opportunity, there’s a lot of opportunity given to those young men. As far as satellite camps, I’m not a big fan of satellite camps. Do I wish we could go back to just having satellite camps on our campus? Yes I do. But that’s not my decision.
- When it comes down to playing Alabama, it’s about protection. They’re great up front. You have to protect the quarterback. We didn’t. Danny didn’t have any time and he couldn’t get the ball out of his hands. But it all starts with protection first.
- I’m really looking at Rashard Lawrence. I think he is going to be an excellent defensive end for us. Christian LaCouture is the leader and team captain. We think we’re going to have it with those young men. Devin White is an outstanding young man. He called me about a month ago and asked ‘Coach, can you help me be a leader? Show me how to do it.’