I spent a lot of time talking to WR Jarvis Landry today and a little with QB Zach Mettenberger, who has shaved the mustache.
The theme of the day was most definitely leadership and where it's coming from on this team. Both guys touched on that as well as the offense in general and how it can improve heading into the meat of LSU's SEC schedule.
Without further ado ...
On the trust factor between QB, WRs and coaches: "Truthfully I do (believe it's about trust). I think that's the key. Coach K, he strives on giving Zach the license, basically letting him be able to throw the ball down the field and do the things that he does well. But it comes with trust, it comes with us trying to kick it back up this week with some after-practice stuff to try and get our timing and momentum back, so when we have to pass it we'll be ready."
On losing, shuffling offensive linemen: "It's affected us in all areas, mainly with the passing game but definitely the running game too. It's taken a toll on our backs. It's just a big thing that's happening right now, but they're doing the best job that they can. Coach Stud is doing a great job of moving guys around and putting them in positions that best fit their abilities. I think we've just got to continue to move guys around and find plays to run that they're better at."
On whether or not there's been a players-only meeting yet: "That's in the making. That's coming. It's something that's going to happen, and it's something that we feel needs to happen just to re-calibrate the team and get us in that one state, one mentality of playing in January."
On who the leaders are offensively: "I think I'm viewed as one of those guys, but Zach, Spencer Ware, Odell, Russell Shepard and a few of the linemen, Hurst, we can really be classified as leaders. Dworaczyk really stepped up yesterday and said a few things, so I think today is going to be a day where we need to re-calibrate ourselves and put all of us in the right state of mind again."
On shaving the 'stache: "I thought I was going to keep the mustache all year, but obviously our offense wasn't clicking. And being a little superstitious, hopefully this changes it up ... The offensive woes were the biggest deciding factors in shaving the mustache."
On extending plays: "My game's definitely not running around laterally in the pocket. I'm a North-South type guy. But things have happened this year where I've tried to create plays and out of frustration I guess I've tried to do too much. I just need to stick to the game plan and my abilities. If I can do that we'll be fine offensively. But timing-wise I feel like I've been very good this year. I just need to have better ball security when I do decide to extend the play."
On if his input is valued in the game plan, in-game alterations: "They're definitely not going to run a play I'm not comfortable with. I may be able to play the play in practice, but I might not be totally comfortable with the read for in-game situations. So we may shelf it for another week until I get totally comfortable. I definitely feel my input is important and has been used a lot this year."
On losing FB J.C. Copeland for awhile: "I think the identify of him just being a 275-pound guy who can literally take out anybody is going to hurt. But Connor [Neighbors, who is Mett's roommate] is a 245-pound kid who's not afraid to hit anybody. So I think our power running game is going to be about the same. We still have the offensive line coming back and receivers are blocking well downfield ... I think Connor is going to do just fine."
On his ability as a leader five games in: "There's definitely been growing pains for sure. From a pride standpoint this offense is not where I want it to be. We still have a lot of room to improve, but really it's going to be an attitude thing and a gut-check this week to see how guys respond. We're not playing particularly well these past five weeks, and Saturday is really going to be the game of the year. It's the biggest game of the year. It's really going to be the set point for the rest of the year if we can go out there, play like we want to and get the win. It's going to show a lot of these guys on the team that we can get it done."
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