Mark Konezny/USA Today

Q&A with LSU DE Lewis Neal, who's off to a blazing start in 2015

TSD caught up with starting LSU defensive end Lewis Neal after the junior had two sacks in the Tigers' 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan.

None of the success Lewis Neal is having in 2015 comes as a surprise to him.

The junior defensive end from North Carolina only needed a chance to hit the field for LSU, something he wasn't afforded much of in his first two seasons sitting behind Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco.

Now, granted an opportunity to start and playing under the tutelage of defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who quickly took to Neal in spring practices, No. 92 is wearing out opposing offensive tackles. Through four games Neal has notched three of the Tigers' 11 sacks while adding two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

TSD's Ben Love, along with several other reporters, caught up with Neal following LSU's 44-22 home win over Eastern Michigan Saturday night, a contest in which the junior tallied two quarterback takedowns. What follows were some of his best, most candid takes about his hot start this fall.

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Detailing his second sack Saturday night ...
"One-on-one, you’ve got to win. That’s how I got the second one. It takes four people to make a sack, so it wasn’t just me. The rush from my teammates helped me get to the sack."

On how the young ends performed without Tashawn Bower ...
“They did great. You’ve got to step up and play. Regardless, it’s next man up and you’ve got to step up and play until he comes back. They’ve just got to grow up and mature fast and play big.”

When asked if he's more confident this season ...
“I’ve been this way, to be honest with you. Ever since I came here, I’ve been this way. I just never got to show it. That’s all.”

On where he's been the last two seasons given start to this campaign ...
“I mean that’s not my (call). When I get on the field, that’s all I can do. I just hoped I’d get on the field and when I get out there I’ve just got to make plays. It wasn’t my fault, you know.”

On the Coach O effect ...
“He’s ready to watch film right now. So that’s how the grind is. I love that because that’s what makes us better. It’s all about getting that W now, but then we’ve got to fix all the (mistakes).”

On freshman Isaiah Washington returning from injury ...
“He’s going to give us his all. That’s all I expect from him. Obviously this was his first time, so he’s got to get used to it. He will, fast. I mean it’s not hard. As long as he’s going all out and playing hard and making plays, that’s all that matters.”

When asked about halftime locker room with LSU only up 20-14 ...
“Everything they did, we gave it to them. You’ve got to think about it like that. So we knew (that). We were just relaxing. The defensive line, we didn’t come in here and chew each other out or anything like that. We were relaxing because we were going to come out here and play our game.”

On the LSU defense playing better in second halves ...
“We’ve just got to finish, so that’s what we’re going to continue to work on – finishing. When we finish, it’s going to be scary. It starts in practice. We’ve got to have focus in practice. So it’ll start there and game time it’s going to show.”

On if being tired has anything to do with late-game drop-offs ...
“We’re not tired. It’s not about fatigue. It’s about focus. We’ve got to be there mentally. It’s not physical. We’re there physically. We just have to make sure we’re there mentally.”


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