COACH ORGERON: Welcome, everybody. “Tell the Truth Monday”. 4-1. Really excited about the performance of our football team last Saturday night on a tough road trip. Loved our preparation all week. It was a great mind-set. Coaches, players, support staff, everyone buying into it, everyone, on the daily basis, buying into the process. It was a business trip. I thought our guys came prepared, ready to go. The drum started beating Friday morning at 10:00. You see in their eyes, everybody is early for the trip. Everybody is early for meetings, attentive, ready to go. We blocked out the noise. We had energy all week, we had energy right before the football game, energy on the whole game on the sideline, just a tremendous job by everybody involved, and I was very involved in our program.
We started fast at three and out on defense, scored our first possession, which was great to see, silenced the crowd a little bit. Tough, hostile environment. Loved the physicality of our football team. Our guys fought very hard against a physical, physical, football team. Obviously, the difference in the game was 390 yards rushing. 381 allowed the use of our run game, allowed the use of Fournette and Guice. Both of those guys had a good game but blocking up front was very critical, along with our tight ends and receivers. We won the time of position by ten minutes. Arkansas had been leading in the SEC and were very good at that. We wanted to improve on turnovers. We made 14 points on turnovers, which is something we worked on all week. We stressed on a period we call the winning edge on Thursday. Another great job of Dave Aranda on defense. I thought Pete Jenkins' defensive line did a tremendous job against a very good offensive line, a very good run scheme. Those guys wanted to battle it up front. Our linebackers tackled very well. We gave up one explosive one and one explosive pass. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1728017-lsu-prepares-for-florida-...
We play for 60 minutes. I was really happy for our players at the end. It was a festive attitude. They was excited about that Boot. It was really good to see it. It's a heavy trophy, I can tell you that. But just excited about our team to go in there and have a road win and get ready to go. Today is Tell the Truth Monday. Obviously, we have to let it go. I want to talk about the things that we did well. I want to talk about the things that we want to improve on, and one of the things we want to do is finish on defense. We didn't like the last couple of drives, those big screens and stuff like that. But those things we are going to address this week and get going, and after we meet it's going to be on to Florida. We're excited it's going to be senior day. We're excited we're playing at home. We know we have a great crowd, great Tiger Walk, ex-players are going to be there, 18, 19 seniors that did a tremendous job of leadership for this football team. They have a lot to play for. This game means a lot for them to finish this season. Means a lot for them, but we're going to focus on game six of the Florida Gators. Obviously, Florida is a very well-coached football team. We know about their record. We know what they have on their line. It's not about them. It's going to be about us. They're plus one in turnover margin. They are pro style on offense. 21, 12 and 11 personnel, 7 returning starters, averaging 378 yards a game, 26 points. Their quarterback, Austin Appleby I think started for three games. They have Luke Del Rio hurt. I don't know if he's coming back or not, but we expect to see Appleby. They have a very good -- well-coached offensive line. Mike Summers was my offensive line coach at USC. I have a lot of respect for Mike. He does a great job with the zone game and the power game. Their running backs are really good players, hard running. They stay inside track, play inside, outside zone. Jordan Scarlet, No. 25, 617 yards and they have speed in Callaway, their receiver. Their defense is one of the best in the country. Jeff Collins, a guy I know personally, I think he's a very young, dynamic defensive coordinator, does a lot of good things with his defense. He's 3-4, 4-3, okay blitz you. Their speed, they on the edge, their attack, very well versed on the defensive line, a lot of stunts that come after you. They pressure the quarterback, and they have a lot of speed. Special teams, as we know, Florida will have a lot of speed. So we know it's going to be a tough game. We're going to prepare well. We're excited again that we're playing at home.
Q. Hey, Coach, obviously, you don't have much fun when you don't win. But the players we've spoken to say, wow, I have not had this much fun ever at LSU since Coach Ed O took over, even 7-0 last year. Is that something that's a byproduct of winning or is it kind of the culture you create?
COACH ORGERON: Hopefully, it's the culture we create. Obviously, winning does that for us. We try to have fun every day with our guys. It's one team, one heartbeat. It's a family. Just like a family you go through hard times, you go through good times. What you felt in that locker room was a release, release of a tough week of work. We all want to get that awful feeling out of us. We didn't have success in one game. We're 4-1. There's a lot of good things we've done. I really feel like we have a good football team, and I like that they're having fun.
Q. Hey, Ed, obviously, there's two games left in the season, but does this defense have the potential to be maybe the best ever at LSU?
COACH ORGERON: You know, I haven't thought of it that way, I really haven't. We taking it one game at a time. I think after it's all said and done, we'll look at it. My concern is they are the best defense on the field this Saturday.
Q. Coach O, these players wanted Alabama, they wanted Florida, and this game got pushed back. Do you feel that still coming into this week this is a big game for them and they want the Gators?
COACH ORGERON: Yes. I mean, they understand.
This is a game they want to win. This is an SEC opponent they play every year. It's a rivalry game for us. You know, we got to go through a process all week. It's not going to be that way today. We're going to talk about what we done good at Arkansas. We go through the process, and I really feel come Saturday, they're going to be ready to play.
Q. Ed, Danny's going to be playing against a guy that beat him out at Purdue. Does he have a little more -- do you think he'll have a little more fire this week? Do you sense that from him possibly?
COACH ORGERON: I don't know. But I want to know who's evaluating those quarterbacks at Purdue. I want to give them a call. I think, you know, listen, all -- all of those things, you know, I guess personally, may motivate some people but this is about the team. This is all about the team. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1719731-sign-up-for-scout-and-get...
Q. Coach, this has been a season with so many potential distractions, and now you're entering a game that seems to have more potential distractions that don't have much to do with football. What are you doing to keep your guys focused and what does it say about the character of your team?
COACH ORGERON: Well, we have a lot -- we have 18 to 19 seniors. We have great character. These guys are buying into what we're doing on a daily basis. We have a tremendous coaching staff. We have a tremendous support system. All of our guys have bought into one team, one heartbeat. Today is Tell the Truth Monday, and when we get in our little cocoon there, and in the ops building, none of that is discussed. I know these guys probably listen to all of that stuff, but I think when we get there, we kind of snap it out by the hard work and intensity level and execution that we demand.
Q. Hey, Coach, obviously, fans think differently than ballplayers and coaches, but when Derrius had that explosion in the game, there were obviously people saying how come you didn't leave him in, give him a chance for the school record. Can you talk about how coaches handle that and how players, especially those teammates, handle that sort of thing?
COACH ORGERON: Yea. We don't talk about records during the game. We talk about plays and execution, and I let Jabbar handle the rotation, and I thought he did an excellent job, and whatever records may happen, they happened because we executed, not because we tried to break a record. We just tried to win the game.
Q. Coach, you've already spent a couple days preparing for Florida, only to have the game postponed, but having some more time with this team, knowing this team better, does your plan change from what you worked on for Florida the first time versus this time?
COACH ORGERON: You bring up a very good point. There's a lot of plays that are the same. There's a lot of things that we felt we had prepared very well for. There's some things that they have changed that we're going to have to change, so I think it gives you an advantage, that you know that opponent very well, but you have to start back from scratch.
Q. Ed, Jeff Grimes rotated the tackles a good bit during the game. How do you think that kind of shook out during the game? Did you like what you saw, I guess?
COACH ORGERON: I thought it was great. I think the more guys you can play, the more you build your team, to get your guys ready. They stay fresh. I thought the offensive line did a tremendous job. I think Jeff Grimes is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. He does a tremendous job. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1728131-notes-from-orgeron-s-flor...
Q. Coach, we saw Leonard leave the game again with an injury. If you could update his status, seems like every game we've seen him hobble off at some point. How do you handle him for the rest of the season?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. Smile when I see him for sure. Happy that he's there, I tell you that. And, you know, Leonard is tough. I think that the ankle is a little sore. The guy did roll up on it. I think he's going to bounce back. If he needs a day off Tuesday, he gets a day off. I let Jack handle that. Jack tells me he practices or doesn't practice, and -- but I do believe he's going to be fine.
Q. Coach, I also wanted to ask you about Leonard. There's been some high-profile athletes who have talked about the NCAA and how they make money off us, and we don't get anything in return and whatnot. Leonard has always seemed like he just enjoys being a college athlete and being part of the team. Can you talk about that and also some national people that continue to say he should sit out, and do all these things?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. You know, all of that stuff, that's so far away from what we do. I didn't even give that a thought. Today is what we're doing today, and the task at hand and all of these other things. If you let that stuff creep in your mind, it weakens you. I think we're very strong as a football team. Those things we don't even give an ounce of thought to.
Q. Ed, last week Duke Reilly said down the stretch here that he is playing for you, because he wants you to be the head coach next year at LSU. I know your sole task is trying to keep the guys focused. Does that matter to you that Duke says he's playing with the intention of wanting you to keep this job?
COACH ORGERON: Well, here's -- that's not what we're here for. That has nothing to do with beating Florida. I appreciate Duke. I appreciate the way he's playing. Our whole focus of attention is beating Florida.
Q. Also, this game typically, if it's a senior day game or maybe it's South Alabama, and you're way up on them, a chance to get some of those guys who maybe were just on the practice squad or never got to play for a long time, but since those guys don't have the opportunities, do you regret that? That's unfortunate that guys who were down the depth chart a little bit won't get the chance, this is an SEC game and it might be close in the end.
COACH ORGERON: You know, everybody on our team has a role, and they perform that role to the best of their ability, whether it may be playing or whether they be on a service team, whether it may be an energetic guy. Those guys feel good about what we're doing. It's one team, one heartbeat, so that stuff doesn't matter. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1727479-watch-guice-runs-into-lsu...
Q. Ed, just as someone in the coaching profession who presumably can emphasize with other coaches, opposing coaches, do you feel at all for what McElwain is dealing with where he needs to win to win the East and instead of playing in The Swamp, he's in Death Valley on senior day?
COACH ORGERON: No.
Q. I mean, do you think that the way it played out might cause coaches to want to have more input on how it plays out in the future?
COACH ORGERON: I think Joe did a tremendous job. I think our administration handled it just the way it ought to have been handled.
Q. Coach, first time for an early kick-off. Will you change, or how would you change the schedule this week?
COACH ORGERON: Nothing. We're going to be ready to he go. We just going to adjust the things that we do. Just get up a little bit early. We have our meetings. We have our same meetings on Friday, do the things that we normally do Friday night. Get up early, just be a little bit more fired up earlier during the day. That's it.
Q. And Tre'Davious had some issues returning punts the past couple weeks. Any thoughts of making changes there?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. We're going look at some things this week, obviously. We believe in him. He made a mistake. He's going to be our returner, but we're going to be ready to put somebody else in if he doesn't perform, but I do believe he's going to bounce back. He's a competitor.
Q. Coach, you mentioned, we talked about senior day a couple days earlier, but you had a couple years with these guys, but a lot of key seniors on this team when you took over. How much does this class mean to you personally?
COACH ORGERON: Well, I've only been here two years, so I relied on these guy, all of these guys. I mean, when we took over, these guys stood up, and they said hey, this is what we're going to go. We're going to play and we're going to listen to this coach. He's our coach now, and we're going to do the things we need to do. We changed practice schedule. We changed everything. Being early, and practicing fast, they bought into it. And some people lead by example, some people lead by talking. All of these guys have done a tremendous job. The one thing I'll say about this football team, and especially the leaders, they've done everything we've asked them to do so far. http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1727457-lsu-basketball-rolls-with...
Q. Coach, a lot of fans were getting excited about the potential of playing in the Sugar Bowl if you win your last two games. Is that a motivational, something you can mention to the team?
COACH ORGERON: Florida, noon, Saturday. That's all I can think about, man.
Q. Coach, first couple of weeks, you had those Monday practices open. You had them closed the last couple weeks.
COACH ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. I'm just wondering why that it is.
COACH ORGERON: Putting in secret plays. I don't want you all to know about them.
Q. Do you need more time with the guys without us watching? I mean, you know --
COACH ORGERON: Say that again.
Q. Did you just need more time with the guys without us watching?
COACH ORGERON: No, really, on Monday, there's a lot of things -- we're advanced. Our coaches, I'm so proud of them, the way they work, they rested really good. We come in Monday. We put in some stuff, some game plan stuff, and we just didn't want that stuff out on the -- whatever you call it, you know, all them little phone things.
Q. The Twitter?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. What do you know about that group? There's a few draft eligible juniors on obviously on this team that --
COACH ORGERON: I know I'm going to recruit them. I know I'm going to continue to recruit those guys. Nobody has told me anything, but I've been around long enough to know, that most of them have made their decision already. Most of them are maybe 75, 80 percent could be salvaged, just like Kendell Beckwith and Tre'Davious White was last year, but I know this is the time to be able to recruit them, because I know once the last game is play, and once they sign a contract, it's over. So this is the time to recruit those guys.
Q. Coach, Danny Etling only throws the ball 16 times in the game and yet seemed like you guys were able to keep them on their heels. I'm wondering, how important then is when you call the pass plays? Because it's not like you're slinging the ball all over the place and yet you were able to move the ball really well?
A. COACH ORGERON: I was really proud for Danny. I think maybe out of all of us, he probably had the toughest week. I know him. I worked with him on the service team. I know how he is. He's competitive, and he fought back. And he just had that look at him before the game, I'm ready to go and represent the LSU Tigers the way he should. I was proud of him. I thought he played well. I thought he threw the ball. He did what we asked him to do. All we Danny to do is manage the game and be efficient with his throws and once he does that, we can put the ball in our playmakers' hands.
Q. Coach, with each game and with each win, I really feel like the players, and you guys, become closer, have a closer brotherhood and strengthen as a team. What do you think if you guys are able to secure the win from Florida, what it will do to strengthen you guys' brotherhood and love for each other as a team?
COACH ORGERON: You're asking me what is going to make us closer this week for Florida?
Q. Yeah, like if you guys were to win, what do you think as a team it will kind of do for you all, emotionally?
COACH ORGERON: I think, you know, the more you win, the closer they become. I really like the festive attitude in the locker room. Yeah. I think that they want that feeling again as opposed to the other feeling. And when you do win, it makes the whole week better for everybody, and it gives you confidence and gives you confidence in your teammates that we can do it, but it also gave us confidence that we could bounce back from adversity and shut out the noise, the noise that was telling us we won't play well, we're going to have a hangover, and you going to go up there and ou going to fall on your face and all that stuff. If we would have listened to that, it probably would have happened. We were strong enough to block that stuff out. All of that other stuff that's coming in, we got to block it out again. I think the more we all block it out makes us stronger.
Thank you, guys. I hope you have a great day.