LSU players talk about emotions of senior day
LSU OL K.J. Malone talks senior day in video above.
It's never easy for seniors to play their last game in high school or college in front of the home crowd. 19 seniors for LSU will do just that though on Saturday against the Florida Gators.
Fullback J.D. Moore came in with this class and redshirted, but he's still excited for the group LSU plans to honor on Saturday.
"I couldn't be more proud of this senior class. These are the guys that have been here from Day 1 for me. We're going to send them out the right way," Moore said.
Many of the offensive linemen look at Ethan Pocic for advice and guidance and to see him leaving will be tough especially for roommate K.J. Malone.
"He's one of the leaders for us. We all look up to him and for technique advice. He's like my big brother. I love that guy," Malone said. "He's always had that mature attitude and it's always shown in his work ethic and attitude. Just looking at him whenever things aren't going my way, I always look to him. Ethan's an animal."
Offensive lineman Josh Boutte said that being able to share that senior day in a great environment will make it even better.
"Just being a last time in that stadium as a unit, it's going to be really nice, really special. On top of that, we're playing a great time in Florida coming to Baton Rouge. What more can you ask for?" Boutte said.
For defensive end Arden Key, it's going to be tough for him to see Tashawn Bower leave, as Bower took him under his wing.
"Really the game of football. I came in and had some pass rush stuff, but to really sit down and study guys' sets and stuff. Just an all-around football player and a student," Key said.
LSU will honor 19 seniors before the Florida game on Saturday. Kickoff is at noon CT on the SEC Network.
LSU OL Ethan Pocic talks senior day, Arkansas win in video above.
With Fournette likely to play last home game, players reflect on "Buga"
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is expected to play his last home game before declaring for the NFL Draft at some point, and some players talked about what Fournette has meant to the program. No plans are expected for the pregame ceremony to honor Fournette.
For JD Moore, who leads the way for Fournette much of the time, senior day is reserved for seniors, but that's not to say Fournette won't get recognized.
"I think senior day is for seniors, but I think Leonard is going to have just as much appreciation by the fans, whether or not they make it official. I think people do recognize the significance of this being possibly his last home game," Moore said.
Left tackle K.J. Malone said that he's been a model teammate and expects Fournette to get some sort of ovation for what he has done.
"Everybody loves Leonard. He's just a great guy. If this is his last game, I'm sure everybody will have the same feelings when he first came in. Every time he goes out on the field, he lays it on the line," Malone said. "He's meant the world for us. We all have tremendous respect for him."
Offensive lineman Josh Boutte said Fournette is just like any other player on the LSU team, even though he's certainly the most high-profile.
"Leonard considers himself like any other guy on the team, but just on the bottom of that, you can look at him as he runs, he's just a different guy," Boutte said. "He's going to have a tremendous career wherever he goes. He's a great teammate. It's about the team and he's not a selfish guy."
Pocic echoed those comments and said the team works harder because of the tone Fournette sets.
"Leonard has been a great player on and off the field. Great locker room guy. Great leader in terms of pushing each other on the field and workouts. He sets the tone when he runs people over," Pocic said.
Fournette spoke to the team before the Alabama game along with a couple other teammates and tight end Foster Moreau said being his teammate has been special for him and recounted that speech.
"Empowering. Guy teaches you a lot. He doesn't speak much, but when he does, you listen. He garners an audience," Moreau said. "He just said buckle down and in his words, if you think you're a savage, prove it here, prove it now. Right now is not about talk, walk."
LSU QB Danny Etling, offensive line talks big rushing day
The big question mark before the Arkansas game was how would the offense respond after being shut out by Alabama. 390 rushing yards later, that was answered. Malone said offensive line coach Jeff Grimes challenged the team to control the tempo.
"Just before the game, coach Grimes was telling us before the game that we control the tempo of the game. Like big brothers, they'll follow us," Malone said. "Having Leonard and Derrius having their big day, it makes us all happy.
Josh Boutte said that it took a few tweaks during the week to correct what went wrong and to also bring plenty of physicality to the game from the start.
"It was great. It was special. We made it a point that during that week we had to change a few things. We did it successfully against Arkansas' defense," Boutte said. "We did a good job on what coach Grimes wanted us to do. Communication is a big part and physicality."
Pocic said that he's seen that happen before where the offense has to bounce back and for him the fast start was key.
"I wasn't worried about it. The week before was the week before. I was more worried about how we were going to get the win," Pocic said. "When Alabama shuts down the run like they did, it's tough to get in a groove. We came out and got in a groove, started fast. We were just trying to start fast."
LSU now looks to replicate that success against a much tougher opponent with the Gators' defense coming in at No. 2 in the conference in run defense.