LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron hasn't allowed many looks into his thought on potentially getting the full-time LSU head coaching job, which took a hit with a loss to Florida on Saturday, but the Tigers coach did seem more reflective as he talked about getting to coach LSU this week against Texas A&M.
"It's a great honor to represent LSU as head coach on Thanksgiving night," Orgeron said. "Pete Jenkins and I were talking about it this morning what a wonderful opportunity to coach LSU on Thanksgiving night in front of a national crowd."
Orgeron continued to say that the time spent as interim coach has flown by and he's not focused on his future in terms of potentially interviewing.
"When we started this, it seemed like yesterday. It passed very fast. We talked about taking it one day at a time. Just doing the best I can on a daily basis I'm following that routine," Orgeron said. "Whatever happens after the game, I'm sure we'll discuss. Said it at the beginning, let's let the chips fall where they may. It's been fantastic. What a ride."
As far as what the team will do moving forward, Orgeron said it took a brief moment after losing to Florida, but he had to get everyone focusing on their tough task at hand with the short week.
"Block out the noise. We all woke up Sunday morning with that ache in our belly. Everybody did. I had to get myself up off the canvas. When I saw the coaching staff, we rallied around each other and leaned on each other. We started focusing on the task at hand."
Orgeron said later in the press conference that it's been a challenge to be the interim coach, but he enjoys accepting challenges and competing at the highest level, which is why he accepted the interim job at LSU in the first place. The reception the Louisiana native has gotten has been fun to experience.
"Been fantastic. What a ride. Been great. Being head coach of LSU, being from Louisiana. How the players have reacted, how the people have reacted. We've played very well in most games. It's been fun. I've grown as a head coach like I try to grow every day," Orgeron said.
Orgeron has learned a lot already in his six games as coach of LSU since taking over for Les Miles.
"I was more confident in being a head coach and letting my coaches coach. I'm closer to our team. The motivation is there. The skill development is there everyday. It's been great to be in Tiger Stadium. What a great experience."
LSU has a chance to finish up 5-2 under Orgeron if the team can go into Kyle Field and beat the Aggies.
LSU Butkus Award finalist Kendell Beckwith out for Texas A&M game
The LSU defense took a huge hit against the Gators when Kendell Beckwith exited with a knee injury and Donnie Alexander stepped into the Mike linebacker spot. Beckwith, who was named one of five Butkus Award finalists on Monday, is the team's leading tackler and makes plays all over for the Tigers.
LSU will be without Beckwith against the Aggies, Orgeron announced on Monday.
"Kendell is going to be out. Donnie did a pretty good job for us. Duke helped him a little bit. A&M will help us as they're spread."
http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1710661-join-tiger-blitz-with-our... praised the job Alexander did for the Tigers on Saturday. Alexander finished with eight tackles against the Gators.
"Donnie is going to be a good football player. We've got to help him key and diagnose. There's a difference between him and Kendell. The thing about A&M is they're a spread offense and he can run fast and make some plays in space. That's what Donnie does well."
Senior linebacker Duke Riley did a lot for the LSU defense, moving around and getting players in the right position. Orgeron said that Riley will be expected to step up again for LSU. Riley also had eight tackles against the Gators.
"Duke Riley stepped up. Duke Riley did some things in the game — I can't say enough about him — when he knew the play was going one way where he switched with him and got himself in position to make plays," Orgeron said. "He has an unbelievable awareness about him. He's a great team leader. It meant a lot to him."
LSU might be without Leonard Fournette again with his lingering ankle injury that has hampered him all season.
"He should be fine. Leonard is day-to-day with that ankle. It's sore and stuff like that. It'll be a game-time situation again for him," Orgeron said.
- A lot of people mention Derrius Guice as a big reason why the Tigers lost, but Orgeron said, "He's one of 20 guys that didn't execute."
- Orgeron said the Tigers will have to watch for Christian Kirk in the punt return game, who averages over 20 yards per return.
- LSU is combining Tuesday and Wednesday practice schedules for the players, which will be a challenge, but the staff won't wear them out either.
- When asked about the stadium's energy: "We always say big plays fuel emotion. I know when we completed that ball on 4th and 10, it was rocking."
- Orgeron said it might take two or three linemen to block Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who Orgeron recruited out of high school. Garrett reminds Orgeron of a bigger, stronger Arden Key. "He's a dominant player."
- Orgeron addressed the skirmish before the game between LSU and Florida and said that he wished he could have "tempered" it more and that he'd use it as a an example next time of why not to fight as it took LSU's mind off execution.