LSU coach Johnny Jones Jan. 12 press conference transcript + video

Here's everything LSU coach Johnny Jones had to say at his press conference on Thursday ahead of the Tigers' game against Alabama.

HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES 

Opening statement…

“We obviously had another tough set back last night on the road in College Station. We played a team that was at 0-3 in league play and with the game being at home, it was much needed win. We went on the road after having a setback at home feeling the same way and needing to bounce back and get another victory under our belt. Unfortunately for us even after making lineup changes and putting ourselves in a situation where we thought the defense should be able to improve, unfortunately we gave up some baskets, we got down early and had to fight an uphill battle for most of the evening. We have to quickly turn our attention to a team that has really improved and is really good in Alabama. They’ve a really talented team and have gotten off to a great start in the league. They'll present a lot of challenges to us because of the abilities they have inside and on the perimeter as well. We need to make adjustments and see how much we can improve over these next few days prior to taking on another tough conference foe.”

On if there are more lineup changes possible…

“We’ve got to keep searching. I’m not sure about lineup changes so to speak but we have to figure out exactly what works for us. I thought we defended decent in the beginning but unfortunately we couldn't get free throws to fall for us early in the game to keep it close. I thought we had some easy scoring opportunities that didn't go down and they became more of a confident team as the game played out. We got them in foul trouble by going at them early, and we had some of their key guys on the bench. Unfortunately after cutting it to five we were unable to sustain it and take advantage of the opportunity of having two or three of their better players out in the first half. Unfortunately we had to sit a couple of guys as well. We’ve got to keep searching and seeking what works for this group. We have to make sure they keep performing and working extremely hard in practice and then try to transition that to the game.” http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1745135-column-inevitable-that-jo...

On if the team quit last night…

“No, absolutely not. You know quit when you see it in guy’s eyes or how they are feeling after the game. I think we played a good team last night. Any time you put yourself in a position where you have to gamble more because you’re down, you get beat over the top and guys get layups. But quit? No. The guys played hard and Texas A&M executed and made some plays. When we did try to extend they got in behind us there late and they got a couple of dunks. Watching these guys after the game … the emotion that they go through and their feelings, that's not it. If you quit you don't care, and I think these guys care about what they’re doing. I think they’re just like everybody else, a fan or a coach, we’re all hurting and we want to get better. We’ve got to do that and help them through it to get it done as well.”

On how the press worked at times…

“We’ve got to try to extend our defense a little. We’ve got to do a little more defensively with this group. We’ve obviously had to make some changes and we’ve got to do more combinations of things to allow this team to play the way that we need to and to be able to create some opportunities to create on the defensive end. I don't think we can have one steady diet with this team. I think we have to mix some things up to try to keep opposing teams off balance. When they do get comfortable they’re able to take advantage. I thought those guys were able to get comfortable last night. We were able to switch some things up and I thought through some stretches we were able to get back and stop them from scoring. Unfortunately on the offensive end we weren’t clicking like we were supposed to and to make the plays that we wanted to.”

On balancing teams morale…

“It's a balance. I think you have to be careful with guy’s psyches. You have to continue to coach them to improve and continue to get better. If you look at the conference schedule and the teams in our conference, every team is very capable and there are no easy outs in the league. I think there are five or six teams that are 1-3 in the league and I think there is one another team that is 2-2. So that's what you point to. It’s still early in the season and it has an opportunity to go either way. A couple wins and you can be right back in the top five or so in the standings. That's what you battle for and you keep trying to put yourself in that position. We’ve got a lot of games to be played. We have to make sure that we start to get on that winning side and put yourself in a much better position.” 

On translating practice to the games…

“I think we have to keep practicing extremely hard and hopefully keep attitudes right in practice. That's the main thing. Then being able to transition practice to the game over longer periods. I think some signs show up in the game that we’ve done in practice. But it’s something that we talk about all the time; every second every play, it's a must. It even alludes to the national championship game and how important one second meant in that game having six seconds … Hopefully that will resonate and hit home with them, how important it is to play every second, every play.”

On if there’s worry about keeping a young team together…

“Absolutely, but that's our job, to keep them up and battling and making sure they’re competing. The thing is you have to learn to be able to compete at a certain level too, and that's different. This team is a little young in some areas and inexperienced. There are a lot of things that have to be learned and taught, and competing at a certain level is one of them. We’ve got to constantly make sure that we do that, because to change things you have to be able to compete at a certain level night in and night out. That's a must, and any time you stop competing then I think things really change and your score will be a great indicator of that as well.”

On if the team needs more leaders and difference makers…

“We need guys to step up and play and lead by example. You want leadership out there, but I think if each guy goes out there and maximizes their talent and plays as hard as they can, I think that's leadership. I think they can really support each other that way. That's what we have to do, make sure each guy goes out there and is exhausting themselves in the game, however many minutes that is. You have to make sure for however long you’re out there, that you’re exhausting yourself and you’re out they’re playing extremely hard to be a difference maker. That's what we’re searching for and that's what we need.”

On improving transition defense…

“You've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. When you turn it over teams get easy scoring opportunities when you don't do a great job of getting back. When you score teams are taking the ball out of the net. When you’re not shooting 30-something percent from the floor your defense has an opportunity to get set. Regardless of when those things happen, we should have the floor balanced. We should have a couple of guys back to force a couple of passes, and that allows the other two or three guys who are supposed to be getting back to get set. Then you have to play against our man. When we have a set defense we’re better in the half court. When you see that some team may have gotten how ever many fast breaks opportunities and they score … Early in the season, we were able to keep that number down. As of late that number has gone up. We have to do a better job of getting back and getting stops. That's why when you look at a team like last night, shooting 60 something percent from the field, they had some easy scoring opportunities late. Some of them were layups on fast-break opportunities. We have to do a better job of that.

On offensive issues…

“Absolutely, you don't want to turn it over. You want attempts instead of turnovers, and people have scorer off of our turnovers. Last night I think our guys got a little hesitant. They had about 11 blocks and I thought some of our higher percentage shooters there in the paint were hesitant in pulling the trigger. I thought that led to some easy rebounds and fast break opportunities. Two of the blocks they had last night led to fast break opportunities. Offensively, we’ve been pretty good. We’ve shot a high percentage and have been able to score points. But shooting 30 something percent from the field will expose you and they did last night.”

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO


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