Austin Thomas (Photo by Billy Embody)

Q&A with LSU general manager Austin Thomas

On Tuesday morning, LSU general manager Austin Thomas joined Off the Bench on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge to talk recruiting, early enrollees and the new assistant coaches.

LSU general manager Austin Thomas joined Jordy Culotta and T-Bob Hebert on Off the Bench on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge to talk about recruiting, quarterbacks, spring ball and some memories he's had at LSU. Here's the Q&A.

On Lowell Narcisse enrolling early:

"It's been great to see him here. Lowell is no different than any of the other guys that walked in here early. He's been a relentless worker and he's done everything the strength coaches have asked him to do. We are really excited about the future he has here with us."

On whether the staff likes kids to enroll early:

"We like them to make their own decision. You never want to make that decision for the kids. We want to respect their family and their process that they'er going through. We do think it provides them a big advantage for them to get here in January and go through two weight cycles and spring practice before their peers step on campus. Especially when you can get guys at positions of need, it's a big deal. They've all been a tremendous asset to this team."

On remedying LSU's quarterback struggles in the past under Les Miles:

"We're going to rely on coach Canada. He brought in his own system. He's kind of told us what he wants to recruit at quarterback. He wants to recruit guys that can do a little bit of both. First and foremost, they're going to have to throw the football with accuracy. I think that's what you're going to continue to see us look for as we go out on the road and find guys that fit coach Canada's system. That's how we're going to try and remedy the situation. We're just going to move forward and recruit the best players we can for LSU."

On Matt Canada's offensive philosophy:

"The one thing that coach Canada has always preached since the day he walked in here is that he's not going to be married to one philosophy. He's going to be a coach and adjust to our personnel. Whatever our strengths are, he's going to build the offense around that. I think that's a lost art in college football these days is building something around your strengths. I have full confidence that he's going to be able to get that done.

On Canada as a recruiter:

"He's been great. He's so personable. Very knowledgeable and has a lot of great wisdom on quarterbacks and the things he's accomplished and done. He works hard, nothing too small for him and he wants to help in any way that he can."

On Thomas' recruiting philosophy:

"I don't think there's any secret to it. It's just hard work and genuine relationships. I think it takes everybody in our building to get it done. It's a matter of connecting the dots. Whether it's using Coach O, coach Aranda or coach Canada at the right time. You have to figure out the puzzle and where the relationship are. I think at the end of the day, the one thing I've always said is I never talk about football. I build a genuine relationship with every individual within the family. I'm not a coach, so that's not my place. I build that genuine relationship and building that trust factor. I let them know there's a difference in recruiting with people telling them what they want to hear and what's the truth. They start seeing through some of the things that maybe are said to them that are necessarily true."

On working with Ed Orgeron:

"Coach O has been amazing. I've known him for a long time. He was the first person to really believe in me as a student back at Tennessee. I owe a lot to him. It speaks to his ability to recognize talent on or off the field. It's been great to watch him grow and take things that didn't work in the past and implement a new philosophy, it's been a blessing and fun to see. I think it's the mark of a true leader for him to be able to change his philosophy and do things a little differently this time around."

On LSU players being invited to NFL Combine: 

"It's a great testament to the evaluation process that we have at LSU, but at the same time, it's a great testament to these young men and the work they've put in and the time they've invested in this program. This is the best place in America to play college football. All the resources they have available, it doesn't get any better than this. We're so excited for these young men and their families. We know that they'll be Tigers for life and we'll support them however we can."

On hiring Mickey Joseph and impact on New Orleans: 

"Mickey is relentless. That's the one thing that jumped out about him. He's intelligent and well-spoken. It's the relentless pursuit of excellence that keeps him driven. He's been burning up the phone lines for the last however many days he's been here. He's special. He's going to have a great chance to do some great things for us. On top of being a great man, he's got the best resource out there with his brother being the head coach of the Denver Broncos, that's an added advantage for all of us.

On hiring Tommie Robinson:

"We've always said we're committed to giving our kids the best. The best academics, the best nutrition, everything we do, we want it to be the best. We want it to be the best at LSU. He's a great man, tremendous leader and on top of that, he's highly regarded as one of the best, if not the best, running backs coach in the country. We're just thrilled to have him here. He's a great fit and asset for our program."

On LSU Spring football changes:

"We want the spring game to be a big deal. We've not done that well in the past and we had a change here and we want it to be. We want it to be fan friendly and we want it to be interactive. We want everyone to come out on a Saturday night in Death Valley and have some fun. You'll see kind of the same from coach O in the season. He's going to treat these kids like his sons. Practices are going to be shorter, high-energy and fun. We don't want them to spend their health on 3-hour practices. We really want to get on and off the field in order to save their bodies."

On some memories made the last few years at LSU:

"Every time you take the field on Saturday night in Death Valley, it's special. Some of the best memories I've had is with my brother, who was here with me for three years and he's now a graduate assistant at UTSA with Frank Wilson. As an older brother, you always long to work alongside your brother and for him to be here with me and watch him grow as a student and how LSU took care of him, that's something I'll always take away from the place and the memories that we shared here."

For the full interview with Austin Thomas on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge, click here.


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