Q&A with Norman LeJeune

LSU's starting strong safety discusses the upcoming Mississippi State game.

Q: What's the difference between Wayne Madkin and Kevin Fant? You've faced Madkin the last few years, but Fant played too in last year's game.

A: Madkin was a bigger quarterback and stronger, where Fant is like 6-2, kinda short. We're looking forward to playing him. He's more accurate to me than Madkin, and he won't run the ball as much as Madkin would.


Q: Fant seemed to be able to move them last year when Madkin couldn't.

A: He really did. He kinda helped them out when Madkin couldn't go, and I guess they wanted to build confidence in him knowing he was going to be their man for next season.


Q: LSU's won only five of its last 16 day games. Do you think there's some kind of day game jinx at Tiger Stadium?

A: No. You have to be able to come out and play any time of the day – any given Saturday, any time you're playing. The heat will be there…during the nighttime or the daytime. You have to be prepared and focused mentally instead of talking about this jinx stuff (laughs). No jinx.


Q: What did you think about Jesse Jackson coming to practice?

A: That was a big inspiration for us. He gave us some great points on life, football and not giving up – just some great, great things to say about how to prepare to win. It was a great experience for our team. He really inspired us a lot.


Q: Were the players talking a lot about it afterward?

A: Yeah, we were talking about it in the locker room. We couldn't believe Jesse Jackson was at practice. It was exciting.


Q: Did you all know he was coming to practice?

A: It surprised us because we didn't know. Coach (Saban) just introduced him and we were like "Oh, Jesse Jackson's here."


Q: LSU has dominated Mississippi State over the past ten years. How do you put that out of your mind knowing what's already happened doesn't mean much on Saturday?

A: Every team has a different team each year. You can't look at it like we've dominated them the last ten years. We just look at it as a challenging game for us, and we hope to come out at top.


Q: Are you an early riser or a late riser? Does this early start affect how you sleep and eat?

A: I love to sleep and I love to eat (laughs). …We get good rest at the hotel. But like I said, the early start doesn't matter. We're going to come out to play any time of day.


Q: Talk about how the defense is looking for more turnovers.

A: The team's we've played have held on to the ball real well, but they also spread us out a lot… We can't be as physical as we want to be when they spread us out like that. This upcoming game, we look to have a lot of turnovers (since) we can be more physical.


Q: Do you consciously think about forcing a turnover during a game?

A: I keep that in my mind…all day. Any time a guy has the ball and he's in front of me, I want to knock him out or get the ball out – or both at the same time. It's always on our minds. That's what makes great defenses - a lot of  turnovers our offense can capitalize on.


Q: Can you believe it's your final year, after playing drop linebacker as a freshman and now starting at free safety?

A: My first year it was real tough. I was real light messing with those guys on the interior line.


Q: What weight did you sign at?

A: 160…I was real light and real inexperienced. They threw me out there and set the play. I had to do what I had to do.

But I came back with coach Saban at safety, and I really learned a lot from him. It's helped me.


Q: LSU players said a key to beating Mississippi State last year was being physical – or beating them at their own game. Is that the same approach this year?

A: We wanted to give them a dose of their own medicine. We want to be as physical as the next team. We don't want anybody to come in our house, especially, and handle us or throw us around. That's just their mentality, and we'll try to get them out of that and make them fold.


Q: Are they trash talkers?

A: Yeah, they do talk a lot.


Q: Do you like that?

A: I love it. When they talk to me, I love to talk. That's not a good thing about the game, but if it happens, it happens. 

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