Obviously we're very excited to start our preparation against a very, very good LSU football team. Looking back on last week, we feel we had a very productive offweek. Our coaches had four days of evaluation. We hit the road Wednesday and some didn't get back until yesterday from traveling. What we did over the four days was very, very productive. We had some great days there. We're excited about the reports that came back. We're looking forward to a great season of recruiting. Our players are ready to go. We're excited and had a very productive blackshirt scrimmage. We watched the film and graded it and will give it to our guys. Greg Hardy over the last two weeks has done everything that we asked him to do. We're going to reinstate him on the team and he will be in practice with us today. So we're excited about that. We're expecting him to do very, very well with us. It's the last game for 16 seniors at home. I know those guys are going to be fired up. We always get fired up to play LSU. We're looking forward to this week's practice. We're going to practice today in shells, which will be a little bit different than a Monday practice. We'll practice heavy at the beginning of the week and lighter toward the end of the week. Looking at LSU, the thing that stands out is their defense. It's probably the best defense we've played since we've been here. They have seven seniors and four juniors on defense. Seems like we've been watching them a long time. They have an outstanding defensive line. They are very strong in the middle. They only give up 66 yards rushing. They have very fast linebackers. We look forward to the challenge of moving the football on them. Last year we played very well against LSU. Our guys will have a lot of confidence knowing we can play with these guys. On offense the No. 1 thing that comes to mind is speed. Early Doucet is a tremendous player. He's a go-to guy when they need it. Matt Flynn is very effective. He's a smart football player. We played against him early in his career. We think he's a good quarterback. Ryan Perrilloux can come in there and run the option, so we're going to prepare for both of those guys. Keylon Williams we know very well. We recruited him. Great young man. He makes some big plays. Charles Scott is a tremendous tailback. They have a lot of speed. Special teams they have a lot of athletes, lot of depth, lot of speed. We'll be ready to play them. CBS national TV. The No. 1 team in the country coming in. I know we'll be ready for the challenge, and I can't wait to play them.
Q: Do you relish the opportunity to compete against the No. 1 team in the nation?
O: It's a great opportunity for us, just to beat LSU. I don't care where they're ranked. That's why you come to Ole Miss, to beat LSU. Them being No. 1 adds a little bit to it. We're not going to make a big deal out of that this week or overhype that. They're coming to our house. We didn't make the play on the final play last year to beat ‘em. Our team will be ready. It's a big rivalry. We have a lot of Louisiana people on our staff. It means a lot to us.
Q: How do you feel Greg Hardy's physical condition will be since he's been gone for a couple of weeks?
O: I think he's going to be in good shape. He's a well-conditioned athlete. I'm sure he's been conditioning on his own, and he should be fine.
Q: Talk about your seniors.
O: They've been with me three years. All of them are on track to graduate. Some have graduated already. They're tremendous young men and we're going to miss them. They mean a lot to our program.
Q: What was Greg Hardy's reaction to being back on the team?
O: Greg's ready to be back on the team. Greg did everything I asked him to do.
Q: How does your offensive line block against that powerful LSU defense?
O: We have to go in with the attitude that we can block them. Our guys will be ready. John Jerry has the capability to be an outstanding lineman. Michael Oher does. Those guys have to answer the bell. I'm going to challenge them this week. I feel confident those guys will be ready to play.
O: Is Glenn Dorsey a Heisman candidate?
O: I think he is. He came back for his senior and that means a lot. Guys ought to stay four years and graduate. This guy chose to come back and that says a lot about his character. Peria Jerry's numbers are similar to his. He's a dominating football player, and I'd love to see a defensive lineman win the Heisman. I'd vote for ‘em, no doubt.
Q: Would a win over LSU take away the bad taste of this season?
O: It's one game at a time. We have LSU and Mississippi State left. Two very important games. We'll take them one at a time. Obviously this would mean a lot to our program. It would mean a lot in recruiting. Those are the most important things that I'm worried about.
Q: Does this game mean more to you?
O: I have a lot of good friends in Louisiana. I was born and raised there. I have some very close friends that are LSU fans. There are some very good people there that I'm very close to. I'm very appreciative of all the opportunities I had in Louisiana.
Q: Because of LSU's speed, will you play Brent Schaeffer at quarterback?
O: We could do some of that. I'm not going to tell you our gameplan. We could see both players (Schaeffer and Seth Adams).
Q: Since you grew up there, what is the perception of the Ole Miss game in Louisiana?
O: I signed with LSU. I signed a full scholarship to play there and spent the early part of my freshman year there. I remember Archie Manning playing. I remember those games. I was small but I remember them. Johnny Vaught and Charley Mac and all those guys. Paul Dietzel. That's what I grew up with. Lot of respect for it. I remember some great games.
Q: Do you think the rivalry aspect is why the game has been so close lately?
O: I think our guys get up to play LSU. We have Louisiana people here. We love to play LSU. We didn't play well that first year. Last year we went down there and played well. This is a game you have to play with high emotions, high intensity, and high energy. They're a very good football team. They've found a way to win close games – Florida, Auburn, Alabama. Give them credit. This is our third time to play LSU. The first year we didn't have success against LSU. We went in there last year and had a lot of fakes. We had an onsides kick. We had a lot of things go our way. Our guys were really ready. We'll have to get up to that level. We have to take shots. We have to take chances. We'll have to be on our A-plus game to play with these guys.
Q: LSU has taken some chances this year in some games.
O: I heard Coach Miles say this season they were playing for the national championship, and that every game could be for the national championship. He had the right idea in saying you had to take chances. There were going to be a lot of close games. I remember one year we won the national championship. We were down to Stanford 20-7 or something. You have to take shots. There will be a lot of close games you have to win. So I think he has the right idea.
Q: Is this a fun week for your coaches?
O: We're rested and ready to go. We all enjoy playing LSU. We respect them. We know all their players. We recruited every one of them mostly. It's just a good rivalry for us. It's a school that we respect. It's a school that we definitely want to beat.
Q: Do you like the fact that with a win your team can be the spoiler?
O: I think this team would enjoy a win, whatever you want to call it. We enjoy having LSU here as the No. 1 team. We enjoy it being in Vaught-Hemingway. We enjoy it being on CBS. We've come very close this year. We believe that with a couple of more plays and things going our way that we can win this football game.
Q: Do you feel your team will approach things any differently after a bye week?
O: Usually Monday we'll go out very light. Today we'll go out a little heavier. The players basically had the week off last week. I think they'll come back ready. I imagine most of them watched games last week. I would think they'll be hungry to come back. We should have a very spirited practice. I expect that.
Q: Will your defensive line have to get pressure on them?
O: There's no doubt. We know we'll have a gameplan for our third-down rushes. We feel we have a very formidable defensive line that can do a good job. Obviously we feel confident we can get pressure on their quarterback. But we have to put them in a situation to throw. I think their running attack is a lot better than it was last year. Last year we more or less played coverage. There are a couple of different obstacles this year as compared to last year. We have to be able to tackle.
Q: Ohio State was No. 1 and got beat at home by Illinois. Anything you can draw from that game?
O: I'm not going to get overly excited about something like that. I'm not going to make that such a big deal. Playing LSU is enough for me. I want our guys to have a level head throughout the week. We have to prepare very, very well and play very, very well just to keep up with these guys. We'll have to have some things go our way to beat this team. We've got a tough task ahead of us.
Coach O Monday
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