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LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron previews Spring Football

2 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, March 04 2020 Mar 4, 2020 March 04, 2020 5:35 PM March 04, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- LSU head coach Ed Orgeron met with the media ahead of the beginning of Spring Practice on Wednesday. 

He previewed the players that he feel like can make an impact this season, talked about the hiring of new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and much more.

Below the video is a transcript from Wednesday's press conference:

Opening Statement…
"The whole team has been preparing well, working very hard. We're at fourth quarter of football school. I'm really excited about setting the LSU standard of performance with a new group. A lot of new faces out there, a lot of guys eager to prove themselves and a lot of holes to fill from a great football team last year. So excited about our new staff. We made some tremendous hires. Bo Pelini has been a force. Players have gravitated towards him already. This is more of a 4-3 attacking style defense. It plays right into our personnel. Scott Linehan has been phenomenal. He brings a lot of experience and he's been working very well. I feel like we made a home run hire with Kevin Faulk. I always wanted Kevin on our staff. He's been great to the state of Louisiana, been great to LSU. Our players love him, I love him. I think he's going to be phenomenal as a football coach. This is only the first step in his career and eventually I think Kevin Faulk is going to be a head coach. So excited about those guys. We've brought in Kelvin Sheppard as the director of player personnel. He'll come in on Friday and start next week - excited about him. He's going to take Kevin Faulk's place. That makes three full time assistants on our staff that played football and graduated from LSU and we're very proud of that.

"Before we start, these guys are out for the spring: Tory Carter, Soni Fonua, Arik Gilbert, and Todd Harris. Todd might get a couple of plays. He's been good but we're not sure yet. Limited will be Elias Ricks. Back in two weeks will be Neil Farrell. Dare Rosenthal has left school for personal reasons, but we expect him to be back for the summer and ready to go. I want to go over our depth chart on offense and defense and highlight a couple things. Obviously, the quarterback position is going to be key for us. Going into the spring, we have Myles Brennan. Myles has been doing phenomenal in the fourth quarter drills. We have Max Johnson and TJ Finley. We expect those guys to be fighting and we'll also have Peter Parrish here. For running backs, Chris Curry, John Emery, and Tyrion Davis, I think all three are starters. All three are different. All three can do great things. A big key is our offensive line. Ed Ingram has been fantastic. Chasen Hines has to prove himself that because we moved Joe Evans from defensive line to offensive line. He's going to compete for that job (Center) and back him up. At the right guard is going to be Anthony Bradford and Kardell Thomas. Right tackle is going to be Austin Deculus. You'll see Charles Turner play some center and play some tackle. At left tackle is going to be Cameron Wire. Dare Rosenthal, who I thought was having an excellent practice, is going to be an excellent tackle and play in the NFL. But he won't be with us in the spring which gives Cam Wire time to compete there and also Thomas Perry. At wide receiver we have a strong group coming back in Ja'Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall. Racey McMath looks fantastic, Trey Palmer will be able to show his stuff. Jontre Kirklin and Jaray Jenkins will all have a good shot. At tight end will be Jamal Pettigrew. Arik Gilbert is out, Kole Taylor looks great, Aaron Moffitt, all those guys will have a chance to prove themselves in the spring. As I always say, the depth chart can change. 

"On defense, I do believe this is one of the most talented defenses we've had since we've been here. There's a lot of speed out there, there's a lot of new faces. But I do believe that this 4-3 attacking defense fits our personnel better than it's ever been. We moved TK McLendon over and he'll be starting at defensive end, backed up by Jarell Cherry. Nose tackle we have Tyler Shelvin and Siaki Ika who are doing fantastic. Glen Logan and Nelson Jenkins are doing fantastic playing defensive tackle right now. Justin Thomas, Andre Anthony, and I think BJ Ojulari is going to be an All-American for us. He's a very talented young man. We're very deep on the defensive line along with the new guys coming in. Linebackers we have a lot of guys and some talent there. Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville have impressed me so far. Ray Thornton has been moved to inside linebacker and same with Marcel Brooks, so we have a lot of speed there. As you guys know, we're very strong in the back field led by Derek Stingley who is one of the best players in the country. Elias Ricks is one of the top cornerbacks in the country and he's going to come in and play for a starting position. Jay Ward and Raydarious Jones will play at corner. In the nickel, we have Cordale Flott and Jay Ward. We don't have Kary Vincent because he's in track, Maurice Hampton is in baseball. So, we have three players who will play and start for us that won't be there in the spring, but it'll give some young guys a chance to go. At strong safety we have Cameron Lewis and Jordan Toles who looks fantastic. He's got speed, he's got burst. I can't wait to see him put the pads on. Obviously, Jacoby Stevens at free safety."

On how Bo Pelini's 4-3 scheme matches up with the team's personnel…
"Looking at the guys I've got, TK McLendon, he's the perfect 4-3 and so is Justin Thomas. Those guys will play in four techniques, that's inside the tackle, now they're playing outside, more of an attacking defense. Then you've got some linebackers with speed. They can run and we can blitz them. We're going to blitz the corners, we're going to blitz the safeties, I think the 4-3 is built on speed and aggressive nature, and I think we have that."

On if the mindset changes after winning the National Championship…
"No, I do believe this starts with me. I'm going to work harder this year, pay more attention to detail and people need to see that for them to believe it. I think the culture that we've built is fantastic but we need to keep that standard up. I do believe it would be a fault to keep talking about last year. We've got to turn the page, this is a new team, but we do have a lot of good things we can fall back on from last year. I'll give you an example. Last year in the spring the whole team on a Saturday morning at 9 o'clock had a voluntary practice. The coaches weren't there, and it was led by Joe Burrow. We can fall back on some of those things, but I can't expect this team to be last year's team, it's a new team, but we still have high expectations."

On what went into the decision to move Marcel Brooks to inside linebacker…
"I think he's doing fine. He's got to learn the defense, he was playing outside linebacker in the 3-4, a little undersized. He's about 205 pounds right now, we want him to get to 215. We didn't have any linebackers. We had no choice but to put him at linebacker and he's done phenomenal. As you all know, he's very fast, and once he catches on to the scheme I think he's going to be a next level linebacker."

On staff changes and if they're a sign of instability or just a part of college football…
"New ideas are good. I'll say this; Dave Aranda was fantastic, I loved him, but Bo (Pelini) has brought some fresh ideas, a new pair of eyes, and a defense that I'm familiar with. So has Scott (Linehan), Scott has brought us some new things in from the NFL. We want our guys to go out and have success. Dennis Johnson was a graduate assistant for us and now I think he's the fifth highest paid defensive line coach in the country. Those things are going to happen, we want these guys to prosper. People are going to want to come to championship programs and they want to get the edge. They want to see what we have been doing so I think it's a plus to keep on changing and continue to do that."

On Maurice Hampton Jr. and if he's doing anything with football during baseball season…
"He's all baseball. That was my pitch to him in recruiting and I'm going to stick by it. I've got to thank him for covering me on that pitch man, that pitch was something."

On hiring Scott Linehan...
"I really liked his approach in the interview, I really liked his demeanor. I really liked that when he got on the board I could see him coaching our receivers. I think that's really important. I think you can tell what type of coach when he gets up on the board and you ask him questions and it's not a plan deal. I thought he was very detailed and brought a lot of knowledge. I felt comfortable with him, there are some guys on our staff who have worked with him before and said he was an excellent team guy. I thought those qualities were very, very important to work with Steve (Ensminger) and keep the cohesiveness in the office. He's going to help me with game management. His knowledge, there's not an offense that he doesn't know, and he was really impressed with what we have been doing on offense too. I think he brings a lot of information to us, and also fits in well with the staff."

On what Scott Linehan brings to LSU's offense…
"I believe the knowledge he has in the passing game, in the red zone, the empty packages and the things he did especially when he was the head coach he ran the stuff he ran in Detroit. There's an old saying "if it's not broke, don't fix it". We don't need a whole lot of new stuff in our offense. It's more his knowledge, his coaching ability, and his fit for the staff is the reason we hired him."

On what was the appeal to move Devonta Lee to linebacker …
"Watched the state championship game and Devonta Lee was the best player on defense on that field. He was playing at receiver and he has been a good receiver here, but we felt he would be more of a linebacker. Like a Jacoby Stevens type. Big and strong and fast and he wanted to move to defense. He talked to me about it so we moved him."

On if there's been a specific moment Myles Brennan has shown his leadership capabilities…
"That's a very good question. When you back up the Heisman winner, you kind of keep your mouth shut, that's what you do. He has led this team in the fourth quarter program. He's competed at every rep, just like Joe (Burrow) did, to win every rep. I'm not going to say he has won every rep, but I was watching him compete to win every rep. He's been more vocal at the end. We go to eight stations, on the eight station we put up the balls, when we put up the balls he's the one doing it. I've heard him talk to guys when we have to go back, 'Come on man, get this done.' He's been more of a vocal leader. I've seen him in the office watching more film than he ever has. I know this. I know the Brennan family very well - they've been very patient. They've been waiting for this time. I expect Myles to explode. I expect him to do all the things that he needs to do to be a great quarterback. Whatever deficiencies he has, like we all have, I know that he and his family are going to work on them. What I mean by that is, more experience, working on his throwing motion, going to quarterback guru's camps. Whatever it may be, I know that this guy is dedicated to do that. I think we are going to have one heck of a player. I've always believed in Myles, I believe he is a championship quarterback. I believe he is going to be great for us."

On Kevin Faulk and his people skills that make him a good coach …
"First of all, Kevin has a presence about himself. He doesn't want to say, 'look at me I'm Kevin Faulk', that's not him. He is Louisiana, true and true. He is very humble, but he speaks the truth. I think the players gravitate to him. They know what he has done, they know what he has been through, but he was just like them when he was young. He's become a fine man, great integrity, and great character. (Bill) Belichick wanted him on staff. I think Kevin brings a presence and he backs it up with his work ethic. I can give you an example. We were going to a high school in Lafayette, and I told him I was going to meet him there. The coaches get there by 7:30 and I said, 'Kevin I'll meet you there.' well I left early to beat the traffic over the bridge, you never know what you're going to get over the bridge. I pulled up to the school at 6:30; there was one car in the parking lot, Kevin Faulk. He said, 'I knew you would be early.' So that tells you a lot about his work ethic, about him, about what he is, and he backs it up."

On Maurice (Hampton) and playing two sports in college …
"First of all, I like two-sport athletes. It means they're competing, it means they're doing what they want to do. I think we have an excellent track team and an excellent baseball team. I know they're getting coached and know they're working on their skills. I don't think they're going to miss a beat. I like that in recruiting, especially guys who play football and guys who run track. That means you have a fast team. I would like to have the fastest team in America."

On the flexibility of defensive tackle and Tyler Shelvin and Siaki Ika on the field together …
"Yeah we could do that. There is a defense that both of them could fit in phenomenal. There's a lot of adjustment, the guy is very smart. He has a great plan on quarterback runs. There is going to come time where we can put both of those guys on the field. Knock both of those guys back. Bo is more of a two high safety guy, that's my school. Him and Pete Carroll worked together. You're going to see more two high safety than you ever did here. When you play two high safeties you have to control the front. You have to control the run with the defensive line. Those are two guys who can do that for us."

On if purposely hired veteran coaches …
"Obviously the Joe Brady model was fantastic. How could you go wrong? I don't know how many Joe Brady's are out there. I went out and I just didn't see it. I didn't see the best fit for us or for LSU. Sometimes you try to win the hire to the press and everything looks good. I thought I made a good decision bringing in Scott Linehan. The guys who were out there all love his experience. If there was another Joe Brady out there, I may have missed him, but I looked for him."

On changing the linebackers and the differences he wants people to see …
"We are more attacking. Blitzing the linebackers. You'll see more of that than before. They'll be two eyes so they'll be involved in the coverage. Guys are going to have to carry the tight ends, take somebody to the flat. They'll be more multiple; you'll see them on the line of scrimmage blitzing. Bo knows almost every blitz in the world, he's very good at it. We are looking at the best players available. Obviously that is a spot that needs help. So if there is a graduate transfer in that spot, we will take it."

On how defenses this year will be focused on stopping Ja'Marr Chase …
"I think they were focused on that last year and it didn't work too good. He's going to get it done. I have no questions he's going to get it done. We have Kayshon Boutte, he's going to be an excellent receiver. We are still are going to be in the empty package. We are still going to throw the ball. Nothing is changing from last year. They are going to have an answer. I think that Scott's ability to be in the booth with Steve, seeing all of that, suggesting plays just like Joe did, calling plays in the red zone. That was another thing. I know he called plays at a high level while still being a head coach as a coordinator. I think all those things will help. But we can expect it, no question."

On why he made a personal vow to work harder this year …
"Just leadership. I think everybody watches a leader. We had so much success last year. You have a tendency to slow down a little bit. We can't do that. There is no way. We've got to speed up. There is a new team, new leadership, we have a lot of new coaches. We have to set the standard of performance here. That's on me. I'm the energy guy. I set the standard and I can't let it slip. I'm staying in the office longer, working longer, just improving my leadership."

On how he thinks his running backs will do this year …
"I really do believe what Chris Curry showed what he can do last year. He runs just like Marshawn Lynch. I don't know if he is as fast as Marshawn Lynch but he's a bull. So is Tyrion Davis, he's a bull. John Emery is electric in the backfield. The thing we need to improve on with those three guys is catching the ball in the backfield. I don't know if we will have Clyde (Edwards-Helaire) who was that good. You saw his combine, his routes, his angle routes, he's phenomenal. But we got to work on it."

On K'Lavon Chaisson's story about recruiting and if he does that often …
"That's called competing. I've got to give Dennis Johnson credit. Dennis said, 'coach we got to get there a little early', I said what time are we leaving, he said three. Once we got there and I'm glad we did, the fun part was chasing him to the airport in the Houston traffic and driving behind him. Trying to keep up with him. Thank God we did, K'Lavon did so many good things for our university and is a great man."

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