- Tony Thomas
Coach O spoke about how honored LSU is to be playing in the National Championship Game, as “home” game in New Orleans, in the great state of Louisiana. He has great respect for coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers. It will be a challenge for LSU.
Joe Brady is rumored to be a candidate for vacant NFL jobs. Coach O spoke of a “preliminary plan” put in place by Athletic director Scott Woodward to keep Brady as a coach with LSU. Coach O said that whether Brady stays or goes to the NFL, they (LSU) will have to be prepared for both possibilities.
LB Michael Divinity is back on the team, effective this morning. Coach O said he will play in his role of rushing the passer and they will use him in other ways to best take advantage of his skill set.
Coach confirmed that he did receive a telephone call from President Trump after the Tigers win against Oklahoma. Trump expressed congratulations on the win, was very complimentary of the team, and wished Coach O and the Tigers good luck in the championship game.
Coach O spoke about growing up in South Louisiana and following former Tiger greats such as Bert Jones, Ronnie Estay, Charles Alexander. He always kept up with LSU football. He is proud to be a part of this run to the national championship as a Louisiana guy, playing the game in New Orleans. But he also said its about the team, the players. “One team, one heartbeat.”
He talked about the injury to OL Damien Lewis. No update yet. Adrian Magee and Ed Ingram will begin practicing at right and left guard, respectively. If Lewis is available to play, then all things will return to normal. Also, Dare Rosenthal is eligible to play in the game, adding depth.
On Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Coach O said “he’s a winner. 25-0 and hasn’t been beaten yet.” Coach was surprised at Lawrence’s running ability, making big plays against Ohio State to help them win the game.
When asked what stands out about Clemson as a team, Coach O said “Athletes, speed, and scheme. Their receivers are tall, athletic. RB Travis Etienne, a Louisiana native, is one of the best backs we will see all year. The defense can adjust to the different offense he has seen. Their defensive line is quick, strong, and can rush the passer.”
Coach O said “I have never had a player ready to play like Derek Stingley, Jr.”
Coach O thinks RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be ready at full speed by next Wednesday. They plan to take it slow, see what he can do. He continues to receive treatment from the training staff.
RB Chris Curry took advantage of valuable reps in Edwards-Helaire’s absence. Coach O spoke of Curry sticking with the program, not jumping into the transfer portal, waiting for his opportunity. It says a lot about Curry’s character. Coach O said Curry came to him and said “I’m going to be one of your best backs. Just watch.”
When asked about the LSU’s recruitment of Travis Etienne, Coach O mentioned that LSU got in “too little, too late.” Every time he heard Clemson play or saw Etienne was having success, he said it him sick to his stomach. LSU wanted Etienne.
As an assistant coach at LSU, Etienne’s name kept coming up. For whatever reason, LSU did not offer Etienne a scholarship. Then when Coach O became the interim head coach, LSU had been recruiting other running backs for a while. They were afraid that if they offered someone else, they might lose them. Then LSU got shut out. Coach O offered Etienne late in his tenure as interim HC. Coach O made an in-home visit and told Etienne that LSU wanted him. But it was too late, he had made up his mind.
Coach O said one thing they should have done was recruit Etienne at an earlier age and keep him in state. “He is one that got away.”
Coach O feels that coach Joe Brady will remain with the Tigers. He feels good about where they are in the process and “everything is just about wrapped up.” Its not completely finalized, but its close.