- Staff Reporter
BATON ROUGE – LSU head coach Ed Orgeron previewed Saturday’s game against Utah State at his weekly press luncheon on Monday. LSU is coming off an open date, while Utah State improved to 3-1 overall with a 34-24 win over Colorado State.
Fifth-ranked LSU hosts Utah State at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network. Tickets for the LSU-Utah State game are still available and can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net.
Here’s what Orgeron had to say about the Tigers entering the Utah State game:
Our players really enjoyed the open date. We only practiced once in pads on Wednesday. We worked a lot on tackling. We worked a lot on causing turnovers and on our run game on offense and our punt return on special teams.
We thought that we had an excellent week of practice. I want to compliment our football team for protecting the team. Obviously they went home for the weekend. Everybody’s back and ready to go, and my phone didn’t ring one time. That means everybody’s in good shape and that’s much appreciated by the head coach, I promise you.
Looking forward to Utah State. We’ll get back into a routine. Utah State’s offense is a spread offense, led by a very, very good quarterback in Jordan Love. One of the top quarterbacks in the country, has thrown for over 6,000 yards and 40 TDs in his career, averaging 38 points a game.
The thing that makes their offense go is the speed of their offense. Very, very fast. Faster than any team we’ve seen, including Missouri. So we’re going to have to practice that this week. We started on it a little bit last week. We’ll get better at it this week.
They also do some look-overs, get to the line of scrimmage, see what you’re in and check, and they’re very good at it. We’re expecting a very, very tough challenge from Jordan Love and Gerold Bright, their running back and Mariner, the wide receiver, No. 80.
On defense, their coach is a defensive guy. Their defensive line is really good. They mix out of a 4-3 and a 3-4 and have six returning starters. Only given up 21 points per game. And the strength of their defense is their defensive line, with quarterback pressures and hurries and movement.
On special teams they’re very solid. This is going to be a very good week for us. Can’t wait to get back to practice, get back in a routine. Today will be Tell the Truth Monday. What we’ll do is look at the first four games of our season, tell our team what we feel like what we’re doing well, what we feel like we must and will improve and we’ll move on from then.
Q. You experimented moving Kristian (Fulton) over. I guess how did that go this past week?
COACH ORGERON: Looked good, I think we’ll continue to look at it this week. Against certain sets you may say it.
Q. You mentioned how fast they are on offense. In past years, without maybe the speed that you guys have this year, how do you plan for a game where there can be that much speed on both sides?
COACH ORGERON: We’re going to practice just like they run their plays. Offense has what we call warp speed. So we’re going to practice — our second unit will practice warp speed against our first unit.
We’ll put the best players in the best positions we can to simulate what they have on offense. And I think we’ll do a pretty good job of it.
Q. What did you see from Ed Ingram in his first padded practice back? And what do you want to see from him this week?
COACH ORGERON: He was very physical. He was in good shape. Still has some conditioning, football conditioning left to do. I don’t know if he’s ready to go 60, 80 plays without a break. I wouldn’t say that. Normally he would be. We’re going to see how he does this week but it was good to have him back.
Q. Last week Ja’Marr Chase said, I didn’t realize I was that fast. What have you seen from him in terms of just catching the football and sprinting away from people this year?
COACH ORGERON: Ja’Marr is finally in good shape. His first year he didn’t go through a fourth quarter. And he was just getting in shape. This year his individual drills are structured as he’s getting a lot of reps. He’s getting a lot of reps in practice.
He had a great summer. He’s big, strong, fast and physical. I think what Ja’Marr is seeing is that he’s in tip-top condition, and he’s able to play at full speed for the whole game.
Q. When you say “practice warp speed against the defense,” what do you mean by that playing out in a practice? When you say the offense, you call it working at warp speed against the defense, is that something new that you all are doing this year, or kind of how —
COACH ORGERON: You know, we have several different speeds that we use on offense and one of them is as fast as you can. And that’s called warp. So we’re going to — our second team will practice at that speed versus our defense to simulate Utah State’s speed.
Q. I know you said the players had the weekend off. I know how long the season is is a grind for you and the coaching staff. Can you give me a little window; did you have any downtime this weekend? Could you tell me anything that you did that was kind of enjoyable that was non-football related for a few days?
COACH ORGERON: Thursday night, Kelly and I left. I kept my company truck at home. I drove her car, where usually I’m only allowed to drive it on Sundays to church. Put some country music on.
Put, I don’t know what they call it, T-top, moonroof, put it down and went as fast as I can down the highway to Lake Charles.
We went to dinner Thursday night with my family. We went to the (McNeese) Cowboys game on Saturday and came back Sunday morning. I had a great weekend.
Q. The offense right now 27-for-27 in the red zone; the touchdown percentage is way up from last year, what is it about this offensive scheme that makes it so effective when the field gets short like that?
COACH ORGERON: We talked about it today. There’s no secret why we are successful in the red zone. First of all, we’ve got great coaching. And they prepare night and day for it. We practice it the right way.
I do believe when you practice something, you coach it well, when you have great players, you’re going to have success. We practiced red zone on Mondays. We practiced red zone on Thursdays and Fridays.
And we practiced red zone on Saturday mornings, and our guys know exactly what to do against the coverage they’re seeing.
So I think a combination of having great coaching, great players and great practice plans, that’s what you’re seeing.
Q. When teams have an open date, a lot of times you hear the term “self-study,” looking at maybe how you’ve been predictable, how you could disguise things better. Did some of that go on both sides and specifically with defense in getting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks?
COACH ORGERON: No question, it went on. And what we found is, first of all, the way we were running the ball, what we’re running, how we want to run it, how we want to practice it, that was a big thing on offense. On defense, it was about tackling and causing turnovers.
And more or less not the actual tackle, which is important, but the approach: How was our footwork? Where was our weight distributed? Where was our eyes and our angles? We practiced that all week.
We practiced it a lot on punt return on being able to give our returners some room. We practiced different stuff on punt return. So those are things that we found last week that we could be a lot better at.
Q. Fans may not like 11:00 starts, but do you feel like it takes away anything from your effort or from what your team’s advantage, especially when you’re going against a team like Utah State that would never have experienced Saturday night in (indiscernible) Stadium?
COACH ORGERON: First of all, I do believe that Saturday night in that valley is a great experience for both sides. And it’s a great advantage for us. And the more we can play Saturday night in Tigers stadium the better off we are.
But scheduling is out of our control. So we’ll never make an excuse for it. I do believe that Derrick told me the last of our last six games, three of them started at 11.00 a.m. This is the third one that starts at 11.00 a.m., and we’ve been very successful in those 11.00 a.m. games. So we’re going to continue with our game plan. Do I wish it was at night at Tiger Stadium, yes, I do. But there’s nothing we can do about it, so we’re going to make the best of that situation.
Q. What’s K’Lavon’s status coming off a bye week? Has he been able to do any contact stuff yet?
COACH ORGERON: He’s still a little gimpy. He’s not 100 percent back yet. He tried to practice last week. He did a couple of things. He’s going to practice again today. But he’s limited. We’re going to see where we can get with him this week. We definitely need him for the pass rush. And if he’s healthy, we’re going to play him. But I don’t know if he’s going to be ready.
Q. You mentioned Jordan Love a little bit, but in particular what are some things he does really well that causes problems for you guys on Saturday?
COACH ORGERON: Very smart; knows where to go with the ball. He’s only gotten sacked three times this year. Quick release; can avoid pressure; is able to run the zone read.
He’s definitely a first-round pick, I do believe, in the NFL and will play in the NFL for a long time. He’s an extremely good quarterback in all areas.
Q. I’m sure over the bye week you guys evaluate from all parts of the team. But specific to defense, in what ways did you all talk about improvement from the team? In what ways did Dave Aranda take a look at the group?
COACH ORGERON: As far as improving the defense? The number one thing is tackling. The missed tackles that we have, that we need to get better at. We have some great athletes. And again they’re trying, they’re trying hard. They’re playing hard. It’s more or less their technique, more or less how the gap fits.
We’ll do a better job on what we call fit drill today, take their top five runs and just fit them, and I’m going to be more involved in that today.
I think that we looked at the way we are practicing in some areas. I learned from Coach Carroll, if you’re not playing well, go back and look at your practice. And obviously you’re not practicing as good in some areas as you are the other.
And we went back and looked at our practice. We’re going to slow it down, teach more, make sure our guys are in the right position. We’ve got great athletes. And once they’re in the right position, we believe they’re going to make the right plays.
Q. How is the health of some of your defensive linemen? You’re playing a very good team this week, but you gotta have a long term, to get ready for Florida.
COACH ORGERON: Rashard Lawrence is going try some individual today. He’s still a little gimpy. Michael Divinity is going to practice today. He’s still a little gimpy. So we have to see as the week goes to see if these guys are going to be ready.
Q. You haven’t played some of the SEC defensive fronts, you will yet. Just four games in, how would you grade the offensive line overall?
COACH ORGERON: Very well. I think very well. I think the guys have — like I said, in camp was the most improved unit. And now that we’ve got Ed Ingram back, I do believe we’re going to be better. There’s some things we need to do to run the ball better. We need to finish better. We have not been challenged in pass protection yet. We may get challenged this week, but I know for later on we’re going to get challenged. So we need to get ready.
Q. Today, with California passing legislation for amateurs to make money off their likeness and amateurs, I know California being a footprint for you guys in recruiting and things like that, how do you see that influencing just the state of college football, and also from your perspective as a recruiter in a state that does not have such a bill?
COACH ORGERON: Just gotta follow the rules, whatever they tell us to do. I believe the players should get as much as they possibly can. And am I fan of paying the players, no. But I do — if there’s a system we can get these guys what they deserve without getting salaries, maybe cost of attendance like they are today and a little bit more, I’m all for that.
But I think it’s got to be governed all in the right way. But that’s not for me to decide. My job is to coach football, and whatever they tell me to do, I’m going to do.
Article sourced from provided press release.