LSU head coach Ed Orgeron
LSU Athletics Creative Services

Orgeron Previews Start of Spring Football

Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE – With LSU opening spring practice on Saturday, head coach Ed Orgeron met with members of the media on Tuesday to give a preview of what he and his coaching staff are expecting out of the Tigers during the 15 practices this spring.

Here's the transcript from Orgeron's press conference:

Opening statement …
“We are excited about the direction of our football team. We have been led by Tommy Moffitt and his staff. I believe that Tommy is one of the best guys in the country to be leading our staff and leading our team. His staff is very energetic. We have worked hard this off-season on competition, and our drills have been predicated on competition and forcing us to get out of a comfortable zone and get into a zone that you have to give it everything that you have. Tommy has done a good job of that with our football team. I believe that we are bigger, we are stronger and we are faster. We are heading into the last week here of offseason, and we are getting ready for spring practice on Saturday. Our team is excited; our coaching staff is excited.

“I'm really excited about (offensive coordinator) Matt Canada and what he has brought to our football team, what he has brought to our staff. He is an energetic guy. He's an energetic recruiter. He coaches very hard on the field. He is a hands-on coach. I believe that he is going to do tremendous stuff for our offense. I am also excited for Tommie Robinson. Tommie is our assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and running back coach. I am excited to see Derrius Guice and his development under Tommie, how he is going to get better, his fundamentals. I am excited to see the rest of our running backs develop under Tommie. When we were at USC, we had a young man named Buck Allen that was on the scout team. Tommie believed in Buck and put him, and Buck became one of our best players. I know Tommie is big on development, and I'm looking for Nick Brossette, Darrel Williams and the rest of our guys to flourish under him. Mickey Joseph is a high-energy guy. He fits in with us. He's a great man from Louisiana. He loves being a LSU Tiger. Our receivers love being around him. He's a fundamentalist, he is a player's coach, and he is an excellent recruiter. He is going to do a tremendous job for us in New Orleans. I just think about this. We have three new coaches on offense. It is exciting to come into the staff. It's exciting to listen to those guys talk. It's exciting to see guys love being at LSU and who are loyal to the program. I am excited about those guys.

“Looking at spring, some of the key battles as we all know:

“On offense, we opened up the competition at the quarterback spot. Danny (Etling) has had an excellent offseason. He has been a leader. He has been working hard. Justin McMillan looks good. Lindsey Scott, Jr., Lowell Narcisse has come in here. He is rehabbing his knee. He is looking good, working hard out there. He has lost a little weight and is enjoying being a LSU Tiger, and also, we have Myles Brennan arriving in June. Those guys will be vying for the starting quarterback position. It is going to be fun to see those guys flourish under Matt Canada.

“Like I said, at running back we have one of the best guys in the nation in Derrius Guice, and I know he is going to improve under Tommie. Wide receivers are led by D.J. Chark for his senior year. We need some of the young players to develop, and I know that Mickey Joseph is going to do a great job of that.

“On defense, I just walked out of a defensive meeting. It's just good to see our defensive staff together, cohesive in our second year under Dave Aranda. We are excited about the things that he wants us to do. His notebook is full. He has a tremendous mind for football. We are looking forward to this spring. We have to replace Duke Riley, who was here today. We are very proud of all of our guys that went to the NFL Combine. We showed our team the performances of our guys. We are proud of them. They are our family. Once you are a Tiger, you are a Tiger for life. Duke came back today and was talking about the differences, which was really good to hear. Replacing Duke and Kendell Beckwith will be a challenge, but we are going to get it done. Devin White and Donnie Alexander are going to be playing middle linebacker right now, but we are also excited about Tyler Taylor, Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen. Those guys are going to have to come in and contribute.

“On the defensive front, we are excited about Christian LaCouture coming back. He brings tremendous leadership to our football team, and we are so happy that he is back. He looks quicker. He is healthy. He looks ready to go. We are going to play him at the end position, where (Davon) Godchaux played last year. We expect him to do well. Frank Herron has to come along. Losing Lewis Neal and Godchaux was a blow to us up front, but we expect those guys to come in and compete hard for that position. In the secondary, we lost Jamal Adams and Tre'Davious White, two first round picks and DBU under Corey Raymond who does a tremendous job of recruiting and developing. He is very proud of his tradition that he has built here and carried on. I am proud of Corey Raymond. He is an excellent coach, he is a LSU Tiger and he is doing a tremendous job right now. We are excited about our safeties. Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens coming in, Todd Harris Jr. We have some guys coming in at safety. We have some guys who can come in and play. We are looking forward to these guys in spring ball, especially with Grant and Jacoby being here.

“On special teams, we will split up the duties between each assistant coach. Our guys are excited. Tommie Robinson will lead one. Dennis Johnson will lead a couple of them. Corey Raymond will lead some. Mickey Joseph will lead some. Jeff Grimes will lead some. It will be an outstanding, cohesive effort between our staff. I want to say this to you; we have Greg McMahon as our special team analyst. Greg can only coach the coaches. He will not coach on the field. He will not coach in the meeting room, but he has done a tremendous job. It is amazing to see what a guy with 11 years of experience at special teams coordinator, the knowledge and the amount of technical expertise that he has brought to our special teams. I expect a tremendous improvement in our special teams.

“Some important dates: Obviously, Saturday, March 11 is our first practice. March 23-24 is our coaching clinic. Anthony Munoz will be our speaker. Anthony is a friend of mine, a Hall-of-Famer, one of the best left tackles to ever play football. I know our coaches are going to be excited to hear Anthony Munoz talk about his development as a man and as a football player. We are excited about Wednesday, April 5, LSU Pro Day. Our team is going to be here to support our guys. We welcome all of the NFL coaches here. It's a big day for LSU. We have more guys on NFL rosters than anybody. We want to continue that tradition. We are going to have a tremendous day. Our team is going to support our guys going in to Pro Day, and I expect it to be a great day. April 8-16 we have spring break. April 22 is our spring game, as you guys know will be played here at night.

“We are excited about what's going on here. I am excited about being the head coach of LSU. I am excited about our staff. Any questions?”

On the upcoming practices …
“We are built on the way that we practice. These guys believe in the way that we practice with high energy, going full speed. We are using a term now called full measure. The harder you are going in a full measure, the harder you are compromising. That's a thing that we have learned in some leadership seminars that we have taken. We are trying to push them, see how far we can take this thing.”

On opening the quarterback competition …
“Here's the deal. Danny (Etling) is the leader right now. He will probably end up being the leader, but we don't know that. I wanted to make it open for Justin (McMillan), for Lindsey (Scott Jr.), for Lowell (Narcisse), for Myles (Brennan). That's what we told them when we recruited them. We want to give them a chance. Matt (Canada) is going to run his offense, but he is going to adapt to the quarterback that we have. He has proven that throughout the years. We are still going to run the football here with Derrius Guice as our running back, but we are going to open up the offense, throw it down the field with multiple shifts in the formation. That's what he is known for.”

On who will not participate in spring practice…
Will Clapp is out. Ed Alexander and Devin Voorhies will be practicing.”

On who will be playing center…
“There is a possibility he (Will Clapp) would play center in the fall. We will try something out.

On who could fill in with Arden Key missing spring…
“I am excited about our guys at the outside linebacker position. Andre Anthony has had an excellent offseason. Ray Thornton has had an excellent offseason. Sci Martin is coming along. We have some guys coming.”

On the pecking order at wide receiver behind DJ Chark…
“Mickey (Joseph) is going to have to work with those guys. We have a new coach there. We are going to give them all opportunities. There is no certain pecking order. All of the guys are good athletes. We will see.”

On the importance of the spring for Matt Canada
“(Matt Canada) has worked very hard. Here is the deal, as coaches we can sit in the office and have great ideas, but we have to execute on the field. I think he is going to start slow. He is going to feel this offense. Just like Dave (Aranda) did last year. Dave has many defenses and we ran three last year. I think he was able to adjust to the personnel. He is going to put most of the stuff in and the basics. We will go from there.”

On how he feels now that it's his team…
“This is our team. It will always be our team. It's about those guys. We feel like we have an excellent staff and excellent football team. We have some holes to fill. I am excited about going out to practice with these guys and getting better by working on technique, fundamentals and toughness. I think that is what spring is for.”

On if he thinks the 10th assistant will be passed...
“It's gone back and forth. We were hoping it will be in April, but now it's looking like December. I hope it gets approved soon. I don't think it will be in the season. The formula we have now is what we will do going forward.”

On Pete Jenkins coaching the defensive line for a full season…
“They are going to improve and they improve on a daily basis with that guy. Every day they get better and they have to. Those guys played very good toward the end of the season in the Citrus Bowl. We have some new guys. We have to replace five guys out of the front seven. We need to get back in the fundamentals and technique.”

On what he's learned about Matt Canada
“There is no reserve about that guy. He is full speed. He fits in right with us. He is a go-getter and very intelligent. He is loud on the field. He has a commanding presence about himself. He is very detailed in the meetings and a good guy to work with. He is always happy and fired up. He is always talking and texting recruits. He is fitting right in with us.”

On how he handles contact in spring…
“There are times that we will scrimmage. There is a lot of teaching going on in spring. The first few days are with helmets and a lot of teaching going on. The days that we can scrimmage we will scrimmage some. You have to watch your team as you go along. I want some toughness and there will be some times where we get after it. There will be some times where we hold off.”

On Lindsay Scott Jr. and how he has showed his talent…
“He showed that. Before I became head coach I ran scout team and Lindsay was my quarterback. The year before that, Danny (Etling) was the scout team quarterback. I saw that in Danny and see the same thing in Lindsay. He is very smart and can run the ball. He is strong and can throw the ball well. He is going to be right up there in the competition. He is a good quarterback.”

On sharing second team snaps…
““It's going to be interesting. I think Matt is going to handle that. I don't tell guys how to work their reps.”

On Kevin Toliver II and if he will see more playing time…
“He's ready to go. We made a 15-minute good-bad tape of each player. I watched it myself with the coaches. I really learned a lot about the whole team. I learned a lot about all of our players. I learned what they do well and what they need to improve on. That meeting with their coach was tremendous. It's the same thing we did in the NFL. I learned a lot about Kevin Toliver. He could be an excellent football player. He just needs to remain more consistent.”

On replacing the leadership from last season…
“We have had two leadership seminars already, and we have them every Monday. They involve some pretty good stuff that our guys are learning. Guys are taking notes. Guys like Christian LaCouture, Derrius Guice, Danny Etling, DJ Chark. We will see how the leadership unfolds. I do believe as coaches we provided leadership until the leadership on the team shows up.”

On replacing the holes in the offensive line …
“We lost some good guys there. Some guys are going to have to step up. Guys are going to have to step up. Donavaughn Campbell, young guys like that are going to have to step up. Garrett Brumfield is going to have his chance. Those guys are going to have to come after it.”

On the freshman linebackers and safeties ...
“I smile every time I see them out there. I promise you that. Those are two tremendous safeties (Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens). Again, I am going to let Corey (Raymond) handle that. He handles his position. All of those guys are going to get a tremendous amount of reps. They are going to get a great look. We already have seen them in agility drills. We have seen them move. We have seen them cut. Both of them look fantastic. Let's see what happens when the pads come on.”

On how spring practice will work…
“You have a day's rest in between. The practices will be slightly longer but the same tempo. It will be slightly faster. There may be a couple more plays in a period that we didn't do last year. It's not the season yet so we can go a little longer. It will be the same tempo and same expectations.”

On J.D. Moore practicing in the spring …
“I think he may be out.”

On changing special teams…
“I want to be aggressive on special teams. I want to block punts, block kicks and return for touchdowns. We have changed our whole special teams philosophy. Hopefully it will be a lot better. Personnel will be changed, schemes will be changed and the coaching style will be changed. Everything we do on special teams will be brand new.”

On defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's defense …
“Here's what happened. We lost some good rushers. Let me give you an example, we had a guy like Lewis Neal who could play the 3-4 with a four technique and go out and edge and rush. That's valuable. We had some guys like (Davon) Godchaux, a pretty good football player inside. We have to replace those guys. It all depends on the rush. If we can generate a four-man rush, we will rush with four. If we can't generate a four-man rush, then we will have to blitz more.”

On the spring game being at night …
“I think it was the idea to get a big crowd and it had a lot to do with TV times. We play at night. It will be exciting for our guys and will be exciting for our fans. I think we will get more guys there, which will make it more like a big game.”

On the “stars” that are no longer with the team …
“Here is how we handle it here: One team one heartbeat. There's no superstars. There are no MVPs here. Everyone has their role, and everybody's role is just as important as the other. Obviously he is one of our better players, along with Arden Key. Derrius Guice has handled everything that has been thrown at him so far. He is doing excellently in the classroom. He has been a leader for us. When you have a guy like Tommie Robinson, who has coached some big time players, he will get tremendous mentorship from Tommie Robinson.”





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