BATON ROUGE - LSU Coach Trent Johnson met the media in preparation for the LSU basketball team's trip to Knoxville for Wednesday night's SEC game with the University of Tennessee.
LSU is 2-2 in the SEC, 10-9 overall while Tennessee is now 12-7 overall and 2-2 in the SEC as well. Coach Bruce Pearl will serve game five of his eight-game league suspension and Associate Head Coach Tony Jones will direct the Vols.
The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network regionally and on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (WTGE New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge).
Here are some of Coach Johnson's comments from today's session:
"We've got a long day ahead of us. We have to watch some videotape of our last two games before we move forward to Tennessee. I think it's really important that we watch it again. Obviously the first half versus Kentucky was not very good from a competitive standpoint. The second half versus Ole Miss was not very good from a competitive standpoint. I think it's important that they go back and see it before we move on. In terms of practice, we're going to do a lot of one-on-one and two-on-two because good teams, athletic teams, force you to make something happen on your own. We don't have a team like that so I think we need to start working on that. The second thing is when we get out of one-on-one and two-on-two, we're having a hard time defending and keeping anybody in front of us in the zone or man and people are exploiting us from a one-on-one standpoint or two-on-two standpoint. It's stuff that we worked on early in the year and we will work on when we have the opportunity, but its about being really competitive right now and sticking your nose in there and racking up loose balls. If we have the opportunity to work on some zone we will. Right now the main emphasis is getting our competitive edge to where we can sustain something against somebody who is good for a consistent period of time."
On being a psychiatrist to the team...
"There's no psychiatrist in me. Never has been. I made the comment the other day that I continue to push, push, push and that's what I'm going to do, but then certain guys can handle it and certain guys can't. There's a way to go about it. If it's going to be a session where I'm screaming and hollering, they understand. They know. It's just a matter of being put in that environment over and over again. Everybody wants to make an excuse for whom or what we don't have out there, and that's fine, but it's about the guys that are out there. When the ball is loose, getting on it. It's about the guys that are out there understanding he's quicker than you, he may be a better player than you, but the scouting report says jump his right hand and take that away. We're not in psychiatrist mode here. If I have to be a psychiatrist after how we've played and competed in the last two games, they don't care. I fully expect us to compete very, very hard on Wednesday. If we make a couple of shots we'll have our chances, but Tennessee is without question a very good basketball team, probably as talented a team in this league. You don't beat Villanova and Pittsburgh and Georgia on the road without being very talented and skilled. We need to make sure we get off the deck and compete at a high level."
On starting SEC play well but being disappointed now...
"When you start talking about two quality wins, I love Arkansas and I love Auburn to death, but I also know going into this year where we were physically and for us to be successful we have to have all hands on deck. At Kentucky it was a different talent level and a different experience level. Ole Miss was a different talent level and different experience level coming in. I don't get caught up in how you start a season or league as opposed to how you sustain something. The bottom line is, against Auburn on the road were we really good defensively? Yes, but did they have the talent and skill level that Ole Miss or Kentucky had? No. We can't compare. We're not talking about winning or losing, we're talking about competing."
On changing the lineup for Wednesday...
"Storm [Warren] is out today. You saw in the game he could barely get up and down the floor a little bit, so I have to make a decision from the standpoint of what problems Tennessee causes. I would like to bring Garrett [Green] off the bench and see. It might be Eddie [Ludwig] or Jalen [Courtney] depending on what Storm's status is. Garrett's another concern because his back is starting to tighten up. We'll just have to see. In a perfect world, Storm can go Wednesday and be more effective than Saturday. We'll put him out first along with Malcolm [White]."