It'll be a homecoming for LSU captain BJ Ojulari when LSU heads to Atlanta this weekend to take on the Georgia Bulldogs.
A Georgia native, he'll have friends and family all in attendance for the SEC Championship as he looks to beat the odds and upset the reigning national champions.
Ojulari has been the heartbeat of this LSU squad. Rocking the famous No. 18 jersey while earning captain status, he's proven to be the leader Head Coach Brian Kelly has wanted this season, but now is where he'll have to dig even deeper to lead the Tigers to an SEC title.
Here's what Ojulari had to say ahead of Saturday's showdown in Atlanta:
Q. Obviously being from the state of Georgia, the fact that your brother played here, how serious did you consider Georgia? How did they recruit you coming out as a high school prospect? What led you to picking LSU?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, Georgia did a great job recruiting me at the time. Coach Lanning, a great outside linebacker coach, D coordinator, as well as the coach of my brother. My brother did a good job as well recruiting me to Georgia.
For my decision, I just wanted to follow my own destiny, build a name for myself somewhere else. My brother, he tried hard to get me to Georgia. I was very close, as well. But my heart said different.
Coach O and his staff did an amazing job just showing me how special I was to them, how bad they wanted me to come play for LSU.
At the end I think I made the right decision for myself.
Q. How much do you talk to your brother this week leading up to the game? What's the back-and-forth there this week?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, we've been talking ever since we found out that we were going to be the SEC West champions. He's been just giving a little banter here and there since he went to Georgia.
But he's all positive. He wants to see me succeed. But I know he's going to be rooting for Georgia.
Q. I wanted the player's perspective of how Saturday played out. Obviously a really disappointing end of the game. How have you responded in the last 48 hours? What's been the message from the coaching staff and from you as team captain?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, very disappointing loss this past Saturday. Hats off to Texas A&M on playing a great game, calling a great game, finishing their season out the right way.
But on the player's standpoint, we all know what the task at hand is. We're still going to have to go out to Atlanta and play our best game.
We know our potential. We know how we can play and the level we can play at. This week is just focusing on us, having a great week of preparation, getting ready to play UGA.
Q. You're a captain, one of the leaders of this team. You've done things by example. Do you feel a need to make your voice heard after a loss like that?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, I think I don't have to say too much. I think the guys have a good understanding of the position that we're in, what we can still accomplish at the SEC championship.
As a leader, I still voice just keeping the guys up, keeping our mental right, keeping us focused so we can have a great week of preparation, and that can alter our path.
Q. You mentioned with your brother talking about ever since that you guys knew you were winning the SEC West. When did you all as a team think that you had the capability to do that after last year's disappointment?
BJ OJULARI: I just think as a team we just knew the type of talent and the potential that we have. So for us, it was just buying into what Coach Kelly had planned for us, his process.
I think when we bought in, we knew the sky was the limit for us. Really just coming each week and applying that process, just taking it week by week, seeing where it goes.
Ultimately it ended up being the SEC West champions.
Q. Harold Perkins, seeing him every day in practice, playing with him, when did you have an idea he could be a pretty special player?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, Harold has always been a special player, just seeing him show great flashes in practice of his speed and capability off the edge. Just being able to see him in SEC games dominating, it's really no surprise, just the stuff that he's able to do, how he can help our defense, how instrumental he's been to the defensive play.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Coach Kelly. You had a decision to make coming out of high school. You had a decision to make when the coaches changed, too. What made you buy into Brian Kelly and stay there? What has made him such an effective coach?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, for me it was never about who's coaching or anything like that. For me the biggest thing was staying at LSU, just knowing the great history that LSU has, ultimately I fell in love with the school.
But there's been great coaches before me, there's going to be great coaches after me. But Coach Kelly, he just has a certain process. When teams apply that process, it's proven to be successful. I know it's successful for us. He does things a certain way.
As a player, all you can do is follow it. Just from his past history of winning, all you can do is trust his process. During this season, it's proven to be very successful given the big leap from last season.
Q. Obviously there's been so much talk about the process all season. When did you and your teammates kind of buy into that and accept it?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, as being one of the leaders, I'll say my buy-in was pretty immediate just with Coach Flint and them coming in during the bowl game, starting to implement the little pieces of the strength training process. Having to buy in and show the guys that this is what you have to do, this is the new process that is at LSU.
Just by me buying in, I think eventually everyone began to see how positive and how effective this process can be. So I don't think it took long for everyone to get bought in and be on the same track.
Q. We've heard a lot about what goes into it in terms of the "SWAT" teams and what you all have to do in terms of questionnaires on a day-to-day basis and the little things like that. What else goes into Coach Kelly's process?
BJ OJULARI: Yeah, definitely with the "SWAT" teams, holding people more accountable. As teammates, checking up on other teammates. Everyone having to do their job, pull on the same side of the rope all season.
But everything that we do is not just physically. Coach Kelly does a great job focusing on the mental aspect of the game, breaking teams down for us to get the mental edge, to keep us focused and positive throughout the whole season.