LSU coach Ed Orgeron has said for weeks he doesn’t care if the SEC or NCAA decide to delay or alter the 2020 season. On Wednesday, during his annual meeting with the Baton Rouge Rotary Club, Orgeron said his thought process hasn’t changed.
"If they move it back, if they change it, who cares. It doesn't matter. You call us at midnight, we'll go play in the pasture,” Orgeron said.
On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated reported that the “majority” of SEC athletic directors voted to move towards a 10-game all-conference schedule that would alter the Tigers season. An all-conference schedule would eliminate games against UTSA, Rice, Louisiana Tech and Texas.
A meeting of the conference presidents is set for Thursday where further discussions will take place and it’s important to note that no official decisions have been made.
“That's out of my control," Orgeron said. "We're preparing that we're going to kick off on Sept. 5.”
The Tigers head coach carried on the preseason tradition of meeting with the club to preview the 2020 season. Orgeron went through the various position groups and while not much new was learned, there are a few new items of note to take away from Orgeron’s latest public appearance.
Safety Todd Harris isn’t quite ready but is making good progress according to Orgeron. The senior safety missed most of the 2019 season after suffering a leg injury in September against Northwestern State.
One topic that was approached was the possibility of players electing to sit out the season due to health concerns. In the NFL, multiple players have elected to sit out and on Wednesday, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley become the first high profile Division I player to announce his intent to sit out the season.
Orgeron said that so far no players have entertained the idea of sitting out due to health concerns to his knowledge.
“I haven’t heard that. None of our players have talked about that. I know that they have the option,” Orgeron said. “Our players are eager to play. These guys are elite. These guys want to win championships. They believe in each other. I don’t expect much of that to happen.”
The freshman class was also a popular topic of conversation on Wednesday. Orgeron reiterated that he thinks the 2020 freshmen class is the best he’s been around and thinks that because of the added practices this season, more freshmen will have an opportunity to shine.
“These freshmen are getting more practices than any freshman group has ever had. They’re going to get about 12-13 practices that no other freshman group has ever had,” Orgeron said.
“They’re getting indoctrinated, they’re getting acclimatized, they’re learning. I think walk-throughs and the meetings have allowed them to see the older guys and how they do it has been very beneficial. I expect a lot of freshmen will be playing this year.“
One particular freshman that Orgeron has been quite bullish on in recent weeks is running back Kevontre Bradford. The speedy back out of Texas has been pegged behind the three-headed monster that is Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery.
Bradford has seemed to have caught the eye of the coaching staff and his explosive, big play ability could help him see the field.
“I want you to remember this name, Kevontre Bradford,” Orgeron said. “He’s a very talented young man.”
Other freshmen that Orgeron mentioned could make a serious impact were Arik Gilbert, Jaquelin Roy, Jacobian Guillory and Elias Ricks.
On the defensive side of the ball, Orgeron can’t wait to see what the Tigers look like under Bo Pelini and the 4-3 attacking style he’s bringing with him.
Orgeron has talked about how he didn’t feel LSU played up to its high standards on defense in 2019 and looks forward to seeing that corrected in 2020.
“I’m so excited that (defensive coordinator) Bo Pelini chose to come back. As you know, Bo had some of the top defenses in the SEC and the country,” Orgeron said. “We’re a 4-3 defense. We’re an attacking defense. I felt that this is what we needed, to change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 because it fit our style and also fit our players.
“You’re going to see more blitzes. You’re going to see safeties coming; corners coming; defensive line in the backfield; better pass rush; putting our athletes in space and letting them play.”