As LSU starts its week long trek in Atlanta preparing for the Peach Bowl, Tiger coach Ed Orgeron sat down with the media to talk all things Oklahoma.
Orgeron opened the press conference by expressing his gratitude for the LSU team being in the Peach Bowl.
“First of all, it's an honor to be playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl,” Orgeron said. “These guys have been phenomenal, accommodations, the welcome, the hospitality. The food obviously has been phenomenal, practice facilities, hotel. Everything's been great. We arrived yesterday. The guys had dinner, had a team meeting. Everybody was in the curfew, 100% ready to go. Everybody was early for the meetings today. We had a (indiscernible) Monday practice, we practiced in the Dome. Different feeling about this team this week. This is a playoff game for us. You can feel the intensity ratcheting up. Pretty good.”
With two of the nation's top offenses duking it out on the football field, a high scoring affair seems to be in the works. LSU leads the country in total offense at 554.4 yards per game with Oklahoma just a fraction behind at 554.2 yards per game. The two programs are also neck and neck in scoring during the 2019 season as the Tigers average 47.8 points per game with the Sooners no far behind at 43.2.
Orgeron said Monday he has a ton of respect for what Sooner head coach Lincoln Riley has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.
Orgeron even picked Riley’s brain when talking with him about moving the LSU offense to the spread.
"He says, Coach, you have to be committed to it,” Orgeron said. “And you have to run it a lot because you're going to see a lot of different defense. People are going to try to stop it all different ways. We practice it and we practice as many looks as we possibly can. Obviously, anything that we do, I do believe he won't be surprised by what we're doing.”
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts' story is one that makes everyone strive for greatness and Orgeron was in total agreement when describing the senior Sooner quarterback that has faced the ultimate highs and lows throughout his collegiate career.
"I'm proud of Jalen Hurts. I know him. I think he's a great young man,” Orgeron said. “I got to meet him at a couple of deals. He has great parents, outstanding character, and obviously very proud of Joe and what he's done. Those two are very similar in character, and they're team players.”
Hurts and the Oklahoma offense is as tough as they come according to Orgeron but said defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has installed a ton of schemes and has a gameplan in place.
“Obviously, with this team, you've got to tackle,” Orgeron said. “You've gotta tackle one-on-one and in space. You've got to tackle Jalen. You got to cover CeeDee. And if you do cover them, you've got to tackle them, so. It's going to come down to winning your one-on-one as a tackler.”
While the status of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be talked about throughout the week, the Tiger passing game, led by quarterback Joe Burrow figures to have a distinct advantage. With Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell out due to a reported broken collarbone, Burrow and his abundance of weapons on the outside should have no problems moving the ball, with or without Edwards-Helaire.
With Turner-Yell injured and starting defensive end Ronnie Perkins suspended, Orgeron said the team isn’t treating the suspensions and injuries as an advantage.
"We don't even factor that in, you know, say hey, this is going to be an advantage,” Orgeron said. “It's not going to be an advantage, uh-uh. We're going. And, again, it's never going to be about our opponent. It's always about us and the way we execute.”
LSU will have more availability on Tuesday with the assistant coaches and practice later in the day.