LSU Coach Ed Orgeron Provides Final Updates Ahead of Tigers Matchup with Georgia
LSU coach Ed Orgeron met with the media on Friday to discuss one last time how his team is preparing for LSU's first SEC Championship appearance since the 2011 season.
From the battle on the line of scrimmage to quarterback Joe Burrow breaking his phone Thursday, here were some of the highlights from the press conference.
Orgeron talks battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage
Orgeron called the Georgia offensive and defensive lines the best LSU has faced this season when you put the two together. The Bulldogs run a 3-4 defense primarily, a scheme that has helped Georgia limit opponents to a 10.4 points per game average and 257 yards per game, fourth best in the country.
Despite the gaudy numbers both the LSU offense and Georgia defense have been able to hang on opponents, Orgeron said the Tigers need to simply "play our game."
"We've got to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football," Orgeron said. "They're very athletic, they get 11 guys to the football. They play solid, fundamental football and they're hard to run against because their guys are so fast to the football and put tremendous pressure on the passer. We're going to have to protect Joe to get the ball downfield."
On the offensive line, Orgeron called all five starters "guys who will play in the NFL," starting with tackle Andrew Thomas, who is a projected top-10 pick in the 2020 draft.
"Those guys are big, they're huge and they're very athletic," Orgeron said. "The line of scrimmage is very different in the SEC than other conferences, I think that's where you start and that's certainly what makes them a good team."
Orgeron went on to say it's the most physical team the Tigers have played to date, once again alluding to the importance of the battle at the line of scrimmage for LSU to have success this weekend.
"We've got to play great on defense because I feel our offense is going to do well," Orgeron said. "Now I don't know how many points we're going to score or anything like that but we have to stop their offense in order to win the football game."
How the team is preparing mentally for Saturday's game against Bulldogs
LSU arrived in Atlanta Thursday evening and had what Orgeron described as a "great" meal to kick off the weekend. The meal consisted of smothered pork chops, fried chicken, collard greens and said the guys "loved it."
With one good meal down but still plenty of work to be done, the third year coach was asked about where the players mindset is with the game now 24 hours from kickoff.
"We did as much work as we could do over in Baton Rouge, usually we travel on Friday but I had to be here today and I wasn't going to travel without the team and not being with them," Orgeron said. "One team, one heartbeat."
The routine Friday for the LSU players will be similar to what the team goes through on a typical Friday before a road game.
"We'll have a heartbeat meeting at 3 p.m., our meetings and walk-through in Mercedes Benz Stadium and more meetings tonight," Orgeron said.
In particular, there's one player Orgeron was asked about considering all of the national attention he garners and so many expectations on his shoulders, quarterback Joe Burrow.
Orgeron provided an example to the media Friday, revealing the senior quarterback's phone broke yesterday. Burrow's parents, Jimmy and Robin, were trying to reach him and when they found out what happened, wanted to go get him a new phone.
Burrow's response to his parents?
"I don't need a phone, I've got a game to play," Burrow said.
"That goes to show you the focus, the leadership of that young man," Orgeron said. "I think he's fine, he wants to win and that's his biggest attribute."
Orgeron on what it means for LSU to be in the SEC Championship
Orgeron was asked what it means not only to him but for his team to represent Louisiana in the SEC Championship this weekend.
"I love it, when I got hired at LSU, I said I knew this was the standard," Orgeron said. "We wanted to get there. It took us three years to get here and I do believe that you can see the process down the road. Thankfully they gave me the time to get it right and I feel like we're on the right track and hopefully this is just the beginning."
Orgeron was later asked what kind of benefits being a homegrown Louisianian has helped in his recruiting over the state. He takes great pride in being from Louisiana and said he'll be in about 18 to 22 homes next week doing some winter recruiting. What does that mean?
"That means about 18 to 22 gumbos," Orgeron said. "It's just like being a part of a big family. I love recruiting in Louisiana."