COACH ORGERON: Welcome, everybody. Good to see everybody again. Just a little recap on Saturday night. What a tremendous night for the Tiger family, all of the way from the Tiger wall to the stadium, the 60 minutes played with energy and efficiency with the football team. I thought our team operated very well for the first time together. I was excited about the sideline. I was excited about everybody into it. I was excited about going in at halftime, being able to make adjustments with our football team, coming out and playing 60 minutes of football. Going into the game, we knew that we had a tough opponent, and I was very pleased with our preparation throughout the week. We took it on a daily basis. We had a — some obstacles to overcome during the early part of the week, but we did it and showed our work and preparation. I was excited about the efficiency on offense. I thought it was a great job Steve Ensminger calling the plays. I like the diversity. I liked the way he mixed his personnel, run pass, obviously all of the yards that we gained and the things that we accomplished, but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to be very efficient and be multiple, put the ball in our play-makers’ hands and space and let them play. He did a very good job of that.
We had over two 100-yard rushes. I thought our offensive line played very well. This was about the offense operating all 11 at one time. On defense, you have to give credit to Dave Aranda and our staff, along with Pete Jenkins and Corey and Meatball. They did a tremendous job of defending a very, very explosive offense. I thought our DBs had the best games of the year. We played some tight coverage, some man-to-man coverage. We only allowed six. I believe Tre’Davious White had an excellent night. We broke some balls up. We had a good pass rush. Davon Godchaux had two sacks in the night. He played his best game, and they had only given up one sack the whole year. So, we’re excited about that. We’re excited about this week. Obviously, it will be a tremendous challenge to go on the road, take the Tigers on the road to a very good Florida Gator football team, playing in The Swamp. I know our guys will be excited. This is a rivalry game for us and we understand that. But nothing is going to change. This will be the plan we have for the week. Today is “tell the truth Monday,” and we’ll get the guys together today and tell the truth about the game, good, bad or indifferent and cover everything and fix stuff first, and our guys are going to be excited about that.
Going on to Florida a little bit, to give you a scout report obviously, they’re 4-1, 18th in A.P. and Coach’s poll. I think they’re a very well-coached football team. Jim McElwain has a lot of respect among our staff. He’s one of the better coaches around the country. We understand that. Mike Simmons is the offensive line coach, who worked with me at previous stops. He does a very good job. I think their defensive coordinator, Jeff Collins, is one of the top young coaches in the country. Randy Shannon and I worked together at the University of Miami. Those guys have a tremendous staff and they are a very well-coached football team.
First of all, I want to say their turnover margin is plus 5. I am proud to say that we are plus 1 in the game. We are plus 1 for the new season. It’s a positive start. They’re plus 5 and the turnover ratio to me is the most important stat. They have eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries. So they’re very active on defense. On offense their pro style system, 21-12, and 11 personnel, 8 returned starters. They’re averaging 407 yards a game. Scored 28.4 points a game. They have three good running backs that run the ball very well. In fact, they use four sometimes. The wide receivers are quick, as far as wide receivers always are. They are play makers. They are a big offensive line. Their right tackle, their freshman, is one of the best offensive lineman that we’re going play this year. They are very well coached. They are a zone blocking team. They are a power team. They all work together. They come off the ball well. We started them extensively this morning. Austin Appleby has been playing, but probably the starting quarterback is going to be Del Rio, who I’m very familiar with, because I know his dad really well. Top players on offense is Jordan Scarlett, running back, has 55 rushes, 274 yards, 4 TDs. Antonio Callaway, number 81, sophomore wide receiver, has 20 catches for 371 yards. On defense, very good. Like I said, Jeff Collins is a great defensive coordinator. I know him from the days of Mississippi State. He’s a friend of mine, and he has a lot of respect from our staff. Multiple scheme, 4-3, 3-4, no key, has seven returning starters. They’ve given up 230 yards per game, as you guys know, second in the NCAA. Top players on defense, Teez Tabor, one of the top cornerbacks in the country. Jarrad Davis, number 40, middle linebacker, leads the team in tackles, and he’s is very active. Caleb Brantley, who was a young man that was highly recruited, defensive tackle, very strong and powerful. On special teams, kid who calls specials, Eddie Pineiro has a 75% touchback ratio, and punter, Johnny Townsend, has nine punts down inside the 20.
Before I take questions, I want to tell you a little story. You may have heard it in the second quarter. My son Ty, was on the sideline. We had just scored. I gave him a high five. He whispered, hey dad, Parker just caught his first touchdown. Yeah, all right, man. After the game, I say, hey, way to go, first touchdown. Dad, I’m so proud of you. It was a great night for the Orgeron family. I want to thank you guys.
But on to Florida, we have a 24 hour rule. We want to feel good about this win, but after we watch film today, it will be on to the Florida Gators. Okay. Any questions?
Q. You said last week that you were going to let your coaches coach, and Ensminger said kind of the same thing last night on radio, that when it came to substitutions and all of that, he let the position coaches decide. We it came to the game plan, how much back and forth did you see from the offensive room and Kragthorpe and guys like that?
COACH ORGERON: Well, you know, we all worked together as a staff, and everybody managed their own group. Everybody had their own ideas. We put them together and the big thing was marrying them to the old system and to put our players in the best position that they can perform with the same language, but returning different plays, and making them look different from different formations. I think our guys did a tremendous job doing that.
Q. Coach, could you give us the status on Leonard?
COACH ORGERON: I said yesterday, somebody quoted it, and I thought he was going to play. I talked to Jack today. I think it’s going to be day by day. I don’t know if he’s going to practice today or tomorrow. We got to see as the week goes by. That’s the honest thing, I don’t know if he’s going to play.
Q. A little follow-up to Shay’s question about the staff and delegation. Do you feel like — it looked like there were obvious changes. Do you think previously the staff’s input was taken into consideration and respected?
COACH ORGERON: You know, whatever happened in the past happened. You know, I’m not into that. We were given an excellent opportunity. I want to thank Joe Alleva for that. We just moving forward. Whatever happened in the past, we know we have a system today that we want to run, and we believe in it, and we’re going for it. It’s a new season.
Q. One follow-up as well about Leonard. For a guy that had so much success, and now he’s been on the bench for two seasons, is it difficult at all to keep him engaged?
COACH ORGERON: Well, sometimes it can be. But, you know, Leonard is a different cat. Leonard has a high character. He’s a team guy. He wants the team to — to win, have success. I think he was happy to see the offense have success. I think he was happy to see Guice and Williams have such a successful night, and I’m sure — I’m sure he wants to get back in there as soon as he possibly can.
Q. Yeah, Ed. Could you talk about the running back rotation. Both guys played really well, but the fact that you did rotate running backs, you did keep them fresh?
COACH ORGERON: Yes. We wanted to rotate our running backs. Again, here’s a part of the new system. Jabbar Juluke, the manager of the running backs, and he’s going to handle them in the way that he feels that we could have the most success, and he did well. And hopefully, when Leonard comes in, he’s in a rotation, and we could keep those guys fresh.
Q. Ed, you talked about the pride you had in the efficiency on offense. Did you practice that? Was that something that, you know, one of those mental notes that you made? Did you eliminate some steps either from the booth down to the field, field to the players?
COACH ORGERON: Yes, yes. We practiced that on Thursday. We practiced it on Friday, we practiced it on Saturday. I felt the players played calm. I felt they played confident and energetic in the plan. We didn’t want to put things in that were difficult. Too many checks, too many substitutions. We wanted to play simple effective football. I told the guys before we left on the bus, I said, hey, man, let’s put 11 on the field and let’s make sure they are playing hard, and they did that.
Q. A follow-up, are you afraid that simple is easy to defend going forward?
COACH ORGERON: Well, you know, we’re going to expound on our package, obviously. We’re not going to show them the same thing and run the same play this week and give them what they expect. Steve and all is going to make some changes this week. We’ll see what we can do. But also, we’re very effective in doing the things that we did, so we don’t want to completely get rid of it.
Q. Ed, you were a college player. What did you take from that when you are changing coaches in mid- season? Having been a player, what do you have to do, dealing with these guys, to come in with something new?
COACH ORGERON: I think that’s a big advantage, that you’ve been through things, you’ve done the things that they’ve done. You have been through the practices. You’ve been through the two-a-days. I remember the coaches that I responded to well. I remember the great teacher, I remember the great motivator, I remember the disciplinarians. Those are the guys that I responded to well, guys that stood up in the front of the room that command presence, that you know they had the knowledge to take you where they wanted to go. You saw them work hard. You saw them enthusiastic. I tried to be the same kind of coach. I think players respond to that. All players want discipline and all players want structure and all players want knowledge.
Q. Hey, Coach, this is going to feel like 11:00 a.m. for your players this kick-off this weekend. How do you make sure they’re up and running and ready to go?
COACH ORGERON: Well, I kind of have a knack for that. I’m an early-morning guy. But we thought about it. We planned it out well. We’re not going to make a big deal out of it. We got a long bus ride there. It’s 55 minutes. But we’re going to get up there. We got a routine that we’re going to do. First of all, it’s a business trip. When we get to the hotel, we’re going to eat up supper, we’re going to meet, we are going to meet on special teams, we going to meet on offense, defense. We have a team meeting, they go to chapel, they go to bed. They going to get up next morning, they have a meeting, they have a clap session, they eat pre-game meal, they get on the bus and get ready to go. That’s how we do things.
Q. Kind of a light-hearted follow up, we hear you like to drink energy drinks.
COACH ORGERON: Say that again.
Q. How many energy drinks do you consume in a day?
COACH ORGERON: Enough.
Q. Coach, last week, such an emotional week for your guys. The energy in the stadium was tremendous Saturday night. How do you keep that going and take that on the road with you against Florida?
COACH ORGERON: It’s part of our program. I think when you come to work today is about “Tell the Truth Monday” we are going to tell the truth, good, bad or indifferent. Tomorrow is Competition Tuesday. Wednesday is “No Turnover Wednesday” for the offense, Turnover Wednesday for the defense. Thursday is No Repeat Thursday. Friday is Focus Friday. Just get them in the routine. Energy is part of the things we do. We will have energy on the field today, the next day, the next day and the next day. I think it’s even going to get better than it was, because those guys will be comfortable, they understand what we expect. I believe players do what the coaches demand and energy is going to be demanded in our program.
Q. Ed, is this the vision that you had after you left USC for the next time you would get head coaching chance?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah.
Q. Have there even been changes from that time?
COACH ORGERON: Sure.
Q. And what if any are there changes from your time as interim at USC?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. I think the word “confidence.” When I took over at USC, I had some things that I wanted to try and I hadn’t tried them before and I saw them work. So I feel more confident today than I was back then at USC. It was — there was a lot of unknowns. Today, I think there’s more known things about my job than what I got to get done. I know the expectations at LSU. I feel very familiar from being in the State of Louisiana. I feel support from the administration. I feel our team is behind us. I know we have a very good football team. I know we have a very tough schedule ahead. But I’m just taking it day by day, being very confident in the system and what we got to accomplish on a daily basis.
Q. And then just a look at the notes on defense, only allowed five touchdowns all year. What has impressed you the most about what Dave Aranda has done? What impresses you about him?
COACH ORGERON: You know, there’s a lot of things. I can’t point out one specific thing. His organization, his structure, his system, his attention to detail, his calmness, his leadership ability, his ability to sit on the sideline and see what the offense is doing to us and make an adjustment the next play. If they are hurting us in one area, he can call a defense and make an adjustment to take that away. It’s like a chess match with him. And he also allows his coaches to coach the way that they want to coach. He has never stepped in to a technique or decision that, say, the line — outside linebacker coach want, defensive back coach wanted. He lets them do it that way. I think he’s an overall great coach. Plus, we have great players.
Q. Coach, are you thinking if Fournette does play of using him and Guice in the backfield at the same time?
COACH ORGERON: I would love to, love to. I believe putting the best players on the field and putting the ball in their hands, if that’s something that can be a possibility in the near future, and it’s something that we have done in the past.
Q. Coach, there are more injuries along the offensive line. Can you update Toby’s status and how Will is doing, those guys?
COACH ORGERON: Toby is going to be out for a little bit. And Will is going to be out for a little bit. We’ll know more about that as the week goes by.
Q. On the whole concept of rotation, you saw guys like Russell Gage and Jazz Ferguson get in there, Fost Moreau. Talk about all those guys getting more experience as the year goes along in the offense?
COACH ORGERON: I thought it was great. Here again you let the assistant coach manage his position. More guys play, more guys are happier. They’ll come to work happier today. It just strengthens the team.
Q. Ed, one of your personal memories of playing in The Swamp, especially a day game like this, also, are you happy this week the attention should be less on you and more on the team and what it still has in front of them?
COACH ORGERON: I’m all for that. Team first. All for it. I appreciate the attention on me last week, I really do. And I believe it all stemmed because I’m from the State of Louisiana and that meant a lot to me. I’ve only been in The Swamp one time. That was against Tennessee. Great atmosphere. I know how much they love their football there, but I know how much we love our football here, too. And I know we’re going to bring some great fans there, too. Our guys are going to be ready to play. I like taking a team on the road. I enjoy going to a hostile environment. I think you can use it to your advantage and motivation and your team, playing in the morning, day or night. It doesn’t matter. We play in a cow pasture, if we’re ready to play.
Q. How do you feel — okay. Well, how do you feel that that’s working overall as a rule this year, targeting being allowed to be called upstairs?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. I think it’s needed. I think it’s needed. I think guys have done a good job of communicating it and they’re looking at it. I got no complaints about it.
Q. Ed, can you elaborate on the quarterback position this past week and maybe where he needs to improve.
COACH ORGERON: There’s no question. Yeah. Everybody needs improvement. We love to hit those long balls. You know, we took shots. We didn’t hit them. But I like it. Because it’s just going show the defense that we’re going to stretch the field. We’re going to continue to do that but we need to hit them. There’s some things. We came out with several passes. We threw some good passes. We threw some not so good passes. We ran some good routes and ran some not so good routes. We need to get better. There’s a lot of timing issues, there’s a lot of preparation into that. It just doesn’t happen overnight. But, listen. As much as we want to hit the home run ball, we want to hit it. We want to stretch the field and we’re going to let guys know we’re going to do it.
Q. Coach, you’re known as a defensive guy. You obviously have strong opinions what offense should be. I saw a clip when you were in L.A., talking about you wanted to get your hands on the quarterback, toughen him up and give him more of maybe a defensive perspective on playing on offense. How much of your philosophy comes from defending offenses, seeing how tough your job is if you don’t know what’s coming?
COACH ORGERON: You know, I can always go in there and tell them, and say listen, if you get in this formation and you run this play, it’s very hard on us. If you get this personnel dropping, and it’s hard on defense, this shift and this motion hurts us. This play hurts us when we in this defense. But I don’t try to meddle too much. That’s not my expertise. I spend most of my time on defense during the day. I really believe in the offensive staff. I think Steve has ice water in his veins. I told him, I said, you know what you did offensively. The most production by any LSU offense that — versus SEC team in history, he goes, man, I’m just trying to win. So — but I think we have a very humble offensive staff, and I think they’ll continue to come together as the season goes on. They have a tough job this week. It’s going to be a lot tougher defense than we played last week. We’ll see.
Q. You ran a lot of good running backs. What does Derrius do that makes him special? Does he remind you of anybody?
COACH ORGERON: He’s tough as nails. He runs the ball like Warren Sapp played defense, and he has an energy about him, and he has an attitude when he strikes you that he’s wanting to go through you. But I watched the film last night. His ability to jump cut, run to the left and jump cut to the right is about the — one of the best I’ve seen. He has some Reggie Bush-Like cuts. He’s bigger and stronger than Reggie was in college, maybe not quite as fast but he has cuts like Reggie had.
Q. Coach, you said a couple times today referring to it as a new season. You said that after the game as well. I’m guessing that’s a message to your players to keep them involved. I’m curious if there’s a subtle undertone to the pollsters, potentially to the committee, if it gets to that point, where you would like them to judge you starting now and not what happened in the first few games?
COACH ORGERON: I tell you what, I never thought about it, but that’s a hell of an idea, man. Thank you. I appreciate that. I like it. That’s good.
Q. Coach, what do you see as the biggest difference between Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby, should Luke have to start?
COACH ORGERON: I just think the confidence that the coaches possibly has in Del Rio, they going to put him back in after an injury. I haven’t studied him that much to tell you the truth. I will know more towards the end of the week. I believe the head coach has a guy that’s injured. As soon as he comes back, he’s going to put him as quarterback, that means he can probably run the offense better than the other guy. That would be an assumption on my part only.
Q. Coach, I guess you talked a little bit about it, but the two games you lost this year have been away from Tiger Stadium. As a head coach, what do you tell your team toughness about winning on the road in a place like that?
COACH ORGERON: Yeah. We are going to simulate crowd noise, starting tomorrow. They going to hear those Gator songs all week, I promise you, they’re going to know them. We’re not going let it affect us. It can affect offense the most. Obviously, when you go into a hostile environment, you have to play calm, concentrate on your technique, alignment, assignment, not get too crazy, not let the crowd affect your play. It’s all about fundamental techniques anyway. You can execute those fundamental techniques on the practice field, and when you go into the stadium, the environment changed, it shouldn’t change your technique, your alignment and assignment. Hopefully, we’re mature enough to answer the bell there.
Q. Coach, with every day having a theme, is that one of the biggest changes you made? Was there anything like that in the practice structure before with the “Tell the Truth” day and all of these different labels that each day has?
COACH ORGERON: Well, it’s something that we do, and it’s something that, when I had the opportunity to do it, I believe that it works, and there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat, but this is the way that I have seen work, the methods I’ve learned under some great coaches, so I always said, when I get my opportunity to do it, that’s what I wanted to do, and the guys are going to enjoy it. It’s a fun, exciting system. I think it lets the guys play under their own personalities, have some fun and not so strict on every little thing. The bottom line is, these guys, I think these football players are the most important people that walk in the building. You know? They are the ones that play the game.
Q. Thank you, Coach.
COACH ORGERON: Thank you, guys. Have a great day. Good to see you.