March 27, 2023

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LSU Players Jack Bech, Mike Jones Jr., And BJ Ojulari Speak At SEC Media Days

For this year’s SEC Media Days, LSU wide receiver Jack Bech, linebacker Mike Jones Jr., and defensive end BJ Ojulari were chosen by first year LSU head football coach Brian Kelly to represent the program at the conference’s annual media event. All three players are expected to have big time seasons for the Bayou Bengals this fall. This is the chance for the national media to get to interview the LSU players and get their insights on the new team for the fall. This is what the players had to say.

WR Jack Bech:

On playing for LSU as a Louisiana native:

“Being from the state of Louisiana growing up as a LSU fan, Saturdays were devoted in the fall for watching LSU whether it would be in Baton Rouge or in Lafayette where I’m from. It just means a little bit more whenever you’re playing for LSU being from Louisiana. You want to put on for your family and friends. It’s been awesome being able to play here at LSU.”

On quarterback Max Johnson transferring to Texas A&M:

“Max is a very talented quarterback at LSU. He obviously left to go to Texas A&M. We haven’t spoken much not because of ill will or anything, but because we have been doing our own thing. I think Max is going to do great. We wish him the best of luck and hope everything goes well for him.”

On new quarterback Jayden Daniels and the quarterback competition:

“Jayden obviously played a couple of years at Arizona State. He is an absolute baller and more of a dual threat style quarterback. He has wheels and went over 20 miles per hour during one of our spring practices so whenever the pocket collapses, he will be able to get out and do whatever it takes to make the play work. As far as the quarterback battle, us as players, we are going to control what we can control. Obviously, fall camp is going to be huge for the quarterback battle, but also the style of play Coach Denbrock, Coach Kelly, and Coach Sloan want. In the end, it is going to be their decision on who gets the job, but I am excited as everybody else to see who gets the starting job day one.”

On how NIL changes dynamic within the locker room:

“Actually for us in the locker room, we don’t talk about NIL that much. You see posts and different things like that, but rarely, I’ve never heard anybody talk about money or the different things they get from it. We are brothers and even if you do have a guy that is making more money than the other person, he is always going to take care of his brother on the right or left of him so that hasn’t been a problem at all. We are all for guys making the money. They deserve it and we are happy for them, but at the same time, we don’t talk about it and that’s definitely not something that gets in our way.”

On transitioning from Coach Orgeron to Coach Kelly:

“First, I want to say without Coach O, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play here at LSU so all my thanks go out to him. Coach Kelly does everything specifically. He is always moving chess pieces and everything he does, he does with purpose and once he does one thing, he knows the outcome it is going to lead to. He is definitely strategic in everything he does just like the staff he put together. There wasn’t one coach who just got here for the spot. It was a very strategic move and he knew what he was going to get from those coaches once they got there.”

On wide receiver room:

“Our wide receivers are stacked and we are headed by one of the best wide receiver coaches in college football in Coach Hankton. You can put on a blindfold and put all the names in the hat and pick a name from the hat and that person is destined to go off. There is nobody in that room that is even close to being just average. Everybody in that room is a very good football player, athlete, and route runner. What I think is going to elevate us is our coaches. Coach Hankton has taught us so much on the field, but also, just off the field stuff like how to be a man and how to take accountability in the all the decisions you make.”

On what to improve the most heading into year two:

“360 rotation. I want to get bigger, stronger, and faster because in the SEC, if you don’t elevate and transform like that, then you are behind par. Everybody in the SEC week in and week out is a really good team so you are always going against guys that you are going to see not only now, but in the league. You always have to be on top of your game and always have to be elevating whether it is in season or offseason. You always have to watch what you do and get better at it because if you are not, then, you are just going to be behind.”

On playing the season opener in New Orleans against Florida State:

“The city of New Orleans is going to be on fire. We are going to have as many fans inside the stadium as we are going to have outside, especially in a big venue like that. It is going to be awesome. I’m excited to pad up again and to start playing some more games to see how all the hard
work we put in this offseason has come into our gameplay.”

On representing LSU at SEC Media Days as only a sophomore:

“It means everything just the honor to be able to come and do something like this to not only represent my family, but also my friends, the university, and the state of Louisiana, it is truly an honor and a blessing. Obviously, I’m a Catholic so I am blessed. Without God, I can’t do anything, but with him, I can do all things. I am blessed to be able to partake in this event.”

LB Mike Jones Jr.

On comfort level with LSU in year two coming from Clemson and transitioning to playing on the inside:

“I believe I can compete at a high level anywhere you put me on the field. I got a lot more reps playing inside throughout the spring and now, that’s my job. Everyday when I go out on that field, I’m expecting and demanding myself to execute to my coach’s level everyday in what he wants me to do and that is playing inside the box.”

On biggest difference defensively this year:

“The biggest difference is that we are really multiple. We’ve got plenty of talent so we can do a lot of different things and show a lot of different looks. I know Coach House is going to have a great plan. When it comes to identity, my biggest goal is to go out there and play my best football. I know if I can go and execute, everything is going to handle itself. For our defense, Coach House’s biggest thing is Tigers run. We are trying to get back to that LSU style of football. We are going to run fast, be physical, and tackle. That’s going to be our standard.”

On former quarterback Max Johnson’s new role at Texas A&M:

“I think Max is going to do a great job at A&M. There are a lot of good quarterbacks out there and he is one of them. He is a great leader and a great guy. I am sure that he is going to make the most out of his opportunity.”

On biggest difference going through an offseason with Coach Orgeron and Coach Kelly:

“Like throughout college football, there are a lot of similar things and that is putting in work. The only thing I would say is a main difference is the way we are working is a little bit different. Our strength staff does an amazing job. They are data driven in the way that we work. We are constantly working on things that will track our speeds and the way we lift so they’ve done a great job of taking care of us and our bodies. They are making sure that we can go into camp healthy and being able to have a good year in college football.”

On Coach Kelly’s fit at LSU:

“I think when you look at LSU five to ten years down the road, I feel that there wasn’t a more perfect hire than Coach Kelly. His track record speaks for itself. If you want one of those consistent programs that are constantly at the top of college football every year, who else can do it better than the guys that have been doing it. Just seeing the way that he carries himself, his expectations, the things that he demands from us, the process in getting us ready for the season, it translates to success. I’ve been around some good teams throughout my time and Coach Kelly has made me realize that maybe all great teams do everything the same.”

On what he has taken away from years past to help him at LSU:

“Probably just the expectations of how physically demanding games are in the SEC. Of course, they are demanding in all of college football, but my role is a lot different than it was at Clemson. I was playing more the overhang role there. I was playing nickel so I wasn’t taking as much of a physical burden throughout the season from week to week. Playing mike linebacker in the SEC, you are going to be in there with some big guys every play. I’ve learned that there are some better ways that I can take care of my body so that is the main thing that I’ve taken away.”

On what he has learned from Coach House and being back in the Superdome where he played against LSU in the National Championship game at Clemson:

“I’ve learned a lot from Coach House. I love Coach House. He is a great dude and I am super blessed to be playing for him. I can say something for every aspect of his life in the way he carries himself to the way that he addresses us as players to the way that he interacts with his staff. Everything he does is at such a high level. He has exposed me to a level that I’ve never known in ways that can be done. He’s taught me a lot about being a leader in different ways to lead throughout the team so there are so many things that I learned from him that I can’t name just one. Going back to the dome and playing Florida State, it is going to be exciting. Like you said, my last time there didn’t go the way that I wanted then, but I am super excited for the opportunity and I am sure Florida State is going to be ready as well. It should be a great game.”

On wide receiver Koy Moore transferring to Auburn:

“Koy is a great friend of mine. He is a great person and coming to LSU as a transfer, it can be hard making friends sometimes. A lot of guys have been there for years and years. Koy was a guy that naturally gravitated towards me. He is a very talented wide receiver that has great hands, is a great route runner, and an explosive guy. I know that he will do great things at Auburn”

On expectations as an entire defense and what the defense will be improved at the most:

“Personally, I believe the world in our group. Part of that is Coach House’s expectations that he puts on us, but also just the way we responded and the way we went and did things in the spring. Every single day, we got better. It can be tough to do that like Day 8 of practice when you are tired and it’s Saturday, and it’s hot, but to see us continuing to battle and maintain a standard of running fast, running to the ball, and tackling, I got some big expectations for us. I know if we just go out there and play the level of what we are capable of, we will be fine.”

DE BJ Ojulari:

On being back in his home state of Georgia for SEC Media Days:

“It felt great getting off that plane and being back in Georgia, but just being here and representing LSU and my family is a feeling like no other.”

On the defensive front:

“I am so excited for this opportunity. We got a lot of guys that are coming back. Ali Gaye is one of my favorites at defensive end. He is a great leader. We got Maason Smith, Jaquelin Roy, and we have some great additions from the transfer portal. Mekhi Wingo is meshing well with all of us. Coach Cain does a great job in implementing his style of coaching with us, and I think we mesh well as a group. We are still maintaining that great defensive line chemistry.”

On best advice that his older brother Azeez Ojulari has given him as a college football player:

“He’s given me so much advice, especially since he has gone through all of this as well and then making it to the league. He is a great mentor to me. I can’t pinpoint one thing, but he definitely has great tips on his pass rushing game for me.”

On impressions of Coach Kelly since he arrived at LSU:

“When I heard, I think it was on social media. For a long time, everybody had their guy in mind of who they wanted to be the head coach. I trust Mr. Scott Woodward our athletic director. He believes Coach Kelly can get the job done so as a player, I have to follow that plan.”

On what he has taken from Coach Orgeron going forward to Coach Kelly:

“There is a lot to take away from the last two years. I’ll say Coach O did an amazing job coaching us. We had a great staff both years, but as high level players, we have to take away what we did wrong and implement it to this season so we won’t make the same mistakes.”

On representing LSU off the field:

“Graduating champions is a big motto for us. We take academics more seriously. As soon as Coach Kelly came in, we raised our GPA by a lot of points. There has been a great improvement in our team GPA. He has definitely pushed academics on us. I know for a lot of guys, academics is really important to them and their families.”

On quarterback Max Johnson transferring to Texas A&M:

“Max is going to be an amazing quarterback for A&M. Max is a good friend of mine. On and off the field, I’ve never met somebody so pure and good hearted as him. He is elusive and can throw so he is the whole package for A&M.”

On playing for defensive line coach Jamar Cain:

“We have a lot of fun with Coach Cain. He has a whole lot of energy. He is electric and is fun to be coached by him. He focuses a lot on the little details and honing it in on what we do best.”

On what it would take to play in the SEC Championship game this year:

“Just being able to come back and compete for a SEC title, that would mean everything to me, especially coming back to my home state and play in a game of such caliber. I think it is going to take the LSU standard of football. If we play the football that we know how to play, I think we can compete for a SEC championship.”

On what Coach House is asking him to do differently and the rest of the defense this season:

“Coach House is implementing a lot of new things for the defense and for me personally, I am still going to have my hand in the dirt, but I am going to be doing whatever they ask me and being as versatile as I can.”

On representing his family and the Nigerian community:

“Just the heritage and the pride of just wanting to be great. My grandfather is an artist and a musician. His name holds a lot of weight back at home so just having that behind me and my brother, we just want to hold the standard that we set. The Nigerian community is a very vast and supporting community. There are a lot of Nigerians in Atlanta and the Georgia area. We have a lot of great athletes from Nigeria as well.”

On Jayden Daniels and what he brings to the quarterback position battle:

“I love Jayden. He is a great guy. He came in and meshed well in the locker room. He has a great arm and he is very elusive. He is going to bring that elusiveness if he does win the job. I feel that all four quarterbacks are qualified to take LSU where we need to go.”

On what he sees from this year’s freshman class:

“I went up against Will Campbell all spring and I can just see the improvement day by day from him. Coach Davis does a great job developing his offensive linemen. I am eager to see what Emery Jones does this fall camp along with Quency Wiggins. Quency is coming along and is going to be able to create some depth for us on the defensive line this year.”

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