We had a very productive open week. Had a very enthusiastic Tiger Bowl, lead by a tackle pass to Dare Rosenthal for a touchdown. Got called back on a penalty.
I thought our coaches especially on offense were very creative. Nick Brossette with the head coaches brought a lot of energy. Jontre Kirklin played wildcat quarterback. A lot of fun out there. Guys did a tremendous job. Jaray Jenkins was the MVP, I think he had three or four touchdowns. I thought it was a tremendous job by our staff.
We had a very positive week in recruiting. Our guys were out recruiting on Friday -- Thursday night, Friday and Saturday. Saw a lot of top recruits, guys that can really help us win championships.
Now it's on to 7 p.m. CBS, LSU versus Alabama. Going to be an outstanding week of practice, preparation, against an outstanding team. Our offense is going to be there early enough. Tiger Walk, our players thrive off of that. I know the energy in the state of Louisiana and the energy in the stadium is going to be something that we haven't seen for a long time in Louisiana. We're looking forward to our game, to our matchup versus Alabama.
A little bit about them. Obviously they're an outstanding football team. They have a very explosive offense, led by Tua. Tua is an RPO run-pass option quarterback. He's very good, very quick release. Does a very good job on his presnap reads, has a good offensive line. Damien Harris, a very good runningback. He has a slew of runningbacks. Jerry Jeudy, No. 4, is their best receiver, a big-play guy.
On defense, typical Alabama defense, 3-4, tough against the run. Very good defensive line. Skilled athletes at linebacker that can run. Young corners that are good. We recruited both of those guys, know them very well. But we feel, again, a good Alabama defense, very explosive on special teams.
This week is going to be about us, about preparation, blocking out the noise. Looking forward to having our team back today on Monday, having an excellent week of preparation.
Q. Could you speak to Tua's escape-ability, his accuracy on the run? Seems next level.
ED ORGERON: Great athlete. First of all, his release is phenomenal. His ability to run, outstanding athlete. I don't know how much they want to run him. I think they could run him more, run-pass keys.
But you're going to have to contain him, keep him in the pocket, make him throw out of a well. He's a little bit taller than I expected him to be after meeting him in person. He's a great player.
Q. When Alabama throws the ball, doesn't seem like they're dink-and-dunk, chunking the ball down the field. What are the challenges their wide receivers cause to you?
ED ORGERON: A lot of double moves, creative routes, seven routes, chair sevens we call them, smash routes. They know how to attack coverages. They're very well- coached.
But, you know, we have some good DBs. We know we lead the country in interceptions. I think we match up well with them. It's going to be a battle, but I think we match up very well.
Q. Talk about the challenge for the offensive line this week, not only in pass protection, but in maintaining drives.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we have to eliminate negative plays. We had too many negative plays against a very good Mississippi State line defense.
Alabama is a little bit different than Mississippi State. They're more of a 3-4. Mississippi State was out of a 4-3. They slanted. But these guys hold their gap. They're tough against double-teams. They don't want to give you anything inside the tackles. They let the linebackers run from sideline to sideline.
We're going to have to be able to run the football like we did against Georgia, hold our blocks, protect the quarterback, give him enough time to get the ball down the field.
Q. What would be your message to the team this week? Would you like a gradual buildup to game time?
ED ORGERON: No. We're not going to explode till 7 p.m. central standard time. Today is 'Tell the Truth' Monday. We're going to talk about the things we did well last week, the things we have to prepare this week. We're going to take it one day at a time.
I know this. Our coaching staff is ready, our team is ready, but there's nothing you can do till Saturday night. Get the most that we can out of today.
Q. In the past against Alabama, always seems like you're trying to figure a way to score. How does it change the dynamic knowing it will probably take at least 30 points or so?
ED ORGERON: Who said 30 points?
Q. I did actually.
ED ORGERON: Good (laughter).
Alabama, it all starts with protection. You have to protect them, a lot of sacks. They're very creative in their pass-rush. We have to get the ball out of Joe's hands quick, but we have to be able to run the football.
Q. Do you change your approach going in maybe even being a little more aggressive, throwing that kitchen sink?
ED ORGERON: We're going to go to win the game, I can tell you that. We're going to figure out a game plan that fits this week, a game plan that fits the team. We haven't figured that out yet.
Q. Do you think you're any closer to deciding who might fill in for Devin White?
ED ORGERON: Probably out of Patrick and Micah. We're not decided on that yet. But Devin is a good young player. He's not ready yet. Probably be either Patrick or Micah.
Q. Third different offensive coordinator at Alabama in three years. We talked a bunch about Tua. Does Mike Locksley do anything different defensively?
ED ORGERON: RPOs. RPOs are prevalent. Presnap reads. Get rid of the ball quicker, taking shots down the field. I think the run game is very similar to what Lane had, inside zone, outside zone, not as much run game for the quarterback has it was with Jalen Hurts. I think they have Jalen hurt, and they can't afford to get another quarterback hurt.
Very similar, but the RPOs are more prevalent.
Q. You've talked and given credit a lot to you wanted to build a bigger staff of analysts. They've helped y'all prepare weeks ahead for games. Expand on that, how does that help going into a game like this?
ED ORGERON: Well, the information that we have on those guys started this summer. We spent a couple of days on each team, Alabama, this summer. We are breaking down every game that Alabama played last year. We have a breakdown on every game they played this year. We know what hurts them. We know what they do very well.
Dave has appointed each analyst a different section for them to study. Think about this: Kevin Cole is studying something as an NFL coordinator would for 15 years, or defensive coordinator for 15 years. He brings a wealth of knowledge, especially in the back end. Him and Bill Bush have been an excellent addition to our team.
Last year we played the run very well against Alabama. They exploded us in the passing game. I feel with the addition of Bill Bush, Kevin Cole, Corey Raymond and Dave we are much more suited to play their passing game this year.
Q. I think you said when this game came up last year, you didn't want to place too much emphasis on the game, you wanted to have more of a businesslike approach to it. What does that do for your team? Two, they have not been under any stress at all this year, Alabama. Do you think there's an inherent advantage if you could put them under some stress especially early in the game?
ED ORGERON: We're going to find out, I tell you that. Again, I know and everybody knows how big this game is for the state of Louisiana, for our football team. But I am not going to make it bigger than life that our guys can't handle it.
We're going to approach this game, we're not going to say it's like every other game, we understand this is 'the' game. But we're going to approach every day like we've done. We're not going to change our process.
Now, when it comes down to game time, there's going to be an excitement in the air that's going to be different for this game. This just happens this way. That's how it is LSU versus Alabama. There's nothing I need to say or do this week to get these guys fired up.
Q. About them not being under stress the whole season.
ED ORGERON: Listen, you come into Tiger Stadium, this loud, you're going to be under some stress. Play our defense, you're going to be under some stress. We expect this to be an exciting game, matchup. We expect this to be a battle for 60 minutes. There's going to be stress on both sides. We'll see what happens in the game.
Q. You've gone up against some really good quarterbacks over the years. Anybody that comes to mind that sort of maybe is similar to Tua, compare and say, This guy reminds me of Tua?
ED ORGERON: I haven't thought about it like that. I would say, although I didn't play him, Michael Vick. He's that type of player. Doesn't run as much, but quick release, great athlete. But I didn't play Michael, so. That's the first thing that comes to mind.
Q. LSU leads the nation right now with 14 interceptions. Tua yet to throw an interception so far this season. What would you like to see from your defense this week?
ED ORGERON: A lot more interceptions (laughter).
Yeah, he's very quick with the ball, very accurate. I believe in our guys. I believe in our defensive scheme. I believe we have some of the best DBs in the country. This is going to be a tremendous matchup.
I know our guys are going to be fired up. They're going to hear all that stuff this week. It's going to be extra motivation for them.
But we're going to have to go out and do it Saturday. I do believe our guys will be ready to match their receivers.
Q. What is the health of your offensive line? Is there an advantage to playing maybe a Garrett Brumfield who isn't 100% but has seen what Alabama can bring?
ED ORGERON: Surprisingly, I talked to Jack this morning, he feels that Garrett is going to be ready to go. He's going to be about as healthy as he possibly can right now. That gives us a boost. Garrett brings a tremendous amount of leadership, a tremendous amount of confidence, and he also makes the calls.
He helps the left tackle, (indiscernible), so they have a tremendous relationship there and also Lloyd. I think this is going to give us a big boost. We can play Chaisson behind him. Chaisson is physical, athletic, can handle this type of game. If Garrett needs a spell, I think we've developed strength there that makes it stronger.
Q. Every year is different, you don't like to harp on the past. Does a losing streak motivate the team at all?
ED ORGERON: We don't talk about that. That's not something that's discussed. We take it one game at a time. But obviously I think all of us feel it. We understand the importance of beating Alabama at LSU. I think that's going to play into some motivation this week. I don't have to say it, though.
Q. How would you describe the team's confidence level now that you seem battled tested, 7-1?
ED ORGERON: I think it's very high, but it's modest. We know this as a football team: we have to be hungry, we have to play our best to play with anybody, and when we do play our best we can play with anybody.
We have gone out and played a complete game against some teams, and we have seen the results. We've gone out and kind of misfired, struggled a little bit, didn't win against Florida when we should have won that game. I feel like we was the better football team. We've gone out and played some lesser opponents, kind of played to their level, and the game didn't look as good as we wanted.
I think this team is mature enough to understand that all they got to do is play their best to beat Alabama. If we play our best, we're capable of doing that. We feel that already. Now we have to go out and do it.
Q. Missed opportunities on deep shots last year were such a big factor. What you have been able to do with that this year? How much do you think that's different for this team?
ED ORGERON: Well, I do believe that Joe has proved that he can throw the deep ball. Again, we're going to have to protect. I thought we protected very well last year against them. We had D.J. open a couple of times. Hopefully we can get our guys open. I do believe Joe can make that throw. It's all going to start with protection.
Q. You talked a lot about trusting your coordinators. The ability that Steve and Joe have had to work together, are you more comfortable going into this game than maybe the past?
ED ORGERON: No question. I believe the first year when we were interim coaches, we didn't play well on offense. We tried to do some different things that were kind of out of whack a little bit that wasn't us. We have to be us.
I think the team that you seen the last couple teams is us. Obviously we're going to have to do a couple of different things because they're very good on defense and they know exactly what we're doing. There's going to be a couple of changes this week that we're going to have to give them to keep them off guard.
Q. This game has a history of going down to the wire. Last time y'all won was with field goals. How much of a mental edge is it to know Cole has some experience with that, maybe Alabama doesn't as much?
ED ORGERON: Cole has brought a tremendous amount of confidence in our football team. Like I said, any time we get to the 33, I feel like we got three points. We're going to have to get to the 33, for sure. There's going to be some times when we're going to have to go for it. It all depends on the course of the football game.
But we feel that we can get down to the end with anybody, we can beat them with Cole.
Q. What can you do to improve your red zone scoring opportunities? Is it concept, play design, personnel?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think first of all it's concept. We got bogged down there. We have to look at what we're doing, which we have this week. We have to get guys open. We have to protect better. I think all those things need to become better.
We can't rely on just three points. I think the offense has used that as a crutch a little bit, that we're going to get three points. That's been our goal, to get touchdowns in the red zone. Obviously there's going to be tough sledding this week. The thing I want to make sure we do when we get down to the red zone is take care of the football. I didn't like the turnover last week.
Q. LSU fans have been waiting for a quarterback to win this game. What do you like about Joe, his demeanor?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, Joe is not going to panic. He's going to be confident. He's going to want to play his best game. He's got that linebacker mentality. He's tough. This is a big man's game, this is a tough game. You're going to get hit. There's going to be some punches thrown. You can't back down. There's going to be some rough sledding.
They're going to make some plays, blitz your protection, do some things that it's going to be tough. But I think Joe is seasoned enough that he can go through that, not panic, put us in the right situation.
I think is a game that he's going to have to make some calls at the line of scrimmage to put us in the right play, the right situation, get us out of bad situations.
I do know this: I believe in Joe. The team believes in him. Feel good about him.
Q. Most weeks you got a week to prepare for a team. This week you got two weeks. How much more dangerous and effective is Dave Aranda when he has the extra week to game plan?
ED ORGERON: Dave has been spot on. I thought his first year against Lane, he was excellent. I thought he stayed ahead of the coordinator, 0-0 going into the fourth quarter, Jalen Hurts made an excellent play.
Last year we struggled a little bit. We went in there last year, one of our best running teams I've ever seen. We busted our tails to stop the run. We did a pretty good job. They beat us in the passing game. We weren't very happy with that part.
Now, we're going to have to play a complete game on defense to stop their run game and their passing game. No one has done it yet. If there's anybody can do it, it's our defensive staff. I do believe in them.
Q. Based on the change they made in the national championship game last year, would you expect in this game, this magnitude, they would make a change to give you something different to look at?
ED ORGERON: With the week off, there are going to be some different things. You know what I'm saying?
You ask me if they're going to change quarterback?
ED ORGERON: We'll be prepared for them. We always have a different plan for a different quarterback. We'll be prepared. But the way that guy is playing, it's hard to take him out.
Q. Freshmen in the SEC. To what extent is this game an example of how difficult it is for true freshmen to be ready to play in this conference? On the flipside, do you see the possibility that some true freshmen could have a big impact in this game?
ED ORGERON: Yeah. There's going to be true freshmen playing obviously on both sides. Obviously those true freshmen are tremendous football players. This is, what, the eighth or ninth game of the season. These guys wouldn't have gotten that far if they wouldn't be producing. So obviously the coaches believe in them in both sides, and they should be ready to go.
Q. With three top 10 wins already in the season, with this game coming up, the context of what that game would mean for this program?
ED ORGERON: All that stuff is on the perimeter. All that stuff is out there, noise and stuff. Start thinking about that too much, you get punched in the mouth.
This is a game where you got to focus in on the fundamentals. You got to be mentally tough. You can't worry about what if this happens, what if that happens, where this brings us. All that stuff goes out after the kickoff. It's about beating your man, executing.
One thing that Alabama does well, they're not fancy.
To be honest with you, they run basic plays that are run very well with great execution.
Q. How much have you seen of their receivers? Jerry Jeudy specifically seems to have exploded.
ED ORGERON: Phenomenal player. Double moves. They move him around. Knows where Tua is at all the time. The RPOs, if you run off of them, he'll throw a slant 30 yards. You press him, get double moves. Corner routes. The guy is a phenomenal football player. Probably one of the best receivers we're going to see all year.
Q. What was your reception like at the high school game Friday night? Were some Alabama fans surprised to see you? How was Tua talking to you?
ED ORGERON: It was great. Obviously I couldn't (indiscernible) because he's family. Just introduced myself and told him, Hey, you're one of the best players in the country, see you later. That was it.
It's not a contact period, so you can only have a bump, so I didn't speak to him long. He was very respectful, obviously.
I thought it was a great game, it was a great atmosphere, great players. I enjoyed being there.
Q. What about the fans?
ED ORGERON: They were great. Nothing. A couple, Go, Tigers. It was all good.
Q. A guy like Devin White who has done everything you asked him to do, are you concerned somebody could look on the outside and try to label him a dirty player?
ED ORGERON: No, no way. No way. No way. Devin is one of the best young men I know. After you look at that hit, it wasn't dirty. It was not. I don't worry about it at all.
Q. How has the team responded?
ED ORGERON: Great. Everybody has got to pick it up, starting with me. Everybody knows that. This team plays well when they are mad. I coach better when I'm mad. I like it. That's good. We need to be that way.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of the defensive line winning their one-on-one battles to give your secondary the opportunity to make plays.
ED ORGERON: It's a big man's game. This game is always won in the trenches. We have to do a great job in our techniques. This is going to be a technical game, stay in your gap, own your double-team, put pressure on the quarterback. Also keeping him in the pocket, not letting him run outside or inside.
This is going to be a tremendous challenge for our defensive line. They have an excellent offensive line. They're very well-coached. Not many defensive lines have shut them down yet.