Orgeron: Offensive line issues are ‘things we can fix’
At 12:30 p.m. CT, coach Ed Orgeron takes the podium for the weekly press conference, this week previewing Saturday's top-15 matchup against Georgia. Prior to coach, Chris Blair and Jacob Hester break down the matchup.
Posted by LSU Football on Monday, October 8, 2018
Before LSU coach Ed Orgeron, his staff and team move on to the task of preparing for Saturday’s showdown with No. 2 Georgia at Tiger Stadium, they must correct mistakes from the 27-19 loss to Florida, and that starts up front on both sides of the ball.
At his Monday news conference, Orgeron said the five sacks allowed by the Tigers’ offensive line were “technical errors, things we can fix.” On defense, Orgeron said, “We didn’t have the sacks that we wanted (on defense), but we had pressures.”
It will take adjustments from existing personnel. Garrett Brumfield is out again for Saturday’s game. “Hopefully we can get him back next week,” Orgeron said, adding that he expects the same unit to start up front against the Bulldogs.
“We want continuity,” Orgeron said. “Adrian (Magee) made some mistakes at left guard. We thought about switching him back to tackle, but we’re going to leave him (at guard).”
In addition to committing three turnovers against Florida and finishing minus-2 in turnover margin, LSU had 11 plays for negative yardage.
“It takes 11 to protect the ball,” Orgeron said. “The sack-fumble (on the second offensive possession) got their crowd back in the game. That’s something we have to avoid with the protection. The (first) interception, (Burrow) threw it too late.
“We have to eliminate the negative plays, sustain drives and not have penalties stop drives.
“We let our hands down. We should have won that football game. We can’t hang on to this for a long time. Now it’s time to focus in on Georgia.”
Orgeron was pleased with the debut of junior college transfer defensive end Travez Moore, who saw his most extensive action on Saturday.
“He rushed the passer better than anybody,” Orgeron said. “You’re going to see more of him.”
Orgeron said he expects a great atmosphere for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
“I know it’s going to be a great crowd,” he said. “This is a very good (Georgia) team, very talented. They score 42 points a game. This is the best offensive line we have seen so far. This is going to be another tremendous challenge for us.
“Georgia’s gonna line up and try to … run right at you. They’re very much a pro-style running team, and they’re very good at it.”
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron Press Conference Transcript – Georgia week
ED ORGERON: Obviously a tough loss for our team. I thought we fought hard the whole game. There was no time we thought we couldn’t win the game. We fought all the way to the very end to win the game. Obviously we made a lot of mistakes. We’re going to point those mistakes out today. We felt that we beat ourselves in a lot of areas. But there were some positives, I want to go over them. First of all the fast start. I thought it was a great opening drive, great game plan. 208 yards rushing against a very tough defense. 3-3 in the red zone scoring. Defense, we started fast again. We won third down. That pick by Delpit could have been a game changing play. Special teams, eight punts, four punts inside the 20 yard line. They had a great return team, we allowed three returns for a minus two total yards and again our kickoffs have been outstanding. Couple of guys that are playing outstanding and had a great, a good game on special teams, Todd Harris, Racey McMath, Leonard Fournette and Zach Von Rosenburg punting the ball. Usually don’t single out guys but I thought those guys gave us some extra effort. The negatives obviously the loss, for sure. Not closing it out like we could. Minus two in the turnover ratio, very, very disappointing there. Three turnovers on offense, too many negative plays. Our third down conversions on offense were not good enough. On defense we gave up 215 yards rushing. Caused more turnovers, sacks and negative plays, not enough. On special teams we shouldn’t have backed up there to catch the punt inside the eight. Our rule is to stand on the eight and catch everything in front of you. We didn’t adjust. The punter started kicking the ball a lot further than we thought he would. From about 60 yards we should have adjusted the depth of the punt return guy. On to Georgia, I know it’s going to be a great crowd, I’m excited, 2:30 p.m. I know our guys, our crowd is going to be there to show everybody that Tiger Stadium is the best place in the country to play and we’re excited about the Georgia Bulldogs coming to town. Before I mention their offense I want to say this, this is a very good team as we know, very talented, very well coached by Kirby Smart and they have done a tremendous job at Georgia. On offense they’re scoring 42 points a game. I know Jim Chaney, the offensive coordinator, I worked with him at Tennessee. A lot of the things that we did at Tennessee he’s doing there, very familiar with his offense. This is the best offensive line that we have seen so far. That 53 center, Lamont Gaillard is the best center that I’ve seen in a while. I think he’s an outstanding player. He’s a dominant blocker. We got our hands full. Obviously their quarterback, Jake Fromm is excellent. They have a slew of running backs, they just keep on bringing them in, bringing them in, bringing them in. They look different, but they’re all great players. They have great skill players, averaging 42 points a game. This is going to be another tremendous challenge for us. Great defense, three-four defense, Kirby is a defensive guy. 13 point per game. Only giving up 283 yards total yards. This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us. They have great talent on special teams, very well coached. All right. Any questions?
Q. Seemed like they were able to give you guys some trouble up front. I think Burrow was sacked five times. What did you see from the offensive line and is there any chance Garrett could practice or play this week?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, Garrett will not play this week. One was slide protection. Our left guard stepped down just for a second and then stepped back out. Their speed got us. Number 11 was a delayed blitz. Again, it was gap protection, keep him in his gap. The guy delayed blitzed, we missed it and then we got beat around the edge a couple times. So it was some technical errors, things that we can fix.
Q. How close was Jacob Phillips to being able to play this week and what’s the status this week?
ED ORGERON: We think he’s going to practice today, be able to play. He wasn’t able to play and I talked to him before the game, he tried but he wasn’t able to play.
Q. You mentioned that last week that they were going to spread you guys out and run the ball. Does Georgia seem like they do the same thing or how do you feel like —
ED ORGERON: Everybody — Georgia is not as much a quarterback run except when they put that No. 1 in. They’re more traditional run with a great offensive line and some great backs, a zone team. They’re going to line up and try to maul you and run right at you. And then they have speed sweeps, they can get around the edge to bunch toss. They’re very much a pro style running team. They’re very good at it.
Q. Seemed like there were a lot of combinations you guys threw out to try and start a pass rush. How much does that change this week again?
ED ORGERON: We’re going to continue to try to do that. Now we didn’t have the sacks that we wanted but we went back and we had some pressures and we had some guys that had some good rushes, but it wasn’t good enough.
Q. You obviously spent a lot of time in college football, you spent some time in pro football, what makes college football unique in terms of the unpredictability week-to-week because of the emotion of the players being 18 to 22?
ED ORGERON: Every week home field advantage. I thought their crowd was electric. Those guys came to play. They obviously they played their best game, we didn’t. Everybody’s going to gun for LSU, we’re a top tier school, we know that, we got to get used to that. And then you have great athletes at every school, especially in the SEC. You can go to a school, there’s first round picks all over the place. Makes it fun, you’re coaching 18 to 22 year old young men, sometimes they’re going to be up, sometimes they’re not, sometimes they’re going to make mistakes. So I love college football.
Q. Second quarter on the field goal drive on third down play on the TV it looked like Clyde had gotten the first down. Could you walk us through what your process is for if you’re going to consider a challenge and maybe what happened there?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, here’s the process. They’re going to tell me from upstairs whether we challenge it or not. No one from upstairs told me anything. We were making decisions on the sideline whether we were going to go for it or kick it. And I decided to get the points. I didn’t want to be down in the red zone twice after the turnover and not get any points. So I thought it was 7-7, we’ll get some points, we’re going to be in good shape. Right after we kicked it, they said, hey guys, we should have challenged it, but the replay came in too late for us to make any decision on that. Now, watching it on the TV copy this morning, I wish I would have challenged it. I don’t know what the outcome would have been, but I saw what everybody saw on TV. But by the time it got to me it was too late.
Q. Is the replay that the guys in the booth used, is it the TV view too?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I think that it’s the same thing. The TV saw it — what I saw on the TV, it looked like he was over but you couldn’t completely tell where the ball was. That’s what I saw this morning.
Q. More of an SEC question. What to you is the significance of the fact that the SEC now has eight ranked teams but also that six of those teams are between 13 and 24 while two are at the top, what do you think that says about the conference?
ED ORGERON: Great coaches, great recruiting area, cutting edge football on both sides. Very competitive. It’s a player-driven league. This is where most of the players from the NFL come from here. They have great coaches in this league and this is a very, very many competitive league. This is where everybody wants to be.
Q. Couple things. You guys expended so much energy in the heat on Saturday. How much of that is a concern for this week and two, do you think there was some instances where Joe held the ball too long and needed to get rid of it?
ED ORGERON: No question. I know Steve thought like he got rattled a little bit, but I was joking with Steve, I said, I think I would have been rattled too. Sometimes he was running for his life back there. But, yes, he should have got rid of the ball a little faster. Especially the time that he got sacked we had a chip, he stepped up in the B gap and held onto the ball too long. But some other times he didn’t see it, it came from his blind side. There is a concern, but you know what? We rotated a lot of guys, we have a lot of — some guys that were hurt didn’t play so we should be okay for this week.
Q. You said they were mostly technical issues that you might be able to correct through practice. When you’re making your decisions, when James is making his decisions on who his best five to put out there are, what does he weigh, is it just practice, is it health and what can you do moving forward this week to fix those things?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we had that talk last night and we want continuity. Obviously Adrian made some mistakes at left guard but he had two days of practice at it. And that’s kind of tough. We’re going to leave him there, we thought about switching him back to tackle, we didn’t think that would be fair to him or the offensive line to be able to block another great front, another different position, so we wanted to keep it the same this week. Hopefully we can get Garrett Brumfield back next week the. That would give us some flexibility with Adrian Magee but right now we can’t do anything.
Q. Saahdiq didn’t seem like Saahdiq.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he struggled a little bit. He knows that. We’re going to you can at that about that. Again, you don’t practice, he had a pretty tough injury to get back from. Not making excuses for him but he was a little rusty.
Q. Another one on the O line. There was a lot of talk about the one-on-ones being lost and it looked like y’all tried to use some more screens, tried to hold some guys in protection. When you are trying to make those adjustments and maybe those still aren’t working, what else is there left to do to try to get it fixed?
ED ORGERON: Just the technique. What we’re doing is we’re opening our shoulders and creating a short corner. And we got to kick slide to the inside, cross at a 45 degree angle, like you know, and we’re not doing that. And we’re not doing that well enough. If we have a gap protection, I’m supposed to slide to my right, I got a three technique and he spikes in the A gap I can’t step, just that one step will open up a shoulder like that. So it’s all technical stuff. On when number 11 came in we had a gap protection, we slide him to our left, and the left guard went to help the center and the guy came in the B gap. Just some technical errors. But the speed in which Florida hit us hurt us. We got to match that speed during practice.
Q. You had been so good at protecting the ball for nine, 10 games. The last two games how frustrating is it and I know Florida was good at doing it, but what can you do now?
ED ORGERON: Very frustrated. It takes you 11 to protect the ball. And it starts with pass protection. That first sack fumble was devastating to our team. We go up 14-0, that sack fumble got their crowd back into the game. But it’s coming from Joe’s blind side. He never saw it. So that’s something that we have to avoid by the protection. Then the interception, he threw it too late. Maybe he shouldn’t have thrown it, he was trying to force it in there.
Q. They rotate in a lot of backs, a lot of receivers, they even play two quarterbacks sometimes. What are the challenges in facing a team that has such, so many different personnel they like to rotate in and out?
ED ORGERON: We have to keep our guys fresh. But we have to make sure that the guys that we rotate can handle the player that they’re playing against. So I think that it’s a fine line there. We just can’t rotate to rotate. We have to look at the matchup, see if we put some guys in. We feel that we have three corners that can go in at any time. That’s going to be important to us. We have some defensive linemen that have done a good job, not a great job but they can go in. We are thin at linebacker we’re thin at outside linebacker. So it all depends on what position you’re talking about. We’re going to have to mix and match the things that we do on defense to match their personnel the whole game. It’s going to be another chess match.
Q. You have seen some pretty good you running backs here this season. What makes D’Andre Swift so special?
ED ORGERON: Able to change direction — he reminds me of Guice in a lot of ways. He’s five-nine, 215, he runs inside, they run what we call the down play, he runs on the inside leg of the center behind a good offensive line. He’s going. He can change direction east and west just like that and he can run you right over. And can catch the ball. And plus he has a lot of backup. He can stay fresh. Those guys come in, you just can’t tell the difference. It looks like they have about five or six backs that can play in the NFL. Very, very impressive.
Q. You mentioned we would see Travez more on Saturday. Just after seeing him Saturday and through the tape how did you feel like he played.
ED ORGERON: I thought he played very well. In fact he rushed the passer better than anybody. You’re going to see more of him. I thought he did very well.
Q. You mentioned the offensive line for Georgia. I think they had a couple injuries maybe at the guard position. How much does that change things and how you might see them?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, we’re going to see. We’ll look at them. They all look the same to me, big and strong. They all look good.
Q. You fielded a punt at your own five yard line and seemed to kind of lead to a chain reaction of problems there. How do you —
ED ORGERON: Say that again now.
Q. You fielded a punt at your own five yard line and that just seemed to your offense was backed up and they only had to go 43 yard for their first score how do you address that?
ED ORGERON: We don’t want to do that. We stand on the eight — he stood at the 10 and he backed up. We stand on the eight and we don’t back up. And we catch everything in front of us. So we’re going to get that across again this week.
Q. Georgia leads the SEC in their total defense and they rank second in the nation in their scoring defense. What is it that you want to see more of from your team in order to prepare for this?
ED ORGERON: We have to quit shooting ourselves in the foot. We get a big first down, we got a holding penalty. Turnovers. We go down the field and we get some sacks. Any time you get one or two sacks it’s hard to score. They get a negative plays. We had 11 tackles for loss against us. So now we have to eliminate the negative plays, protect the quarterback better, sustain drives, and not have penalties that end the drive.
Q. I know it’s early in his career but is there a signature look to a Kirby Smart defense or team that you can say, yeah, they always do this well?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, he plays base defense a lot. He doesn’t have to blitz. They don’t have a lot of sacks. They do affect the quarterback. They stop the run. They’re big. He’s a three-four team. They tackle well, they have big impressive personnel and their corners lock up. They can play eight men in the box and they can play man coverage with anybody they want to.
Q. After losing the first game, as a psychologist, what’s your message to the team going forward starting this week?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, we have to digest this one. This one hurt. We’re not going overlook what happened. But we’re going to forget about it after today. Although it’s going to be hard. We’re going to address it with the team, we have several things we’re going to talk to the team about, show them some different situations where we didn’t play as good as we could have, show them the technical errors that we made. It’s execution and all it was was execution. And then move forward from that. But I do believe that our team the leadership is going to come through, I’ve got calls from several guys already, coach, what you want our message to be to the team. And I told them. But we’re going to go through the process. 24-hour rule. Today we’re going to look at it and then we’re going to press on to Georgia.
Q. What was kind of I guess the process for what went into Jonathan Giles changing his number last week?
ED ORGERON: I went to him, asked him if it was too much pressure. He said no. I said, well how about you change it up. What’s your favorite number? I said I got these numbers available. He said, coach, I’ll wear 12. I was thinking it took the pressure off him.
Q. You recruit Georgia, they recruit this state, from a perception standpoint and a recruiting standpoint how important is this game, one, and when you look at the fact that the recruiting between the upper echelon schools is so intense, does that add an extra importance to a game like this?
ED ORGERON: Sure, no question. There will be some of our top recruits going to be here. They’re going to be watching. They’re going to be looking at Georgia, they’re going to be looking at us of the style of play, what type of university it is, I think this is a very important game for that matter. We have done very well in the state of Georgia. Guys like Arden Key, a lot of guys in the NFL, we want to continue to do that. And we want to keep them out of our back yard, there’s no question about that, and it’s a continual fight.
Q. Devin White wasn’t in on their first touchdown, was that just a sub injury thing?
ED ORGERON: No, I think that was a more of a rotation with Dave. It was just a rotation. Keep him fresh. I ask the coaches to rotate our guys early so we can win the game in the fourth quarter and obviously I think it was just a rotation deal.
Q. Is there any, have you any conversation between you and Dave about getting some safety help down in the box because you’re light a linebacker, have some guys fill there?
ED ORGERON: Dave knows all that. That would be, that would be moot for me to say.
Q. You’ve not loss back-to-back games since you’ve been the coach. Is there anything a week after a loss that you change or do differently that’s helped you in your team’s rebound?
ED ORGERON: I try to be the same every week. But I think this week that there’ll probably feel me a little bit more. The attention to the details I hope would be the same this week. But I think we got their attention. We let our hands down. We should have won that football game. We had a chance to win that game and they’re going to see it today. They know it. I think the team is hungry. This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but we can’t hang on to this for a long time. Georgia’s got our attention, has everybody’s attention all year, now it’s time to focus in on them and it will be a tremendous challenge for us. I’m glad we have them at home.
Q. Now over six games in, you have a decent sample size, how would you review what you’ve seen from Joe over six games?
ED ORGERON: A leader. Very tough. He’s black and blue today. Doesn’t complain a bit. Smart. Makes great decisions. But he’s not Superman. Nobody is. Can run the football, can throw the football. I think he’s playing good for us. There’s a lot of things that he can get better at, but we need to help him out too.
Q. With the pass rush you had said at the beginning of the year that you wanted to be more aggressive, more tackles for loss, sacks. And in games like Saturday and others before when teams are starting to kind of exploit some of those weaknesses, do you feel like there’s, it becomes where you’re more in a position where you have to be reactionary instead of aggressive and that? Is there a point where you feel like that it becomes different than what you want it to be?
ED ORGERON: We’re a lot more multiple on defense than we have been here. Basically we play two defenses for three years or two years with Dave and now we blitzing and we’re slanting more and we’re doing a lot more things. I think it comes down to making — we had several times chances to make some sacks and we missed them. We missed some tackles for loss in the back field. I think it’s a combination of both. We tried to create negative, more negative plays by blitzing and slanting, we’re just not getting it done right now.
Q. Disappointing as last weekend was can you speak to if you can find a way to win this game you’re really back in the hunt for everything. Control your own destiny.
ED ORGERON: We look at it one game at a time. We don’t talk like that. Don’t speak like that at all. This is a very hectic schedule as we all know and it passes by so fast. If you look back in August it’s like the blink of an eye that we’re already on our seventh game and we’re playing Georgia. And we’re 5-1. We’re proud of that. We made a lot of strides as a football team, we still got a long ways to go and we got some tough opponents coming in, is so we just take it one game at an immaterial too try to get better every week, see what happens.
Q. Not a lot of retired names in LSU football history, Coach Stovall gets that this week. Can you talk about your relationship with him?
ED ORGERON: Been fantastic. He was here when I got recruited here and obviously he’s a household name. Only other Louisiana coach to be the head coach at LSU. He has embraced me since I’ve been here, become a friend. He’s been to practice two or three times. He comes to the booster luncheons. I speak to him all the time. He’s always welcome. I think it was the first time he had come back to LSU since he was let go. I think that was last year Coach Pete Jenkins got it done for us. He led the team in prayer and it meant a lot to him. He’s been to practice several times. A great player, a great coach, a great Louisiana man, can’t say enough good things about him.
Q. Could you elaborate on Jake Fromm and just Georgia’s ability to seemingly reload at the quarterback position with a playmaker.
ED ORGERON: Smart, can throw the deep ball, play action pass, he’s protected well, he is surrounded by great athletes, he can move in the pocket, bootlegs, nakeds, waggles, all that stuff. Can run if he has to. And then if they want to go dual threat quarterback they will bring in Justin Fields, so they have got it all.
Q. You alluded to Georgia’s pass rush numbers being low. Surprised their last in the SEC in sacks. What gives? They got a lot of talent, obviously, why are those numbers so low?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think that it’s more of the way they’re affecting the quarterback. I know they lost a couple of guys to first round draft choices, they don’t have that speed off the edge. But they’re still dangerous, they’re physical, they’re one of the best defenses in the country. I think their philosophy is more or less affecting the quarterback, pass rush lanes, make you get rid of the ball quick.
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