BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU was back on the field Wednesday for their first game week practice as preparations continue for the College Football Playoff National Championship against Clemson.
Head coach Ed Orgeron fielded questions from the media after practice Wednesday. He said wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is farther ahead in recovery than offensive guard Damien Lewis but he expects both of them to play in the national championship game. He said the way head trainer Jack Marucci and his staff are the best in college football and have done a phenomenal job getting players back from injury.
Orgeron said the team is preparing for a tight game against Clemson because he thinks it will be a tight game. He added the players in the secondary will have to play well against Clemson’s big receivers and he thinks both sides will make plays. LSU has to win the turnover battle, according to Coach O. He added LSU will have to play its best game.
“Our guys have gone through the game plan once; they’re going to go through it again," said Orgeron. "They stayed in town. They were rested. They got Sunday afternoon off, Monday, and Tuesday. And today, they were phenomenal. The energy was at a high level. We practiced about as good as we’ve ever practiced on a Monday. Our guys are ready to go. You would think coaches are tired this time of year, players are tired. This was our most energetic Monday practice we’ve ever had. These guys are phenomenal. They’re on a mission. This coaching staff’s on a mission.”
Former Dutchtown Griffin Lloyd Cushenberry and the much-improved LSU offensive line hopes to lead the way one last time for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow and the Tigers’ attack. Junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire continues to work his way back to full speed as well.
LSU has had the kind of razor focus you typically don’t expect from young men who are 18 to 22 years old but the Tigers have been incredibly locked-in all season. Because the game is on a Monday, Orgeron treated Wednesday, Jan. 8 like a Monday. Orgeron even called the practice “Tell the Truth Monday,” even though it’s Wednesday.
“I talked to the coaches today. It’s about fundamentals. It’s about technique. Not to make it too big. ‘Whoa! It’s the national championship!’ No, the focus is on today and the focus is on Monday. It’s going to be beat Clemson and then, let’s see what happens after we beat Clemson," Orgeron explained.
LSU (14-0) will face Clemson (14-0) on Monday, Jan. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN.
LSU is pursuing its fourth national title. The Tigers won national titles in 1958, 2003, and 2007. LSU is 14-0 for the first time in school history and will look to become just the second team in FBS history to go 15-0 in a season. Six of those 14 wins have come against teams ranked in the top 10. Clemson will be the seventh top 10 LSU will face this year, which marks the most of any team in college football history.
“We don’t blink. Any place, any time, anybody,” Orgeron added.
This will be just the fourth meeting between the two Tigers. LSU currently has a 2-1 advantage in the series. Every meeting between the two squads has come in postseason play. The teams last played in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl. Clemson came away with the 25-24 victory. Other meetings were in the 1959 Sugar Bowl (LSU won 7-0) and the 1996 Peach Bowl (LSU won 10-7).
National Coach of the Year Ed Orgeron brings a 39-9 mark in 48 games as the Tiger coach into the contest. Of his 39 wins with the Tigers, 30 have come by double-figures, 11 have come against top 10 teams, and 17 have come against teams ranked in the Top 25. Coach O’s 39 wins through 48 games ranks as the second-most for any coach in LSU history over that span. Only Les Miles (40 wins in 48 games) won more games than Orgeron during the first 47 games of his LSU coaching career.
Orgeron’s 11 top 10 wins ranks second among all LSU head coaches, trailing only Les Miles (16 in 12 years). Orgeron is 11-3 against top 10 teams at LSU.
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