BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and his Tigers have started preps to defend their national championship.
For the first time since April, Orgeron met with Louisiana journalists and, of course, it was done virtually. Orgeron answered questions for roughly 20 minutes, as the Tigers moved into their second official day of fall practice.
Coach O said he is excited about his talented team and he’s convinced they are going to play in the fall.
“There were some Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights I sat on my porch out there until about midnight because I didn’t want to go home,” said Orgeron. “I have to admit, like everyone else, I never thought I’d see the world shut down. Everyone wearing masks, no traffic on the road in Los Angeles or New York or Baton Rouge. We’ve got our traffic, too. And not being able to go to a restaurant and order some good food. So, I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. But it did happen but I knew we’d bounce back. I always thought we’d bounce back for sure.”
Even with the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, Orgeron said the Tigers should be strong passing the ball again this year. He said redshirt junior quarterback Myles Brennan had a great summer and has been showing great leadership. The Tigers return Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’marr Chase and Terrace Marshall at wide receiver. They have also added 2020 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year Arik Gilbert at tight end.
However, Orgeron said he believes the rushing attack should be stronger than the passing game. He explained returning running backs John Emery Jr., Chris Curry, and Tyrion Davis-Price look fantastic. He added new running backs coach Kevin Faulk has done a great job coaching them. He also spoke about freshman rusher Tre Bradford. Orgeron said he likes his toughness and speed. He added all four backs are going to play.
He was asked about the fierce competition already taking place in camp, namely the battles between Chase and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Orgeron said it’s everything they sell in recruiting - the motto, “iron sharpens iron.” He added that’s how players get prepared to play games.
Orgeron said the Tigers have had “very few” players test positive for COVID-19. He said players wear masks in meetings and on the field for walkthroughs. They have been practicing social distancing. He said they’ve gotten used to it now and don’t think about it anymore. He emphasized they want to play football, so they’re following the rules. He added it’s a “next man up” mentality when it comes to players opting out or contracting COVID-19.
Orgeron said right tackle Austin Deculus will be out for a little bit. He also announced junior defensive end Justin Thomas has left the team.
“Justin Thomas is no longer with us; he’s left the team. It’s unfortunate,” Orgeron said.
Thomas withdrew from school for personal reasons, Orgeron announced in October. Thomas returned to the team in February but left again before the start of fall camp Monday.
In 2019, he played in five games. He had eight tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack.
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