Orgeron issues statement about USA TODAY allegations, provides update on COVID-19, and more

LSU was in full pads for indoor and outdoor practice on Tuesday, September 1.
LSU was in full pads for indoor and outdoor practice on Tuesday, September 1.(Chris Parent | Chris Parent)
Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 5:43 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU head football coach held his weekly Zoom meeting with sports journalists Monday, Nov. 16, to preview the upcoming match-up at Arkansas on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Head Coach Ed Orgeron started by reading a statement to address the allegations made in an article by USA TODAY.

“Before we start, I’d like to address the USA TODAY article that came out," said Orgeron. "First, I want to say that we need to support and protect victims of violence, sexual abuse of any kind. There’s no place in our society nor on this campus or on our football program for any behavior of this type. When accusations are made, we have a legal and moral obligation to report every allegation to the university’s Title IX office so due process can be implemented. I have in the past, and will continue to take appropriate action and comply with reporting protocols. I have confidence that the university is working to address our policies and processes when allegations arise. That is all I’m going to say at this time.”

RELATED: New report claims LSU mishandled sexual misconduct complaints against several students and top athletes

Orgeron said he expects to have most of his players back from quarantine by Tuesday. He added TJ Finley will probably start for LSU (2-3) against Arkansas (3-4) but he does expect Max Johnson to play in the game.

“We feel we should get most of our quarantine guys back either today or tomorrow. So we feel like the room’s going to be full today for the first time. We’re actually going to have two quarterbacks practice,” Orgeron explained.

“TJ has taken the first team reps. Max hasn’t practiced for a week now. We’re going to let him get back. We’ll see who is the best guy available. Right now it’s probably going to be TJ unless Max can have a great week. We’ll probably play both of them in the game,” Orgeron added.

He had lots of good things to say about Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman and his Razorbacks.

“Obviously, I think that Coach Sam Pittman has done a tremendous job with this football team. His coaching staff ought to be commended. They’re completely different football team. They’re a darned good football team. They play with great fundamentals. They play with energy and this is going to be a big challenge for us to go on the road and beat Arkansas at home,” said Orgeron.

He also talked about transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks, saying he has been doing more RPOs than he did at Florida and has shown great leadership.

“Feleipe Franks is doing a little more RPOs than he did at Florida. His leadership skills are showing on the field. He loves to run the offense. It looks like the guys are playing. He’s using his skill. Treylon Burks, a guy from Warren, Arkansas, who I tried to recruit very hard, we were right in the thick of it, outstanding player. They’ve got a great running back, another great receiver. The offensive line is playing well because the head coach is an offensive line coach. So I think they’ve done a tremendous job,” Orgeron added.

He also reemphasized that LSU wants to play Alabama at some point and he believes the game will happen this season.

“We look forward to rescheduling Alabama. Whenever they tell us to play, we want to play. We wanted to play last week. We weren’t able to play because of the safety of our players. We have to put the safety of our players first. People will say things here and there that’s not true. We look forward to playing Alabama. I love the rivalry. I grew up watching that rivalry. They’re a great football team, great challenge. Whenever they tell us to play we’ll be ready to go,” Orgeron explained.

Are you confident that that’s going to happen, Coach?

“I don’t know that. I’m hoping it does. I’m hearing rescheduling may be made. But nobody’s told us for sure. This is very fluid. But I do believe that Alabama and LSU ought to play this year, and I do believe we’re going to play somehow, some way,” he answered.

Arkansas is coming off a 63-35 loss at Florida.

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 11 a.m. The game will be shown on the SEC Network.

The game is the annual Battle for the Golden Boot, a trophy game established before the teams faced off in 1996. The trophy is 24-karat gold and is molded in the shape of the states of Louisiana and Arkansas. It will be on the LSU sideline during the game because the Tigers claimed a 56-20 win in last year’s contest. The Tigers have won the last four meetings against the Razorbacks.

LSU is 41-22-2 all-time against Arkansas, which includes an 18-10 mark in games played since the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992.

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