LSU head coach Ed Orgeron led off the first Southeastern Conference football coaches weekly media teleconference of the 2021 season on Wednesday.
Here’s what Orgeron said:
Our thoughts and our prayers are going out to our fans in the great state of Louisiana. It hit our (Orgeron’s) hometown in Larose pretty hard. South Louisiana was hit pretty hard. But everybody is safe and that’s what’s important.
We came here to Houston. Houston has been very, very nice to us. The Houston Texans have given us Reliant Stadium. We’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency, everybody there is great. Our families are safe, so thank God for all that.
We’re prepared for a good UCLA football team. Chip Kelly has his team ready to play against Hawaii. Very impressive.
On if travel to Houston has affected practice plans
The players and the coaches have handled it great. It was a long trip coming over here, but we got to rest on Sunday. Our team has been focused, everybody is early to meetings. We’re kinda in our well-protected cocoon here.
On UCLA’s defense in its season opening win over Hawaii
I thought they were better than last year. They were attacking and making plays all over the field. Their cornerbacks tackled well in open space. So, it’s going to be a challenge, but we have speed, too.
On what he said to his team about playing in Rose Bowl Stadium
It’s an honor to play there. I’m so excited to bring our team there. I usually don’t take them to the stadium the day before (a game), but I will just like three years ago when we played Miami and we went to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. I think it’s something they want to see. I let them take pictures, let them be part of it, let them get that out the way. We’ll have a little practice on the field, let them feel the turf.
But then the next day, man, it’s the same football field. We’re going to focus on playing well, focus on the LSU Tigers and not let any surroundings be intimidating or distract us from what we want to get done.
On starting QB Max Johnson’s growth from last season to this season
It’s understanding our offense. (New offensive coordinator) Jake (Peetz) has done a great job of teaching Max how to stay in the pocket, learning his reads. I just hope he finds Kayshon Boutte. He’ll be fine if he does that.
On getting players back from the injury list
It’s game week. There’s a little pep in their step. We had our best practice of the whole camp yesterday (Tuesday) at Reliant Stadium. We played music. Guys are fired up.
Derek Stingley was out there, Eli Ricks was out there, the O-line was out there, Ty Davis-Price was out there, John Emery was out there. Most of our team, not all, are back. Two or three guys are probably not going to be ready to play.
On whether all the preseason offensive injuries have created continuity problems
Ty Davis-Price looks like he’s fine, the offensive line is going to take time to jell a little bit because we haven’t had our starting offensive line the whole camp. That’s the area where it’s going to have to jell but it’s going to have to jell fast because UCLA looked pretty good on the defensive front.
On if all of LSU’s players have been able to contact their families after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana
Tam Davis and Eddie “Boo” Kennison do a great job of taking care of our players. They’ve been on the phone with mommas and daddies and families. Our administration has been trying to help any families needing help. Our players are feeling everybody is okay. Some of the houses are really damaged, some (families) need to be displaced into hotels. For the most part, everybody is fine.
On when the decision was made to move the team to Houston
Friday morning when we knew the hurricane was coming and it came up fast. We met with the administration. Everybody was on the same page. Thoughts were if we stay in Baton Rouge, are our players going to be in harm’s way? I didn’t want that. If we did stay, we’d be taking a chance if we could practice or couldn’t practice. We definitely needed the opportunity to get our players safe and the opportunity to practice.
We thought about Dallas first. Living in Louisiana, they can say the hurricane is coming and it can turn in an instant. . .but we decided to come east.
On the playing status of freshman wide receiver Malik Nabers
Malik will not be able to play. I don’t know if he will be able to play until a couple of games into the season. He’s definitely going to be out for UCLA.