Joe Burrow says predraft process has been far from normal

LSU QB Joe Burrow's 515 yards total offense and 8 TDs (7 passing, 1 rushing) in the Tigers' 63-28 CFP semifinal blowout of Oklahoma is the Tiger Rag High 5 committee pick for best individual performance in LSU history.

Former LSU Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, projected as the No. 1 pick in next Thursday’s NFL draft, said this morning his predraft process has been “super weird” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a guest on the Baton Rouge ESPN 104.5 FM morning show “Off the Bench” with Jordy Culotta and T-Bob Hebert, Burrow said he felt like he was “back in high school against stuck at home with my parents (in Athens, Ohio.)”

“You have Zoom meetings and Skype meetings with different (NFL) teams,” Burrow said. “The only time I get out of the house is to work out. . .I just go to a little grass area somewhere and start throwing. Let’s just say it’s not how I envisioned my predraft process going.”

Burrow said because the NFL teams with the worst records get the first few draft picks, he understands the challenge that awaits him. His home state Cincinnati Bengals have the first pick, followed by Washington, Detroit, the New York Giants and Miami in the top five.

“Whatever team I go to is going to be a challenge,” he said. “I’m going to have to persevere through it like I’ve done in the past. You might have a really good first year. You might have a really bad first year, you don’t really know, especially without OTA’s this year spending less time with your team. So, there’s going to be ups and downs for sure. You have to battle through it.”  

Here’s the link to “Off the Bench” interview and here’s Burrow on other subjects:

On his LSU career: “It’s been kind of two separate sections for me. You had last season (2019) and the off-season leading up to it. Then, you had the whirlwind first year when I was just kind of learning how to Louisiana and play with those guys, play the kind of offense we were playing.

“That first six months was learning how to do all that stuff and be successful and then. The next off-season was a bunch of fun. We knew exactly what we were going to do, we knew the kind of people we had and the kind of team we were going to have.

“So, the last eight to 10 months starting back last January was just a lot of fun because we knew exactly what was going to happen.”

On having input into the offensive game plans: “It happened after year one. It doesn’t start out that way. That trust toward the end of my junior season and going into the off-season, it’s not usually like that everywhere, no matter what kind of player you have at quarterback.

“So, that made me feel good about the direction we were headed and about the kind of year we were going to have. I’m super confident in what I can do, my ideas and my abilities. When started taking that into account and putting in plays I thought of into the game plan, it means a lot because that just doesn’t happen everywhere.”

On his favorite play in LSU’s playbook: “We called it `Giant.’ It’s a post from JaMarr (Chase) at the `X,’ an over route from Justin (Jefferson) at the `F,’ a deep dig from Terrace (Marshall) at the Z with Clyde (Edwards-Helaire) in the flat to the field and Thaddeus (Moss) in the flat to the boundary. We had five guys who will be playing in the NFL for long time.

“I’m looking for that free safety to see if it takes the post. If he doesn’t take the post, I’m going over. Then, if the nickel runs with the over, that opens up the window for the dig. Then, if the mike (linebacker) gets under the dig, then there will be nobody on the flat in the field. Or the if the will (linebacker) tracks back and gets in the window for the dig, I’ve got Thaddeus in the flat to the boundary.

“So, it gives me a bunch of options and they can’t cover it all no matter what they do or what coverage they have.”

On the motivation toward commitment to preparation: “The motivation to win a national championship is a little different than getting up on a Tuesday morning. When you have that goal at the end of the tunnel, it’s pretty easy.

“We had a lot of great guys who understood what it took to get to that point. And, the older guys on the team taught that to the younger guys and the younger guys understand it now. Guys like Clyde, K’Lavon (Chaisson), Lloyd (Cushenberry), Grant (Delpit), Patrick (Queen), Jason Phillips. . .as leaders of the team we understood what we had to do to do what we did.

“That’s why it wasn’t hard to get up at a 9 o’clock on a Saturday and come spend an hour and half with the guys and get a lot better. Those days were the days we took the next step because there were no coaches anywhere.

“It was just us talking through how we thought of each play and we were all on the same page at all positions on the field because of that.”

On if he heard outside criticism during the season from commentators nit-picking any of his deficiencies: “Of course I hear it. But it’s those people’s jobs to have an opinion about you. That’s what they get paid to do and I get paid to play football.”

On his relationship with Clyde Edwards-Helaire: “Clyde was my best friend on the team. We spent a lot of time together. We became really, really close. We were kind of a calming effect in the backfield for each other. We never took ourselves too seriously. We both always understood the job at hand in a particular play. Every once in a while, we would throw jokes out in the middle of a play.

“In the huddle after a quarterback sneak, he’d always come up to me and give me a jab in the rib afterwards or in the pile and tell me to make sure I `hold on to that football.’ He kept it light.

“He led by example as well as vocally. He’s going to play for a long time, he’s so good. He’s one of the best guys I’ve been around.

On his TD to pass to Edwards-Helaire just before halftime in last season’s win at Alabama: “That was the first week we had that play in in the red zone. We’d seen the Detroit Lions run it the week before, we put it in. Me and Clyde worked that play after practice every day that week. We probably repped it 100 to 150 times.

“The way the play matched up, Clyde had a 1-on-1 against a linebacker on a corner route. As soon as I saw the look pre-snap, I knew I’d have it.

“There was talk before that play of just kicking a field goal. I’m looking at them (the coaches) like `What are we talking about? Why would we kick this field goal?’ Then, Coach O is like `All right, run the play.’ Clyde ran a great (route).”

On if the Alabama game was the biggest win of the year: “I don’t know about that. We had a lot of big wins. We had seven top 10 wins. Let’s just say this. After we won that game, nobody was beating us.”

On his Senior Night in Tiger Stadium: “I didn’t think it was going to be crazy like it was. But with the jersey that I did, it was my way of saying thank you to LSU and Louisiana and all the people involved. I wanted to find something to recognize everyone in the state and I think it got the job done.”

On if he will get any money from future sales of the “Burreaux” jersey: “Nike is now selling jerseys online, so I get a little royalty on that. You no longer have to order anything from China.”

On what he looks forward to when he returns to Tiger Stadium in the future to watch LSU games: “When you’re a player, you’re locked in on the environment. At some point, the crowd noise becomes white noise to you So, I’m very excited to not be so locked in on that and experience the atmosphere around me.”

On his initial visit why it seemed he wasn’t going to sign with LSU: “I’m a quiet guy until you get to know me a little more, so I wasn’t saying a lot. They had the (LSU staff) photographer with the (LSU) uniform lined up and I wouldn’t do that. They were like `What’s going on with this guy?’ My mom asked me why I didn’t want to do it. I was like, ‘I’m 21 years old, I’m a graduate transfer, I’ve already worn a jersey for three years. I don’t need to take a picture in this uniform. It’s going to make me sweaty and not very comfortable the rest of the day.’ I also didn’t do the high school recruiting (visit) stuff that they had (planned) out for me. It’s probably awesome for a 16 or 17-year old, but not for a 21-year old. I think they thought I wasn’t coming then.

“But in the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to try to do what we did here last year. None of the other places recruiting me had that option.”

On what the state of Louisiana means to him: “They gave me my career, Coach O and LSU resurrected my career, made me what I am today. I made myself too, but they gave me the platform and the opportunity to do what I’m doing now and hopefully for the next 10 to 15 years.

“It’s not the last you’ll see of me. I’ll be back all the time. Hopefully, I’ll have some business ventures in the area as well and a lot more ring ceremonies and a lot more ring reunions I’ll be back for.”

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Ron Higgins

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