By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins joined Jeff Palermo and Glenn Guilbeau on Tiger Rag Radio last week to talk spring football and working with Ed Orgeron.
Here are some sound bites from the interview.
Tiger Rag: How did you assess the play of your defensive line in the Spring Game?
Pete Jenkins: They played well. I tell you, we’ve made some progress. Started out kind of slow, but we’ve really made some progress. I thought (Greg Gilmore) had a very productive night, did a good job for us. The freshman, Justin Thomas, boy, he made a lot of plays in the game. We were really proud of his play. Ed Alexander, aka Rougaroux, played really good for us. Rashard Lawrence, he’s had a really productive spring, did a nice job. Great kids. They work extremely hard, and there’s a bunch of want-to in that room. It may not be the most athletic group of guys. We’ve got a ways to go before we’re where we want to be. But we’ve got some time. I think we’ve got a chance to be decent, I really do.
TR: It looked like you were getting on the refs pretty good when the game moved indoors.
PJ: That was all in fun. I questioned a couple of calls to tell you the truth. Any time you wear different colored jerseys, it’s serious. The score’s being kept, it’s serious.
TR: Coach O recently named Rashard Lawrence a starter. Do you see him holding on to that spot?
PJ: He is so much better than he was during the fall last year. First of all, he’s a very smart kid. 4 As. He’s a pleasure because he’s a very low maintenance guy and a great kid. Football’s important to Rashard. The thing about him I love so much is his dependability. He’s normally working really hard to be in the right place and doing the right thing. He’s very conscientious with his work.
TR: Where do you see Frank Herron fitting in on this line?
PJ: Frankie has ability. Frankie has a ways to go yet. We would have him behind LaCouture right now. He did some nice things for us last year in a backup role. I’m sure he wants to be the starter, and it’s available to him, but he has some work to go before he’s where we want him to be. I didn’t think he was in real good condition during spring ball, and I thought that really affected his play. One of the objectives we have for him is to really get into shape where he’s ready to start training camp and go full speed all practice.
TR: How did the line look this spring without Arden Key around?
PJ: Missing Arden, I’m telling you now, he changes the equation. We’re really looking forward to having him back. The guy is a phenomenal talent. Not only that – Arden has great leadership. We’re excited about getting him back. I know he’s going to have a great year.
TR: You’ve been with Coach O for a while. How different is he today than he was at USC and Ole Miss?
PJ: He’s not changed a great deal since the interim job at Southern Cal. He’s not changed a great deal. I think Ed holds people accountable a little bit more. He recruited like crazy when he had the interim job at Southern Cal and when he had the interim job here. He worked like crazy while he was seeking the job. I think he’s probably a little more into every phase now. This is his staff. Accountability is a big thing right now that may be a little different. He hasn’t changed all that much…This is a changed guy from when he was at Ole Miss. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed working for Ed at Ole Miss, from the stories and stuff like that. I’m not sure that would’ve been a lot of fun. At Southern Cal and here, he’s been great to work for. I refuse to call him Bebe. That’s the guy who used to exist. The guy we have now is Ed Orgeron…He would tell me at Southern Cal sometimes, ‘I lay awake at night thinking how I treated those kids at Ole Miss and how I treated those coaches. I lay awake and can’t sleep thinking about it. I’ve learned so much about how to treat people.’ That’s what really amazes me about him. It’s been unbelievable. I’ve known him a really long time. I’ve watched Ed’s life come full circle. Today, the guy is a spiritual man, and he really always has loved the kids. That’s not any different. They love him. He loves them. He’s all about the players. But he’s also got a tough enough side – he’s going to make them do the right thing. Discipline prevails on our team. That’s the beauty of him. He’s a compassionate man, but he’s also got that toughness you need…Ed’s an honest guy. He’s a lot like Coach Saban that way. He’s going to tell you how he feels, what he thinks. That’s a great thing between he and the press. He’s not going to shoot you a lot of bull. He’s going to tell you like he sees it. He’s never going to abuse anyone, but he’s going to be honest and upfront about what he sees and what he expects.