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LSU's Orgeron talks Burrow and Bama at SEC Media Days

Mark Menard
July 16, 2018 - 7:20 pm
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Football season is less than two months away, and you can check off another marker on the road to the college game’s opening weekend with SEC Media Days getting underway Monday in Atlanta. LSU was front and center on day 1 with Coach Ed Orgeron spending nearly a half-hour offering up answers to the gathered media.

One of the biggest question-marks for the Tigers is what the offense will look like under once-and-future offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger after last offseason’s high-profile hire Matt Canada was sent packing after just one season.

Orgeron professed total confidence in the product Ensminger will put on the field in 2018.

“Steve’s offense broke seven school records in eight games,” Orgeron said of Ensminger’s performance as interim OC back in 2016. “He spread the ball around and put the ball in our playmakers’ hands in space and let them make plays.”

Orgeron said Ensminger plans to run a spread offense featuring two to three receivers and that the Tigers’ goal will be a 50-50 balance between the run and the pass.

As for who will be launching those passes from behind the Tigers’ offensive line, Orgeron said he has not yet named a starting quarterback and wouldn’t confirm he’d absolutely be sold on one guy by the September 2 season opener, but it’s notable that only one LSU quarterback’s name was mentioned over the course of the 26-minute press conference: Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow.

Orgeron did say Burrow showed impressive mental acumen during their initial meetings with the former Buckeye.

“Steve [Ensminger] was running the meeting obviously,” Orgeron said. “Going through some plays with Joe – some installations that we do, some things that he did at Ohio State – and he was excellent. And we felt that his knowledge of the game, his ability to run the offense, he could be a pro quarterback. He could run the football, extend plays with his feet if he has to. He’s very tough. He’s a leader. And overall he’s very smart, throws with anticipation and accuracy. We felt he would add to the quarterback competition that we already had.”

Again though, Orgeron stopped short of naming Burrow the team’s 2018 starter.

“We would like it to be settled in fall camp,” Orgeron said. “We don’t know if it’s gonna be or not, but we’ll have to name a starting quarterback. Now there could be a possibility, we don’t wanna do this, but where we would play two quarterbacks if it’s not settled or if it’s even close. We don’t see that happening, but if we have to do it, we can.”

Orgeron also addressed the elephant in the room, literally, for Tiger fans – the Bayou Bengals’ seven-game losing streak against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Orgeron was the head coach for the two most recent Tiger losses in that skid.

Orgeron said that while they fell short once again last season, he felt like the Tigers made some strides against the Tide.

“It was a physical contest,” Orgeron said. “We felt that we could handle them physically and compete with them. And that was the first time our players felt that in a while.”

Despite LSU’s six-year run of futility against Alabama, the annual football showdown continues to be a marquis matchup on the SEC slate, getting a prime position in primetime on CBS each year since 2011 – a trend that could very well continue at least one more season. With ESPN owning the rights to a majority of SEC football games, CBS gets one doubleheader date each season, and that date in 2018 is set for November 3 – the date of the annual LSU-Alabama football tilt.

LSU’s football season begins September 2 against Miami in Arlington, Tex. You can hear every LSU football game live in its entirety on WWL.

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