NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - On the morning after the winning the CFP National Championship, LSU coach Ed Orgeron and linebacker Patrick Queen met with the media. The following is a transcript from the press conference.
THE MODERATOR: It’s my pleasure to introduce LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. We’ll begin with your opening remarks.
ED ORGERON: Good morning. Great to see everybody today. It’s an honor to be here today representing Louisiana State University, the National Championship, the Fighting LSU Tigers. So proud of our football team. I do believe it’s one of the greatest accomplishments in football history. So proud of Joe Burrow, the leadership that he brought to our football team, he’s one of the best football players I’ve seen in a long time. He’s even a better young man. So proud of our coaching staff, the job that they did all year. We started working last January 17th was our first football school. We’ve worked one year, and I reminded the team how we got here.
The team had a rule all season, no barrooms, be disciplined, take care of your business, and for the most part they did that. I hope they learned life lessons, how to persevere, how to pull together as a team, how to work without egos, how to pull for each other, how to fight when we’re down. I don’t know, a couple scores last night, we didn’t blink, and how to believe in each other. What a tremendous testament to our football team. I was so proud of everybody that wore the purple and gold. We had a lot of guys in the dressing room last night that were proud of our football team, proud of the state of Louisiana, and we’re happy. We’re going to enjoy this, but it’s a recruiting weekend this weekend. We’re going to start recruiting, get after it, and on to next year.
Q. Coach, there may be other national champions, but do you think it’s going to be hard to ever duplicate a football team like the one you just coached?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think this is a team for the ages, especially how prolific we were on offense, and to have that type of quarterback that we have, to go 15- 0 and to beat the teams that we beat, all the top teams that we played, we beat them, obviously. We had a tremendous schedule. We answered the bell. These guys didn’t blink. We didn’t have a bad game. We played 15 good football games, and this is going to be hard to beat.
Q. Back in July, Joe Burrow said it was the Manning camp he thought this offense would score 40, 50, 60 points a game. When you read that, were you like, oh, Joe, dial it back a little bit?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I was, too. I was, too, but that’s Joe. You know, just the ability to score at any time in the ballgame, and to have a quarterback to do it and then to have the system to do it and have the coaches to put it in place and the offensive line to block, all the pieces had to come together, but they did it. This offense was a force.
Q. What did you do from the end of last night to right now? Did you get any sleep? Did you and Kelly even look at each other and try to realize what just happened?
ED ORGERON: Well, somebody -- we didn’t know what we was going to eat. Somebody gave us some Popeye’s Fried Chicken, so we took it up in the room, and she ate half of hers and I hate the rest (laughter), and then we went to bed. We got to bed I guess about 2:30, 3:00. Got up this morning at 7:30 and got dressed and got ready to go here. We have a busy day. We’re going to Nashville this afternoon. We’re going to travel back with the team, and then our team goes to school tomorrow. But it wasn’t a night out on the town or nothing like that, it was just a good night, but we did thank the good Lord for all the opportunity he’s given us.
Q. Have you done any recruiting since the win, and what’s been the reaction from the guys?
ED ORGERON: The guys are phenomenal. Obviously guys are texting us, we’re texting them back. We have a recruiting weekend this weekend, a couple of guys are coming. We have a couple guys to sign left. But the guys that are out there have given us a tremendous response. It’s going to be a fight. Everybody is after these guys. We plan on finishing this recruiting class strong. We have already a strong recruiting class. I’m so excited about the guys that we do have. So let’s see what happens.
Q. When you have a talented team that you know is capable of winning a championship like this, to see them follow through on that ultimate goal to get it done, to not have any lingering doubt whether you could compete at the highest level, just walk us through that level of satisfaction in accomplishing the National Championship.
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, along with the opportunity, there’s going to be oppositions. How you get, the tougher the opposition is going to be, and we knew last night was going to be a fight. But we felt confident that we were the better team. I told them last Monday that we were the better football team, that we had to play. We didn’t panic. We had to make a couple adjustments, so yeah, there’s satisfaction that we answered the bell, that we competed at the highest level every time we were asked to compete at the highest level we did. But it’s a tribute to our players. They had a cohesive unit attributed to our coaching staff.
Q. Ed, Joe is such a key part of this run, and you’ve got so many players who have NFL decisions ahead of them. How difficult or will it be difficult to keep this going in the future?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, it’s going to be difficult to replace these guys. But you know, you’re at LSU, you should be able to do it. And obviously the quarterback position is going to be the key position. We have Myles Brennan. We signed two fantastic young quarterbacks on our roster. The development of those guys is going to be key in where we’re going. Patrick is sitting to my left here, tremendous young man from Livonia, was a tailback, and turned out to be an outstanding linebacker for us. He has a decision to make. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I’m going to try to -- right after this I’m kind of hitting him on the knee right now to stay. But I’ve got to recruit these guys. But it’s part of being at LSU. I tell most of my guys at recruiting most of you are going to be three-and-out, so it’s something we have to accept, but this is going to be a tough group to replace.
Q. Ten years ago the movie “The Blind Side” came out and you were in America’s homes in that movie. Have you been able to reflect on everything that’s kind of happened in those last 10 years and since then?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, I think these next couple days I may have a chance to look at that. There’s been a tremendous run. Just keep on fighting. Just keep on getting your hands up no matter what happens. Go back the next day and go to work. Believe and just keep on working, and surround yourself with great people. Ever since that movie happened, I’ve been very fortunate to be with some great people. I’m talking about great players, great coaches, and this wouldn’t be possible in my mind unless you had a great institution like LSU that gives you all the resources that you need, great fan base, great recruiting base, great stadium, great home-field advantage, and then to play the National Championship right here in New Orleans, everything fell into place to have the season we needed to have.
Q. As big as the early wins were say over Texas, tell me about getting that hurdle over Alabama and getting that -- because that was a big storyline this year of just getting the program back with winning against Alabama and then finishing the deal here last night.
ED ORGERON: You know, ever since I started the job, we knew we had to beat them. They’ve had a tremendous run. Some great coaches, some great players. We felt our first year 10-0, 0-0 going in, Jalen beat us with his feet. We gave up two critical plays. We were not happy, but we didn’t have the production we needed on offense. Then we go play them over there, we miss a couple of big balls, would have, could have, should have, all that stuff. Then I thought we were getting close. Physicality, I thought we were getting close. And then the next time they played us at home was 29-0, we weren’t even close. I thought that the gap had widened. I do believe that the spread offense and the ability to score points helped us beat them, put them in a position to where we could make plays on them. I think it gave our team some confidence that we felt we were the better team this year going into the game, although they were a great team. We thought if we played our game, we could. I don’t think you can go in a game with a great opponent and hoping you can. There ain’t no hoping there. We thought we could. We knew we could, and we felt like we had the weapons and the coaches to do it this time.
Q. In your opinion what did Nick Saban do to win the first modern championship in ’03? What did Les Miles do? And what did you do in your opinion best to win last night?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, embraced LSU. I think that all three common factors is LSU. When you come to LSU, that’s the expectations, and I embraced it. I said, they got higher. I know what the people expect. I’m from Louisiana, I expected the same thing when I was a fan. But you surround yourself with a great recruiting base, you surround yourself with all the resources you can. You’re playing in the SEC, so if you can get through the SEC and especially the SEC West it gives you a chance to be in the National Championship hunt. If you’re in the SEC Championship and you win it, you’ve got a shot, man. So that’s why you come here. You come here to compete. You come here to compete with the best. It’s very competitive every day in recruiting. It’s competitive every day we turn around. But at LSU, I feel is one of the premier schools in all the country, it gives you the opportunity to do that.
Q. Patrick, are you ready to tell us what you’re going to do with your future, and what do you think LSU’s chances are of sustaining what you guys did this season?
PATRICK QUEEN: I’m not really sure yet. Got to go home and talk to my parents and Coach O, do everything the right way. But LSU is always going to be capable of doing what we did this year. We’ve got great players, great coaches. As long as we believe in each other, we’ll be able to accomplish anything.
Q. Patrick, could you recount kind of your experiences since last night to now?
PATRICK QUEEN: The game was won, I’m going to remember it forever. There’s no better feeling than being a champion. All the hard work from a year ago to now is just a feeling that can’t be beat. And then after the game I just went back to my hotel room. I didn’t even party. I was still in shock that much.
Q. Coach, a lot of draft boards are putting Joe as the No. 1 pick. What do you think it’s going to mean for this program?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, obviously it says a lot about our ability to attract great players anywhere in the country, ability to attract great quarterbacks. That had been the knock on LSU for a little while. The ability that when quarterbacks come here, they will develop. I do believe that we also, including Joe, a difference in his junior year to his senior year, he developed under Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady. I think if you’re a quarterback right now, you’re looking at LSU, you want to be here because of the system, because of what Joe did, a Heisman Trophy winner, a potential firstround pick, national champion, and then you have great receivers to throw the football to. It does say a lot about our program, but you know what, we couldn’t have done it without Joe. He’s a special young man. I thank God he came to LSU.
Q. Coach, in 2009 in Omaha we asked Paul Mainieri after he won the championship, what are some of the first things that came to your mind, and one of the things he said was, as he was watching the celebration, how am I going to do this again. Have you had any thoughts like that yet?
ED ORGERON: No. (Laughing). And obviously I understand that we’re going to have to get back to work. I’m already planning. The guys are going to go to school tomorrow, when we’re going to start football school and when we’re going to do it. But I want to spend some time with these juniors. I want to talk to them. I want the right thing for them. I really -- if the NFL is the best thing for them, they know that’s what I want for them, and if it’s not, I want them to stay. Like Patrick said, I have great relationships with the families. I think that’s my next duty. The next duty is to make sure all our boys are going to class tomorrow morning, which is going to be hard because now we’re starting the semester all over again and then we have to start in the weight room, we have to start football school and start recruiting. Now it’s getting back to the grind. I think once -- we never talked about winning the National Championship this year, and I think that helped our football team. Although we always knew in the back of our minds that’s where we wanted to go, that was never mentioned in a meeting. Our goal was always to win the day, do the best we could on a daily basis, but we all felt in the back of our mind, if we do the things we’re supposed to do, we’ll have a shot to do it.
Q. Patrick, if you would talk about the second half and the pressure you guys got on Trevor Lawrence, and how much did having Michael Divinity back help you guys do that?
PATRICK QUEEN: In the second half we brought out some new plays that Coach had put in, some stuff we used to run back in the past, and we just executed. Everybody did their job, and then having Mike back was a great help because Mike is a great pass rusher and has great experience, so having him back on the field just brought more confidence to our defense.
Q. Patrick, obviously you’re going to be at the next level at some point, but how for you does football get better than last night?
PATRICK QUEEN: It’s tough to beat the feeling of last night, but I know my best football is ahead of me. I know the player that I’m becoming, each game I’m getting better. Just to be able to take that leap from where I was a year ago to now is just a big blessing. I thank God to be able to be in this position with my coach and my teammates.
Q. If somebody had told you in game 5 of 2017 if you guys lost to Troy it’s going to be okay, you’re going to have the best season ever in a couple of years, what would you have said?
PATRICK QUEEN: It would have been hard for me to believe coming off that kind of loss. That’s actually Rev #1 by #166 at 2020-01-14 15:41:00 GMT page 3 of 5 crazy. But who would have ever thought we’d have been here a year ago. Just the feeling of those guys, we knew what we were capable of coming into this season. We all knew what we were going to do, so we just trusted each other and made it happen.
Q. Patrick, when we visited with you last week, you gave us a score off the record, what you thought the score would be. Would you share that now and why did you believe that score would take place?
PATRICK QUEEN: I guessed the score would be 42- 17. I just had a feeling. I was close. Off by a little bit, but it was all good. ED ORGERON: Can I say something? Why you didn’t tell me that? (Laughter.)
Q. Coach O and Patrick, you guys talk about embracing LSU from the top down. What does it mean to have the alumni, the OBJs, the Jarvis Landrys, everybody coming back to support you guys, not only you as a coach but also the players?
PATRICK QUEEN: It means a lot, because that’s the guys you looked up to as you was younger. I played offense when I was younger, so Odell, Jarvis, those are the guys I looked at, and then transition to linebacker, you got guys that are like Devin and Kevin Minter at the game as well, Tyrann Mathieu, guys you also looked up to just because they were ballers. Just to have those guys come back, it’s a feeling that can’t be beat because you know the whole state of Louisiana is behind you and also those guys that have played in the purple and gold before you. ED ORGERON: Those guys are welcome back in our doors. They played in purple and gold. They don’t have to make an appointment to come see us. Practice is open. Every time they come to practice we ask them to come talk to our team. Patrick Peterson, Odell every Christmas, every year, has given each team, each teammate, each member, each coaching staff, a big gift of tennis shoes, some of those headsets, whatever they call those things that they listen to, but they love them. And every Christmas they get a gift from Odell. It was great to have them all in the locker room last night and be a part of this football team because they started it, and I want to thank the 2016 team. A lot of those guys were there last night, and they helped us start this thing. They believed in me when I became the interim coach. They gave me the chance to be the head coach at LSU and they started a foundation. I told them, one day we’re going to play in the National Championship, and you guys are going to be with us. One of the things that we do at LSU is a little bit different than any other school I’ve been with. On Tuesday we show highlights of our guys in the NFL and what they do. We just pay tribute to the great job that they’re doing. It’s great to see Tre’Davious White last night, All-Pro and watch these guys make plays every Tuesday, and it’s a way to honor the players, but it’s also a way to motivate our guys that that’s going to be them, too, and then one day their teammates will be watching them in the LSU room and be proud that we’re representing. Once you’re a Tiger, you’re a Tiger for life.
Q. The few times this year that the teams have really kind of pressed y’all and competed with y’all, your defense kind of fed off your offense and you got all these runs, like last night. You’ve done that consistently this year. Can you talk about just kind of sensing the momentum from the offense, y’all’s offense, and just kind of shutting people out?
PATRICK QUEEN: That’s why I think you have to have a good team, so the offense and defense can feed off each other. I feel like when we play, we feed off each other. Every play is a big play, Joe throwing a ball to Ja’Marr, Clyde making a big run. Our defense feeds off of that. When we make a sack, our offense feeds off of that. To be a great team, you have to have those guys to be able to feed off of each other.
Q. Patrick, if you could, a lot of conversation heading into this year about Trevor and Tua, and there’s not too many guys that have faced both of them, and you did. I was wondering if you could comment on both quarterbacks and scout them out for me. Which one is better?
PATRICK QUEEN: I really can’t say which one is better. Both of them are great players. It’s hard to say that we beat them, but we did, and that’s just a testament to them, that they have great coaches and great players. Tua is going to be a great quarterback in the league, and then Trevor this year, he’s going to ball out. I just want to give those guys credit for the great players that they are.
Q. Ed, since January of 2012, there’s kind of been that lingering aftertaste. Do you think that what happened last night has finally put that to rest for good?
ED ORGERON: Sure, no question. No question. The past is the past. We’re very grateful. I’m very grateful for this year. Every day I’ve been at LSU has been a great day. I haven’t had a bad day yet. It’s been really good. I’m home. Our journey took us all over Miami, Syracuse, USC, other places. But we always wanted to be here. When you’re totally content, like going home to your living room to watch Sunday afternoon football, man. I’m totally content at LSU, and my family is, and we’re so appreciative of being here, and we just love it.
Q. Coach O, people learned this week of your relationship with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He did the hype video that everyone loved this week. Have you heard from him?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, he sent me a voice message. I have it recorded. You know, he says, Coach, this is Dwayne “The Rock”, but affectionally known to you as Dewey. That was his nickname, Dewey. Dwayne was a great young man, mild mannered young man, outstanding, recruited by Bob Cormellous. Bob and I coached him, and he went on to have a lot of success. He’s kept a level head. He’s a great young man, he’s a great family man. He’s very supportive of what we’re doing here. He’s followed us. He wished us good luck. And then for him to make Derek Ponamsky, who does all our hype videos, I think he does a hell of a job. He got in touch with “The Rock’s” agent, and he said as soon as we requested it, “The Rock” called back and said yes, I’ll do it, and he said he would come talk to the team obviously if time allows it. All these ex players, just like Patrick said, we create bonds for the rest of our life. We’re family.
Q. I know this came up last night, but I just wanted to circle back and clarify it. Did Joe come out of that game I know a little banged up, but did he come out of that game with an injury? Is he okay?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, I think he’s fine. I think he’s fine. He got hit a little bit. I think he’s a little sore today, and usually there’s some -- Monday he’s sore -- I don’t know what today is. He’s tough, man. He’ll put a little ice and stim on it and he’ll be ready to go. But there was no significant injury or nothing, just regular shots. He took some shots last night, which we knew he was going to take some shots, but he’s fine.
Q. You grew up in the time of Bear Bryant, you coached at Miami in their heyday, coached at USC with Pete Carroll. Does your team have an argument as the greatest team in the college football history?
ED ORGERON: I think so. I think so. I really do. To play the teams that we played this year and to beat them and with the margin of error that was in most of the games, to have the type of football players that we have on our football team, the coaching staff that I do, you never can go back in time, it’s a different era, but I’ve never been around a prolific offense like this. I remember being in the offense at USC and at Miami and saying we could have those type of offenses. We shattered all those records. It’s a different age, it’s a different offense. Those were great coaches, no doubt about that. Those are legendary coaches, and I learned from Jimmy Johnson, who texted me this morning, and watched Bear Bryant, obviously, we all did, and Pete Carroll. So those guys are legendary. But as far as our football team, I think they can play with anybody anywhere.
Q. What was Mama Orgeron’s review of the game? And since last night have you thought about your dad?
ED ORGERON: Yeah, mom was there last night, and she was all dressed up in the purple and gold and all fired up. I think she had about 16 interviews (laughing) scheduled, so she was rocking and rolling, obviously. Yeah. We do talk about my father all the time. I know he’d have been proud. We talked about him last night as a family. We kind of made some jokes a little bit because he was a funny man. He was a leader. We knew he was there in spirit. We know he was watching us.
Q. Patrick, I’m looking at video right now of Odell Beckham handing out cash to players last night on Twitter. Did you get any of that, and just a reaction from you? There was a lot of partying going on.
PATRICK QUEEN: No, sir, I did not see any of that. Sorry, but I didn’t.
ED ORGERON: First I’m hearing about it.
Transcript provided by CFP National Championship Media Relations