LSU QB Joe Burrow on Auburn’s ‘monster’ front seven, gameday routine, more; watch full interview

2 months ago The Advocate 0

LSU’s record-setting quarterback, Joe Burrow, had his weekly meeting with the media Monday after the second-ranked Tigers began preparing for Saturday’s showdown with No. 9 Auburn.

As one would imagine, topics ranged from his uniform malfunction against Mississippi State, to the matchup with Auburn’s aggressive and physical front seven, to getting wide receiver Terrace Marshall back from injury, to his gameday routine.

Here’s the full transcript:


What’s the best butt joke that you’ve gotten?

They’ve all been pretty corny, to be honest. I haven’t found a very clever one yet.

Any kind of ‘exposure’ you get, so to speak, is good?

I guess so, yeah.

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When you look at Auburn’s defense, do you see anything different form last year?

No, they’re really doing the same stuff. Really physical on the outside, it’s really physical. I mean, it’s going to be the most physical team we play.

When you look at the early red zone struggles against Mississippi State, was not having Terrace Marshall made apparent on Saturday?

You know, he’s a great player and he’s made a lot of plays for us in the red zone, but I feel very comfortable with the guys we had in there. Stephen (Sullivan) and Derrick (Dillon) played great since Terrace has been out. I think it just came down to execution, we didn’t execute the way we had been.


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Coach Orgeron said today maybe it was a play-call thing, do you feel that way?

Whatever play is called, our job is to go out and execute it. We had a couple plays we had been working on all week in practice that we called and we just didn’t execute the way we had been in practice. So, it’s everybody … everybody takes the blame for it.

Auburn’s defensive line, would you say they’re monsters down there?

Yes, that’s a fantastic way to put it.

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So, it’s a challenge to try and stop those guys?

Yeah, they have three or four guys that are very physical, very twitchy, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us with those guys. I think we’re going to have a good plan for them, though.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has had some good games recently with his shifty running, do you catch yourself watching him at times and seeing how physical he is?

Absolutely. He’s tough to bring down. He’s super-low to the ground, so it’s hard for people to get low on it and take his legs out. So they’re up high on him and he can drag them for a couple of yards every time.

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Tyrion Davis-Price, is he another guy defenders don’t want to take on because he’s hard to tackle?

Yeah, you can see sometimes on film throughout the year, people are shying away from him because he’s so downhill and so explosive. He’s kind of coming into his own now, and I’m excited for him.

If someone had told you before the season that your lowest-scoring game of the season would be 36, how would you feel about it?

I mean, I could have told you that. And I think I tried to tell you guys that, too (laughing). We obviously should have scored more points and we were pretty disappointed in our performance. But 36 is a good minimum so far.

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(Tackle) Austin Deculus was just talking about how the offensive line gained a lot of confidence from the Florida game. What did those guys do that night to keep Florida’s defenders away from you all night?

Yeah, we did a good job of mixing up the style of protection. We cut them, we chipped them, we did straight drop back, slide protection. So they didn’t really know what kind of protection they were getting. We’re going to have to do a lot more of that, mixing up the looks for people.

Coach Orgeron talked about the last game, some guys on the offensive line not winning their one-on-one matchups. Looking to (Auburn’s) Derrick Brown, how realistic is it to ask someone who could be a potential top-five draft pick, to guard him one-on-one?

We have great guys on the interior, too. We’ve got D-Lew (Damien Lewis), we got Lloyd (Cushenberry) and Adrian (Magee) and Ed (Ingram), whoever we play on that side. Obviously, he (Brown) is one of the most dominant players in college football, but we have a lot of confidence in our guys, too, so we’re going to mix up the looks for him: read him a couple times, cut him, just give him a lot of different looks so he can’t just bull-rush off the ball and knock people back into me. But we have confidence in our guys, too.

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You’ve talked about some personal rituals that you’ve had before for game preparation. Do you have anything for big games just to kind of get yourself in a mindset?

Absolutely not, same thing every week. I think if you treat a big game any different, you’re kind of going in with your hands tied behind your back. So I do the same things no matter what.

So, what is your preparation like on Saturday?

I’ll get up and go eat breakfast around 9 o’clock, depending on the game time. Pregame meal is always spaghetti. Put the suit on, Tiger Walk, all that jazz. Go out and do the same warm-up with my arm throwing. Stick, foam roller, caramel (he pronounces it carmel), inside-out sock, all that good stuff. Then, I put my pads on the same way every time, put my helmet on the same way every time. I think all the great ones have a really good routine, and they stick to it.

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To recite it, you’ve been doing it enough?

Yeah (laughing).

Was the touchdown pass to Derrick Dillon against Auburn last year, was that kind of the first big moment of your LSU career? How significant was that play?

Yeah, I think that was a big moment for our team. We were struggling that game on offense pretty badly. We kind of needed a spark and Derrick gave it to us; he made a great play, great catch, and obviously a great run after the catch, too.

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A lot of people see Ja’Marr (Chase) and Justin (Jefferson) as being these fast burner guys, but do you think they’re sneaky tough to go along with that, too?

Yeah, absolutely, you’ve seen a lot of times on film this year where they’ll both catch slants or digs over the middle and take a hit and keep running. They’re some of the toughest receivers in football, I think. Ja’Marr seems to break a tackle every single time he gets the ball and ‘Jets’ (Jefferson) does a great job of doing that, too. You could see that in the Texas game when he had that touchdown and got hit by the safety. He got up and celebrated, so they’re some of the toughest players that I’ve seen.

People are talking about the energy (vs. Mississippi State) not being there. Looking back, do you think you should have addressed it and maybe the offense would have had more continuity in the first half?

I have thought about that. You don’t want to be negative on game day, you want to be as positive as you can be. But I think moving forward if I do see that I’ll have to say something.

What do you admire about (Auburn coach) Gus Malzahn’s offense, the tempo that be brings and the creatively?

That’s the thing, creativity. Even going back to when I was in high school, I loved watching his offenses and his teams because he always has something up his sleeve. He’s a great coach and I’m excited to play against him.

What does Terrace Marshall (coming back from foot surgery) add to this offense?

He’s a vertical threat, for sure. He’s a great player, I have a great feel for when he’s going to break his routes. He has great body language in his routes and I don’t think he’s had a drop all season. That’s just a testament to his hard work this offseason.

How much easier does Marshall make your job in the red zone, especially, because you two really seem to connect there?

He’s a big body and I’m excited to have him back. He’s a great route-runner, he’s a great contested catch-maker, and one of the reasons he’s really good in the red zone is because of that.

Coach Orgeron said Mississippi State made it tough in the red zone, partly because Terrace wasn’t there and they ganged up on Ja’Marr and Justin. How much did it affect the offense?

Yeah, you could see that we had a bunch of guys step up. Racey (McMath) had a big touchdown. Derrick (Dillon) had a big touchdown. Thad (Moss) had a couple of big catches. Clyde (Edwards-Helaire) caught some ball. So if teams are going to double-team Justin and Ja’Marr, we’re going to have guys step up like we have all season.

Coach O talked today about how important it will be against Auburn’s front seven to pass protect with just five offensive linemen. How much difference does that make for you in a game, can you break that down?

That means the world to me. I mean, I’ve advocated for having five guys out on the route all the time (and) five-man protection just because it pulls one more linebacker out of the middle and opens those holes up a little more. It makes linebackers not be able to green-dog blitz when they see the back block and they’ll blitz after that. So when we have the back out (in routes), they can’t do that. And I have a lot of confidence in my film study that when they do blitz, I’ll be able to get those blitzes picked up with those five guys.

How much confidence do you have in those five guys going against a guy like Derrick Brown?

All the confidence in the world in those guys. They’ve been playing like one of the best units in the country the last couple of weeks and they’re just getting better every week.

Since Auburn is the No. 9 team in the country, it’s hard to imagine overlooking them but maybe the narrative is ‘let’s get this over with because everybody is looking at the Alabama game.’

Trust me (shaking head), we’re not overlooking this team. … They’re too good. It’s the third top-10 team we’re playing this year … you can’t, you just can’t. We’ll get our butts beat if we overlook this team.

With the way these matchups have gone with Auburn the past couple of years, you haven’t had a lot of close games this season. Do you lean on the Florida game, the Texas game, to kind of get the mentality of what it’s like to have someone neck and neck with you for a full 60 minutes?

We’re battle-tested. We’ve played in those two games and going back to last year we have a bunch of people back that have played a lot of meaningful football games. So they have a lot of guys coming back, too, coming back. I think they have seven or eight returning starters on defense and a lot of guys coming back on offense. So both teams are battle-tested and it’s going to be a fun game.

When you got here, Justin Jefferson was the main guy you trusted that whole season. How have you seen him kind of evolve?

I think the biggest evolution is with the other guys. Justin has worked really hard on his routes and has even elevated his game more from last year. But the evolution of other guys like Derrick Dillon and Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr and Stephen and Thad and Racey kind of takes the pressure off of him. Now, teams have to cover all five guys out on the routes, so now we’re getting a lot of one-on-one matchups.

Justin is always dancing after a play and stuff like that, what is he like around the facility?

Exactly as you see him on the field, exactly the same. He’s a fun guy to be around.

How is it your third top-10 game this season for you guys to have that many top-10 games in just eight games?

Yeah, this is what you ask for. This is why you play the game. This is why you work so hard in the offseason, you don’t work so hard to play out-of-conference FCS teams. You work so hard so you can play Auburns and Alabamas and Floridas and Georgias and Texas, that’s why you play this game.