LSU Postgame Quotes - Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
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Press Release

LSU Postgame Quotes

HEAD COACH LES MILES
OT VADAL ALEXANDER
LB DEION JONES
RB LEONARD FOURNETTE

LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver and Omar Majzoub)

When did you make the decision to bring Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron on the field and how much did it help the offense?
“It helped, I thought, tremendously. I thought that he brought energy to it. I thought that Brandon Harris, seeing Cam and listening and getting instruction, not even so much what was said but how it was said, just made a tremendous difference to him and his approach. What we needed to have happen in this game, to improve, we needed to have our quarterback play. I think our quarterback played extremely well. I shouldn’t say extremely well, he took a stride certainly. But that is what we needed to have him to do to have victory today. I think Cam being down was exactly the right thing.”

When did you decide to do it (bring Cameron on the field) and was it something you considered at any point this season?
“We did. The question is, is how much do you get from the press box without him there. It is the opportunity for his eyes to see it from the field or his eyes to see it from the press box. I think what we found tonight that maybe the synergy and the things he did on the sideline were very probably the difference.”

Did Cameron come to you with the idea of him coaching on the sideline?
“To be very honest with you, Brandon Harris kind of asked for it. It really kind of put it back on the table in my opinion. We had thought to it and Cam was, you know, I’ll go either way you want to go. He’d been very comfortable on the sideline in the NFL. I enjoyed him on the sideline except he has this high five, you know it hurts. He has these bid old paws. You better watch out.”

How would you describe the night RB Leonard Fournette had tonight?
“This is a night that Leonard Fournette would have again and again and again. I wouldn’t call it routine because he is not a routine runner. He is a special back, but we would expect him to have nights like this. He’s fast and strong and capable. He’s one of the more competitive men I know. He wanted to win this game. No doubt. He’d like to have gotten about 47 more yards, but if we could have expanded the fourth quarter just a couple more minutes we may have got it for him.”

Is this back to the “good times” with a big win in the bowl game?
“I think when you start the offseason with a victory what happens is one, we will recruit well which will eventually in June sometime benefit a very, very talented class as it comes in. I think what will happen in spring ball and in our offseason, it will start pointing towards that College Playoffs, which is really where we want to be. I think this is the right turn. I think certainly you can see the program itself is being manned by real quality young men and that they’re looking for the kind of success they had tonight in a bountiful way and by numbers.”

How do you get to where you just talked about in the spring?
“Here is what happens. We come out of the gate 7-0. It should have been 8-0. This should have been our 10th victory. Our first game got lightning out and called on account. What happens is this football team catches speed, and we are really in position to do some special things, and we lose about three guys that really were instrumental in some of the things we were doing that had changed our direction some. We are just now starting to get some of the health back in some of those guys, and we’re starting to build the depth in the backup that is necessary so that we can play, and play and execute at a very high level. I think what this did is there was a spot where this football team needed to rebound. I think they showed great character. Any time that you have a string of losses with a very talented team, a very capable team, a team that is used to winning, it can be – ah, let’s forget this year. No, they didn’t forget this year in any way. They knew they were going to saddle it up again. They enjoyed how it felt when we came off the field against A&M, and they were going to saddle this team up one more time. They would take the seniors and the juniors that might go and be on an NFL team and some of these freshmen to say – alright guys this is how it is going to finish. And that’s what they did. And that’s character. And that’s to me, maybe that is the strength of this program.”

How much easier is it on your defense when you are dictating the score and limiting them on offense?
“Our defense is – our defensive front got better really start to finish during the season. I think Ed Orgeron made a tremendous difference there. I think Kevin Steele put them in the right spots and understood how to attack certain things. If we got the sacks that we were capable of getting today, it statistically could have been way different. But again, I think Kevin Steele also had a very significant impact on the structure of this defense. I liked how our defense played today. The first three and out was minus yards, minus yards, minus yards. I said that surely sent a message to the quarterback that this is just not going to be his day. But again, before I go much further, I think Texas Tech coach (Kliff) Kingsbury is a really good football coach. I think he’s doing some really special things. He’s got energy and I like it.

 

We beat a good football team today. They threw it at the start of practice, in the middle of practice, and at the end of practice. When they decide to go just a little longer, they throw it some more. I like that. I like how they sling it around.”

Do you feel like your defensive speed is an advantage against teams you haven’t faced yet?
“I think what we did too was we took two days off around Christmas Eve and Christmas, really it was right in the middle of a game week. We took the equivalent of a Monday-Tuesday in the game week and came back on a Wednesday practice. I think the freshness of our team was very evident tonight. They showed speed. Guys like Arden Key, he is a spectacular athlete at his spot who can come around the edge and chase you down. Guys like Tashawn Bower improved tremendously. The interior group is playing extremely well. Frank Herron and Christain Lacouture and Davon Godchaux. We may have the fastest linebackers in college football, so I think that speed is something. That quarterback gave us headaches. It was good to have some guys on the field to chase him down.”

Were you concerned about your defensive line getting tired like it did a couple years ago against Clemson?
“We probably have a little bit more depth in this game on the defensive line than we had in that Clemson game, if you recall. We had some guys that went down early in the game. We did not have ends that were fresh that could chase that fast quarterback around. Our ends were really in position all night to run. Again, we were two-deep.”

What about the impact of D.J. Chark tonight?
“We saw the opportunity for a speed play. D.J. has unusual speed. You could see that when he got in front. It was very difficult to catch him. We think that we’ll use guys like that pretty routinely. We’re just getting him started.”

RB LEONARD FOURNETTE (Transcribed by Ellie Pardee and Edgar Veliz)

How would you describe tonight?
“I’d say that tonight was productive. Our whole focus was just to win the game, just to boost us for next season, and I think we did an excellent job.”

What did having OC Cam Cameron on the sidelines instead of in the booth do for you guys?
“Well, really make us nervous you know. You don’t want to mess up, just stick to the game plan and he’s right there helping us each and every way basically with the little things.”

It seems like as the year went on you ran angrier, more fierce, is that accurate?
“My job is to run the ball. Each and every play, each and every down, those guys they’re going hard for me to open the holes for me, so my job is to run the ball.”

Do you feed off of the defense trying to stop you?
“Yeah, I do. I think our whole offense feeds off of it as you see Malachi (Dupre), John (Diarse), Trey Quinn, they had some big plays when we needed them. They came through.”

Did the passing game open up the running game for you tonight?
“Yeah I believe it did. I believe just working on it in practice, the little time we had off – y’all may not know this, but everybody got to practice outside of coaching, just to send the seniors off with a W. I think that motivated us more in practice, even though we were tired each and every day, tired of practicing, it’s a mental thing. We got through it as a team.”

As the night was going on could you tell it would be a special night?
“No, not really, but at any minute the offense could score. Pretty much, they had us on our heels their offense, they scored, we had to score. That was our mentality.”

What does a game like tonight do for next year?
“Just in the back of my mind, just knowing what we have, no doubt we – to me we have the most athletes of any college to me, and just come out next year firing.”

I saw Coach Miles do the ‘dab’ after the school song, but that dance is kind of old right?
“It’s not old, but I’m going to teach him the new dance I did in the end zone. It’s called – by Plies, when the whole o-line started jogging. I’m going to teach him that.”

Can you tell us what it’s called?
“Plies actually came out with a song called “Ritz Carlton”, it was about a hotel and he just say he ran off on the plug twice. He was just jogging in the bathroom.”

How great was it to see WR D.J. Chark have a big game?
“I started off with him as my roommate. I was just so excited for him. Outside of football, he’s my brother. He’s actually who I lived with my freshman year, and we grew to be brothers, man. It was a special moment. I knew his time was coming, and he’s one of the fastest people on the team, him and Donte (Jackson). It was a special moment for me to see him finally get the ball and score.”

How much did you practice that throw this week?
“I was so tired, that’s why I threw the ball like that. I apologized to him about that. It should have been a touchdown, but I’ll get it back to him.”

Do you practice that every week or was this a one-time type of thing?
“I throw it at practice. I get at quarterback and just throw the ball.”

What was your favorite touchdown of the game?
“Everyone of them. Those guys were going 100 percent for me. The credit goes to the offensive line and wide receivers. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me all season. I just can’t wait to get out there next season.”

Did you know you were close to 2,000 yards rushing for the season?
”Yeah, I did. I got out of the game. I wanted Daryl (Chark) or Darrius (Guice) to get a touchdown. I’m not the type of person to (sic) . Records are meant to be broken and I may break it next year.”

Did you feel that the Texas Tech defense was on its heels in the fourth quarter?
“Yeah, I could see that they were getting tired. Actually, they were kind of smothering us. I just kept pounding the ball, running it down their throat.

What are your personal goals for next year?
“Win a championship. Win a championship with the team. I haven’t won a championship since my pop ball days. I was 7 or 8 years old.”

Do you think this team can win a championship?
“Yes, I think we can.”

LSU LB DEION JONES AND OT VADAL ALEXANDER (Transcribed by Ryan Cantrell and Christina Johns)
How does it feel knowing that you were able to execute your game plan?
Alexander: “It is a great feeling. The guys were phenomenal in this game, from the o-line to the tight ends to the fullback, (Bry’Kiethon) Muton and obviously, Leonard (Fournette) and Derrius (Guice) and even Brandon Harris, quarterback, we rushed for a lot of yards and that is a credit to the coaches and how we worked to get to this game.”

Is this how you envisioned your last game?
Alexander: “It really couldn’t of gotten any better than this for us and the game itself. We dominated, I thought, upfront and the offense as a whole. It couldn’t be a better feeling.”

What is that feeling like for you walking off the field for the last time?
Jones: “I think I am going to realize, it is going to come around to me later, but I took my time to enjoy it, definitely.”

How did you get so much pressure?
Jones: “I have to give that to the coaches, making sure that we are prepared and knowing what they are doing and guys going 100 percent and giving the maximum effort on every play.”

Did that interception feel like it changed some things in the game?
Jones: “Oh yeah, that was big. I was a great play by Rickey (Jefferson) keeping the ball live after shack made a good breakup. I think that I really needed that one, I was getting a little winded.”

How much did the passing game help your running game?
Alexander: “No doubt, Brandon (Harris) played a really good game and right when we needed it and he executed great passing plays. Our receivers and our tight ends and our check downs, all phenomenal definitely right on time.”

Did RB Leonard Fournette seem to run madder as the season progressed?
Alexander: “A guy as competitive as Leonard to come into this game, he wanted to prove to everybody that he’s that running back that everyone thinks he is, and obviously we believe in him. He’s the best running back in the country in my opinion.”

What was it like to finish the season after being a special teams player and backup, then being the leading tackler?
Jones: “This whole year has been a blessing. It’s kind of hard to leave it all behind, but this year has really been special. There’s a lot of followed dreams on the field playing for LSU’s defense and getting after it and being the leading tackler. That’s what I dreamed of all the time when I was young watching LSU. So it’s been a blessing. It’s going to be hard to leave it all behind.”

When did you know that Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron was going to be on the sideline for the game and how did it affect things for the offense?
Alexander: “He told me about two or three days ago that he was going to change it up and be on the sideline. I thought it worked wonders. He was talking to us, came down after every drive, communicating with us on where his mind was at and where we were going with things. I thought it was a great decision he made to do that.”

How much better is it to play with an offense like this?
Jones: “They came out clutching this one. After chasing the quarterback around and them holding the ball for a good bit of time for us time to recuperate and get our feet under us, it helps a lot, especially defensively.”

Where is the future of LSU football going?
Alexander: “Obviously, to start the season, you could see how much potential for greatness we have as a team, and just going into next year, the talent that we have and a lot of the young guys we have this year, it’s just going to get nothing but better. I’ve heard we have the No. 1 recruiting class coming in. Everybody’s going to improve from our tight ends to our fullbacks obviously, and just the DBs, our secondary and our whole defense. It’s something to look forward to and I know my guys are going to handle their business.”
Jones: “I think LSU will maintain the same style of football that they always played. The guys that we’re leaving behind, they’ll step up and make sure that the class that’s coming in has that same mentality. And I can’t wait to watch them play next year.”