HOOVER, Ala. (WAFB) - SEC Media Days get underway Monday, July 15 in Hoover, Ala. with the LSU contingency fielding questions from sports journalists on the first afternoon of the conference.
Head coach Ed Orgeron was joined by quarterback Joe Burrow, All-America safety Grant Delpit, and center Lloyd Cushenberry.
Orgeron answered some questions right off the bat, saying freshmen Derek Stingley Jr. and Apu Ika are already penciled in as starters on defense. Stingley is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback. Ika is a 6-foot-4, 347-pound nose tackle. Orgeron added the Tigers will work more four-man fronts on the defensive line this season.
“First thing we have to do is block out the noise," said Orgeron. "Last year [when] we came here, there was a lot of negative about our program. This year, there is a lot of positive about the program. When we get to camp, we have to forget all that. We have to get back to fundamentals.”
Orgeron is 25-9 for a .735 winning percentage leading the Tigers.
“It is harder to block out; not going to lie, it is," added Burrow. "But you kind of have to because you’ll get too big for your britches. Sorry, cliche saying. Try to avoid those. But yeah, you don’t want to go into the season with too much or too little confidence. Another cliche. Sorry. You want to try and get better every day.”
The 6-foot-4, 216-pound senior signal-caller had 3,293 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns last season. See the full transcript of his quotes
“I personally still have a burning ball of fire in my chest from the couple games we dropped [that] I feel like we should have won," Delpit explained. "So, I don’t think we need extra motivation, but we’re definitely ready for the season.”
The 6-foot-3, 203-pound junior safety finished the season with 74 tackles, five sacks, and five interceptions.
“Some guys talk about tough, but they’re not that darn tough, but he don’t say a darn thing and he’s tough as a linebacker. He reminds me a lot of Bobby Hebert. Bobby was a teammate of mine. Bobby had a lot of those intangibles. Was tough. Could take a hit," Orgeron said of Burrow.
The season opener for the Tigers is August 31, but the trip to Austin the next week will be the early season headliner. The SEC opener is in Nashville against Vanderbilt on September 21. The gauntlet really begins with Florida on October 12. As always, Alabama will be the first Saturday of November. Then, the rematch of the seven overtime game against Texas A&M is in Tiger Stadium this season.
There is a link to the full schedule below in the Related Stories section.
“I believe Grant Delpit is the best returning defensive player in the country,” said Orgeron.
Burrow told the audience he thinks the LSU offense could score 40, 50, or 60 points per game in his second year as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.
What gives him that confidence?
“We have everybody back,” said Burrow.
“We’ve got a great shot. We can be as good as we want to be,” said Delpit when asked about LSU contending for the SEC Championship.
“It’s ups and downs,” Burrow added on adversity great quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have faced on their way to success.
“I think we have one of the best groups [of wide receivers] in the country,” said Cushenberry.
Burrow had a blast and was hilarious at SEC Media Days.
“Louisiana food is better than Ohio food,” said Burrow.
It was a reminder once again that these are young people who are college students and not professional athletes. However, needless to say, a ton of pressure is placed on them.
Orgeron said he’s not as optimistic as he once was about Ed Ingram returning to team. It called the process “prolonged.”
The Tigers were paired with the Florida Gators for the afternoon session. Missouri was featured in the morning session.
SEC football returns in just 40 days. Commissioner Greg Sankey announced SEC Media Days will be in Atlanta next year and then in Nashville in 2021.
What are your feelings on the targeting rule and calls like the one on Devin White last year?
“I hadn’t heard about that controversy,” Sankey repliec with a wry smile on his face.
“The reality of targeting is that it is a well-intended rule that is hard to officiate,” Sanky later added.