ATLANTA (WAFB) - The LSU Tigers are hoping to wait until Saturday to celebrate Christmas with a berth in the National Championship game. First, they must deal with the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Tigers held practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 10:30 a.m. (Central). It was closed to the media.
One guy who certainly doesn’t mind working on Christmas Day is LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.
He has worked so well this season with new passing coordinator Joe Brady to make the Tigers’ offense so explosive, resulting in the Heisman Trophy for quarterback Joe Burrow.
Ensminger said he’s having a good time and hopes he doesn’t get pushed out the door too early.
“Hell, I’m young (laughter),” Ensminger joked. “I’m 61. I won’t be like Coach [John] Robinson. I won’t coach until I’m 80, but do I look forward to the rest - I look forward to finishing this season and we’ll make that decision after. I still want to coach. I enjoy coaching. I think we have special athletes. I’m sitting next to three of them right here. So, as long as I feel like I can contribute to LSU, I will be there. If I feel like - it’s kind of like, you know, Joe Brady coming in here and helping us. If I feel like, hey, somebody else can do it better, I’ll walk away from it. That’s the way it is.”
On the other side of the ball, there’s no doubt the LSU defense under coordinator Dave Aranda has really improved down the stretch, heading into the College Football Playoff Semifinal against Oklahoma.
But Jalen Hurts will be the top scrambling quarterback the Tigers have seen since Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee rushed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns against them in Oxford.
“I would say yes; I think it’s a different style of runner,” said Aranda. “Hurts like to put his foot in the ground quite a bit, where I think Plumlee is more of a straight-line guy, where I think Hurts will try to set you up and cut it back on you. So, I feel like the mistake I made in the Ole Miss game was when we had a breakdown here or breakdown there, I didn’t pull everybody to the side and get them together and say, ‘Hey, this is what happened. This is where I went wrong. This is how we fix it.’ I feel I try to do that as best I can. I feel like in the past, I have. I don’t know why in that game I did not.”
Burrow, in the meantime, has made history by becoming the Tigers’ first Heisman winner in 60 years. However, what’s most important to Burrow is two more victories and a national title.
“It’s been a long one, you know,” said Burrow. “I think that’s kind of been the story of college football season with three of the Heisman finalists being transfers and having long roads and battling through adversity. I just try to leave a legacy of hard work and leadership and loyalty and let the rest take care of itself.”
“The biggest thing that they do that I appreciate is they ask for my input in the offense. And, they not only ask for it, but they implement it. And, you know, Coach E and Coach Joe come to me on Monday, ask for ideas, and they’ll be in the game plan Tuesday. Thursday and Friday, I’ll get a play sheet and cross out the ones I don’t like and they won’t call it. So, it’s been a great meshing together,” Burrow added.
The College Football Playoff Semifinal at Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta featuring LSU against Oklahoma kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m. (Central).
The game will be shown on ESPN.
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