ORLANDO, Fla. — LSU coach Ed Orgeron and junior running back Derrius Guice sat at the podium together after the Tiger's fell short against Notre Dame, 21-17.
Here is the full press conference:
Oregon opening statement: I compliment our team for fighting hard. Played 60 minutes. Although we played very poorly, especially in the special teams area, we gave ourselves a chance to win by going up with under two minutes left to go in the game. Give credit to them. They made a play. It was a tremendous play by their receiver. Our guys fought hard. We're looking at the overall picture of the season. I'm very proud of our football team going from 3-2 to 9-3 and battling in the SEC West.
We made some tremendous improvement over the season. I'm proud of this football team and our coaching staff.
Obviously we're very disappointed in this loss. I told the team to put it on me. I should have prepared them better. (There are) some things that we need to get fixed and we are going to fix them, especially in the areas that we didn't perform.
Derrius is with me today, a young man I'm proud of. I'm really proud of Derrius Guice and what he represents, LSU in his heart and what he's made us.
Moderator: Derrius, Coach, we talked in the days leading up to the game about everything you've given to this team and you've certainly been in here on both ends of the spectrum. What are your thoughts right now?
Guice: Coach O is a guy that really helped change my life. I thank God for him every day, for giving me the opportunity time in and time out, trusting me with the ball, trusting me as a leader. Time in and time out, he chose me as a team captain. He did a hell of a job preparing us for this game, man. You know we just couldn't finish the job that we needed to finish. Like Coach said, we played poorly. It starts with us. We should have finished every drive in the end zone. So we just got to move on from here and make it better.
Question: Derrius, I'd like to know: Were the defenses that good in the first three quarters? Offenses didn't seem like they showed up till the last quarter?
Guice: It was both ways. You know, we went into halftime with the score 3 0, you know. Just started slow. Like I say, we didn't finish the jobs. Our special teams was lacking, did pretty poorly. And like I say, we just got to finish drives in the end zone.
Q: How do you think the change in the quarterback position by Notre Dame affected you guys defensively?
Orgeron: I think he made a difference. Obviously we had a plan for Wimbush. We were going to stop the run. Obviously he came around and scrambled. You know, he had a couple of zone plays that gave us some problems that were out of pitch. He made some plays. He extended some plays with his feet and he threw on the ball very well. I'll give him some credit.
Q: Coach, can you talk about the special teams in the first half, the things that went wrong and in the off season, can you hire a special teams coach?
Orgeron: Yes. No question. I will hire a special teams coach full time. That's something that we plan on doing pretty soon. Obviously, missing the field goals and the botched return punts -- and that was unlike D.J. We never did that all year and then we missed a step. He gets a big kickoff, but we just looked sloppy. Twice we had ten men on the field. We hadn't had that all year and put it on me. He's got to do a better job. I do believe that hiring a full time special teams coach will make difference. And, again, we went out and got the best placekicker in the country and I think that's also going to make a difference.
Q: Ed, what can you say about the status of the offensive coordinator position and a lot of reports about Matt Canada?
Orgeron: This game was all focusing on Notre Dame, and that's all it's been. It's all it is right now.
Q: Ed, how much thought did you put into going for it on the fourth down there after Derrius came up short?
Orgeron: Obviously, you think about it, but you go ahead. You go ahead with under two minutes left to go and your defense has played well. I didn't think they were going to score. I thought we could stop them and I wanted to give our team a chance to win. Obviously we went for it on fourth and one and we had a penalty. We had a penalty and then we missed a field goal so I didn't want to do that again. And we had done it. Maybe if we had got it on fourth and one the first time, maybe I'd have done it again, but there was no way I was going to do that. I was going to give our team the best chance to win. That was to get the three points.
Q: Coach, your view of the game winning touchdown pass and how your guys defended that?
Orgeron: Yes. tremendous — you know, a tremendous catch by him, obviously. We had Donte on him, our best cover guy. He's a bigger receiver but he made a tremendous grab. Great catch by him. It was a poor job of us making the tackle. We missed the tackle. We should have lived to play another down there. We had two guys on him and missed the tackle, and that's what I'm most disappointed on.
Q: Derrius, did you think that you crossed the plane on that last touch, and have you made any decisions about what happens with you after this game?
Guice: Well, I did think I was across. But, you know, it's my fault. Next time I need to make it more clear.
Q: Ed, early on, offensively, what was going wrong for you guys? I mean, y'all got — moved it down there, but when you got in the red zone, what happened?
Orgeron: Yeah, you know, we bogged down in the red zone. That's something that we've got to get better, the red zone offense. It looks like I'm going to have to watch the film to find out what's going on. But we just bogged down there, and, you know, it's something we need to get better at.
Q: Coach, I know you brought on Greg McMahon as kind of a consultant role. If you're going to hire a special teams coordinator for next year, what would be his role? Would that be him?
Orgeron: He would be highly considered as a special teams coordinator for sure. There's no doubt. That's been my plan the whole time, and he is in the high consideration once I make that choice.
Q: Derrius, what is your timetable right now for making a decision about what you're going to do next season, and how do you feel about it right now as best you can say?
Guice: Well, me and Coach O just have to have a deep conversation about it and see where it goes.
Orgeron: Put my recruiting hat on.
Q: Derrius, did you get dinged up a little bit at the end of the first quarter? You went almost 13 minutes, I think, without touching the ball, or is that just how the game played out?
Guice: It's just how the game played out. You know, I have another great running back behind me, we need to get him some touches, get him some carries as well. It's just about being a team player. You know, I'm not crying and moaning for carries and for playing time. You know, I want Darrel, Nick, and Clyde to get in so it's just all part of the game plan.
Q: This is the end of one year but the start of another. Those young linebackers played pretty well. If you could kind of give us a look towards 2018.
Orgeron: I'm excited about our recruiting class that will be coming in. Obviously, we're going to have to be training a new quarterback. We have several young quarterbacks that I think are going to be great players. We've got to replace some seniors. We've got to replace some senior defensive linemen. Got to prepare for some guys that are going to be going out in the draft. Obviously, if a guy like Derrius Guice goes and Darrel goes you now we'll have a hole there running back. We have some young guys that I think are going to be pretty good. We've got some young recruits that I think will be pretty good. We're going to have to look at the overall picture. You know, we have four guys left to sign. There is going to be critical areas for us to sign and fill. I'm glad that we got a placekicker. Obviously, we know that we need that. Nothing against the guys that we have, but they just haven't performed in the way that we want to.
We have to replace D.J. Chark and Russell Gage. You know, Terrace Marshall was the Number 1 receiver in the country. We may get another big time receiver coming up soon. So we think we will replace those guys, but there are going to be some new faces on offense.
Q: Derrius, how do you weigh, you know, the positives and negatives of going pro or staying for senior year?
Guice: I don't. I don't really think about it. The whole focus has been on this last game the past month, actually.