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by TD Staff ReporterOctober 1, 2019
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Utah State coach Gary Andersen addressed the media Monday for his weekly press conference to preview Saturday's game vs. LSU in Tiger Stadium. Here's what he had to say:
“It is a big challenge, obviously. They’re a great football team. They’re battling like crazy to keep themselves in a top-four spot. To me, on film, they appear to be where they should be. They’re very talented, and they play very well. They have great athletes and are well coached. It will be a tremendous challenge. We’re walking into an early-morning kickoff, which will be a good thing for us. I like the opportunity to play an early kickoff. It will be a great place to play for our guys. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime type thing. This team gets to fly across the country and go play these guys in that setting, and play a team that is ranked high nationally and has a great fan base. It will be very loud. One of the big things for this game is we’re going to practice in 50-degree weather all week long, and it’s going to be 95 degrees in Louisiana with high humidity. That will be our challenge, to make sure we hydrate and get ourselves to where we need to be in those positions, those spots. We may be used to that in August, but we’re not used to that now. Potentially, it will be a 40 to 50-degree swing in the temperature from what we’re used to playing in this week of practice. That will be something our guys will need to keep their eye on, and we need our trainers to make sure we’re ready to play the football game. It’s a great opportunity, and we’re excited to start preparing.”
On the importance of the secondary against LSU:
“It’s a big deal in this game. Speed and space are something we talk about all the time. At some point in speed and space, the coaching is over, but we do all we can to help them get in those spots. Running to the football and having more than one guy around the football as much as we possibly can, and having those guys be able to keep an eye on the ball and be able to close it down and try to keep them in a phone booth instead of giving them a third of the field to be able to make you miss. It’s hard for any position group or any single player to tackle a guy when there’s a bunch of grass out there. That’s what LSU’s offense is designed to do, and that’s what our offense is designed to do, is to get people in space and make them miss once you get the ball in your hands. It’s not just their wide receivers. Their running backs are very talented. They’re strong, powerful players who have the ability to make you miss. You’re throwing that film on and basically, the offense starts the game and all of sudden it’s like 35 to nothing, or whatever. They score really quickly. They score awful fast. You have to be able to, hopefully, find a way to try and confuse the quarterback a little bit. He’s a very talented player. He’s been in this thing for a long time and done a lot of good things. But, we have to try and get him off his absolute knowledge of, ‘Okay, I’ve seen this on film 35,000 times and here we go. It’s the way it’s been for me and how I’m taught to be able to do it.’ And then, we have to be able to tackle well. That’s a big, strong, physical offensive line. They’re not who they are and they’re not ranked where they are because they’re not deserving. There’s not a bunch of chinks in their armor where you sit there and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to exploit this guy.’ You’re going to have to earn your right in all phases.”
On LSU associate head coach and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and safeties coach Bill Busch:
“Corey (Raymond) is there, too. So, three of those guys on their defensive staff at LSU have been here at Utah State, and really got a good, fresh start here that catapulted them to where they are today which is awesome to see. But, with Dave, specifically, Dave was at Hawai’i and we, obviously, coached against Hawai’i that year. Coach (Greg) McMackin, who I’d known a long time, was the head coach at Hawai’i. When we had the opportunity to hire a defensive coordinator, I was looking around and asking people about defensive coordinators. I had met Dave at a camp in Hawaii, a high school camp, and we spent three or four days together at the camp coaching the D-line and talking back and forth, but I didn’t know him at all other than that. Those three days were big, though. Coach McMackin said, ‘Gary, there is one guy you need to hire and it’s Dave Aranda.’ So, I got talking to Dave and got to spend some time with him. At that point, we were in a transition. We were in a transition from a four-down front moving to a three-down front. It’s the same deal you do every year. You get your best level players, and we had Kyler (Fackrell) and Zach and Nick Vigil, and had a lot of outside linebacker and linebacker-type guys, so we wanted to get into the odd front. He hadn’t really done it, but we wanted to develop it. Dave’s done a tremendous job from that point on of just evolving the odd front, the even front and using his guys. He does it all now. He was awesome for me at Wisconsin. He’s had his opportunities and he’s taken advantage of those opportunities. Bill’s done the same thing. Corey’s been there for a long time at LSU. Now, all three of those guys are together. Dave’s a great coach and a very good person, and a family man. I’m happy for him. I’m glad we were able to give him that opportunity, but he took advantage of that opportunity at the end of the day. He had some great defensive series, had some great defenses at Wisconsin. And, obviously, at LSU, he’s had some great defenses. He’s a great person and a great coach, and I’m happy for him and his family for what’s going on.”
On LSU quarterback Joe Burrow:
“He’s got experience, obviously. I think he’s very at home and at peace, and likes the offense that he’s running. He loves the RPO’s, more so than anybody that we’ve played this year, even more so than Wake Forest, who plays a little bit of a different style, which was very effective. This guy is going to stick that ball in there and is really going to look and see, and just has tremendous trust in pulling the ball and throwing it late on some of the RPO’s to let them open up. You can take windows of RPO’s away with different things, and I try not to get too technical in these discussions, but there are opportunities to take windows away early, but then they’re going to come open later. He does a nice job of playing that chess match, if you will, with the backfield, and with the defense as a whole. As far as the RPO’s, he throws the deep ball nice, he gives his receivers an opportunity to make plays, and he’s also athletic enough to get himself out of trouble. Teams have tried a lot of different things against him. They’ve tried pressure against him, and I would say that’s been probably the least effective part for the defenses. He’s carved up pressures and really given his skill players a chance to catch the ball in space, and that has not gone well. Texas and some other teams have tried to drop eight a lot, and that’s where the chess match comes in. Can you get him off his point with a three-man rush and cause some problems, or is he going to sit back there for five or six seconds with a really good O-line and still have the ability to pick you apart? He’s a great fit for what they do, he’s a great quarterback, and he’s surrounded by extremely talented kids.”
On how difficult it is to prepare for a defense with as much depth as LSU:
“Again, you don’t look out there and say, ‘Hey, there is just an average guy, we can work to take advantage of him.’ They fly around, they play hard, they have high expectations to play hard defense every single week. You just don’t see a bunch of missed assignments, you don’t see a bunch of errors, and you don’t see a lack of communication forthe most part. They’re used to playing against a fast-paced offense, which, that probably helps them and will help them against us I’m sure. Playing fast isn’t something they’re not used to. Hopefully, we can get into those situations sometimes and cause some confusion, that’s always the goal, but they’ll have the same goal for us.”
On whether Dave Aranda’s defense is similar to the one he ran at Wisconsin:
“There are some similarities. He still likes a lot of the odd-front things. I haven’t watched that much of it, that would probably be a better question for the offensive guys, but I know they’re still playing a lot of the tight front and they’ll play some even things. They do a nice job of mixing it up and changing things week in and week out, yet staying within their structure. I’m sure that after a bye week they’ll have a couple things for us to deal with.”
Filed Under: LSU Football
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