John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
ED ORGERON: What a great experience we've had. What a great journey for this football team. I want to congratulate Coach Swinney and his outstanding achievements so far that he's done as a coaching career. I think he's a model of other coaches that have been interim coaches and had success. He's a friend of mine. I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of respect for his football team. I want to thank the playoff system for having us here at the championship game. New Orleans has been great. It'll be a great game.

Q. Coach Orgeron, your team throughout the year, no matter the quote-unquote, big game, there never seems to be any nerves or nervousness. When you go into a game like this, how are you approaching the psychology -- it's easy to say it's another game but you're in the National Championship.

ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, we didn't talk about going to play for the National Championship. We talked about we have to prepare to beat Clemson, one game at a time, just like we've done. We have trusted the process. Today is focus Friday. The guys are getting excited. They are getting antsy. I can feel it. I'm getting antsy, too. But I think we have to continue to work up through game time. They are going to make plays. We're going to make plays. We have to work for 60 minutes and focus on winning the game and not worry about all the other stuff, block out all the noise just like we did all year.

Q. To both of you, similar question. Coach O, you've had a lot of reaction to your accent over the years. I know some of the players have impersonations and things like that. How important is the accent to you and what it represents? And Coach Swinney, I know you present a certain way publicly. Your players say you're the exact same guy to them. How important is that authenticity to you?

ED ORGERON: You know, being Cajun, I'm very proud of being Cajun. My grandparents didn't speak English, and my mother and father spoke Cajun French at the table and then when they wanted to talk about me they spoke Cajun French, so I learned Cajun French. So I'm excited to be at LSU at home where we're proud of our Cajun heritage. We're proud to be from Louisiana. I'm just feel at home here. People that made fun of my accent before, I thank them. That gave me internal motivation to do better, so I thank them to be motivators of my career.

Q. We've marveled a lot about Joe's preparation and his thoroughness in that preparation. Have you ever been around a college player who really doesn't want to partake in any of the college scene? And has that rubbed off on the guys that have been around him?

ED ORGERON: I've never been around a player like Joe, and obviously he's very talented and he's a leader, but day in and day out, he's the same guy. Very focused, focused on the task at hand. It's about execution and winning and being great. Last game he threw, what, eight touchdowns, and he wasn't satisfied. I mean, that's him. And you go out to practice, and I'll ask him, how's it going? I'll go to pass rush and I'll come to 7-on-7, how's it going, Joe? And rarely does he tell me everything is fine. The guy is a perfectionist. It does rub off on our football team. He's an outstanding leader.

Q. A lot of these kids obviously on your team wanted to play in the Superdome in high school but even Grant Delpit talked about how he moved away after Katrina. Do you find the players are taking this game more personally because of the city it's in?

ED ORGERON: I do believe that. There's a lot of things you can look at this game for motivation, and the only motivation we've used is to finish strong and focus on winning the game. But those external motivations are there. These guys have always wanted to play in the Dome. Grant is from New Orleans. His family was displaced from Katrina. All his family will be there. It will mean more to our guys that we're playing here in New Orleans for the championship, no question.

Q. Ed, two questions. Would you update us on where Damien Lewis is at for you guys, and last night at the Eddie Robinson, your mentor mentioned him. What kind of moment did you have in the things he might have said to you?

ED ORGERON: Well, Damien is ready to play. Jack Marucci and Tommy Moffitt, those guys, Shelby, everybody down there, they do a tremendous job. I've never been around a training staff that gets guys back so fast. Last night I accepted an award on behalf of our staff that's very prestigious. I want to thank the Eddie Robinson family. I think it was really held in a first-class manner. What an honor to meet all these people, to meet his family. Brian Kenny was a mentor of mine in Los Angeles, California, I think for two years straight I called him at 6:00 every morning and he answered the phone every morning. He helped me out in my personal life. So I wanted him to be here yesterday for that event, and he's a lifelong friend.

ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, those are things for you guys to write about. My mind can't even think about that right now. I have been a football fan, but I'm going to focus Friday. That's all I know.

Q. Coach O, one could argue and say that your offense hasn't faced a team as dominant as Clemson presents. What part in the past success has made you guys ready for this exact moment of tomorrow?

ED ORGERON: Well, first of all, Brent Venables, I have a lot of respect for him. You watch their tape, they're in the right place at the right time. He knows how to attack protections. They use that No. 11 in great spots. We've got to know where he's at all the time. But you know the team that we played, we played some really good defenses, and our guys have done a good job.

Obviously with our offense, we have seen new defenses that we haven't practiced against sometimes. Sometimes we've seen the same defense. I think this game is going to come down to adjustments made during the game. Obviously Clemson has had a lot of time to practice, we've had a lot of time to practice. Sometimes people put in something new, sometimes they don't. They may run the same stuff. We've watched every play they've run, they've watched every play we run, so we are going to be prepared.

But I think when it comes down to coaches making the proper calls, I think what we have an advantage of with this year more than any other team I've been with, that Joe can execute those plays, and we put playmakers in space and let them play.

Q. Coach O, I've heard Clemson's answers about the long delay until you play. I was just curious, I hadn't heard your thoughts. Is this the right amount of time for this game? Do you feel the preparation was needed?

ED ORGERON: You know, for us, we needed the rest. We gave our guys ample rest. We practiced four days, we gave them three days off, and then we went through a regular game week of planning. So I think it's been good.

It seems like right now everybody is getting a little antsy to play. Those things, sometimes you've got to adjust to whatever they tell you to do, so we don't blink. They tell us it's 16 days, it's 16, they tell us it's seven, it's seven. We just go.

Q. Coach O, can you touch on the importance of Michael Divinity's return to the defense? And also Myles Brennan's status for the ballgame?

ED ORGERON: Yeah, you know, Mike is going to help us, especially in pass rush situations. Now, there's some times, a certain situation he could be on the field on 1st down. It all depends what personnel grouping we get, but Mike is a very good player, a very good pass rusher. He brings energy to the football team. I want to give Mike credit for sticking with it. He had to take a couple of games off. He had the opportunity, he could have left to get ready for the NFL. He didn't. He practiced with the team every day. He did the thing he was supposed to, and now he's playing in the championship game.

Myles Brennan is fine, ready to go.

Q. Kristian Fulton rarely gets talked about this season, a lot of focus on Derek Stingley. Is that in some ways a compliment to the way Kristian has played this season?

ED ORGERON: Yes, I do believe. They watch film, they look at tape, they have great receivers, man, those receivers are going to be a challenge. Obviously we feel Derek is a phenomenal player, so is Kristian. Kristian is a great story. Kristian is a great story. His family is right here from New Orleans. He competed, he was suspended, could not play. They fought the suspension, he came to practice every day. The suspension was let go, and he could play, and what a great story. Now he's playing right there from Rummel High School right here in New Orleans. So great story with Kristian. Outstanding player.

Q. Ed, could you reflect on Michael Divinity's decision to come back, specifically knowing that he may never play another game for LSU unless you made it this far? And I would also welcome Coach Swinney's comments on a player's decision to do something like that.

ED ORGERON: Well, first of all, for players playing throughout the year, regardless, it's your team, you play for your football team, one team, one heartbeat, that's my opinion, and my opinion only. I know the special circumstances to opt out to go to the NFL, and again, that's their personal decision. But me personally, I think I'm a team man; you stay with your team. Michael did that. Michael had a chance to go out early last year. He wanted to come back. He wanted to finish his career at LSU. He had a bump in the road. He paid his penalty, and he came back. So it tells you a lot about his character, tells you a lot about his grit and who he is.

Q. Coach O, I don't remember when you started the block-out-the-noise mantra, but you've had some personal hurdles and obstacles to overcome in your life. I've heard you reference your faith and Kelly's faith getting you through those. Did the block-out-the-noise mantra even leak into your personal life?

ED ORGERON: No, I think at the beginning of my career I had to block out the negative noise. There was a lot of negative noise. I couldn't let it affect me, and there was no way I would. And I know the team would listen to stuff like that, but it was about blocking out the noise.

And then early in my career at LSU we faced some adversity, some strong adversity, and it was time to block out the noise. We can see through the adversity it made us stronger. I do believe the loss to Troy was a turning point in our program. It helped us realize what we had to get done, what we had to do as a coaching staff, as players. We could never let our hands down. We always have our hands up and ready to prepare for every game.

I think that -- so now the noise is good. Look, they're going to be on that Twitter machine. I know they will. You can't stop them, know what I'm saying? But we don't talk about individual awards. We don't talk about anything except the task at hand, and we keep everything team, and I think that helps us out.

Q. Coach O, I wonder over the last few weeks or few months if you have reflected on when you were at Mandeville High School and your sabbatical, watching your son practice, and then all of a sudden you're here right now, kind of what that's --

ED ORGERON: Well, now that you mention it, I haven't. I really have been focused in on the game plan and the monumental task we have tomorrow night and giving everything to the football team. But you know what, it was a good time. I didn't get the job at USC. I realize now it was for a reason. It was to come home. I got to spend a whole year. I had never seen my kids play. I went to every practice, every game. Cooked a lot of food in the backyard. Had a blast. And then was very fortunate that Coach Miles hired me. I wanted to come back to Louisiana. I wanted to be at LSU, and Coach Miles hired me, and for that I'm forever grateful.
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they're going to be on that Twitter machine. I know they will - Ed Orgeron
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