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Eating with Ed - Week 12, Tennessee

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NCAA Football: Arkansas at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Coach O starts off with some compliments to the academic staff for the graduation rates and some thanks to the band for the halftime show. Has some nice words about Tennessee interim coach Brady Hoke and his own brief time in Knoxville. Focuses talk about Vol players on their receivers, the tight ends, and their defense. On to questions:

  • Coach Hoke announced UT would close practice for this week to implement a new gameplan, but O says there’s not much new you can do in a week and he isnt too worried about it.
  • He knows from his own recent experience that the Vol players will give their best effort this week and probably play better than they have most of the season, LSU has to be ready for it. Lot’s of crowd noise and Rocky Top on repeat at practice this week.
  • Injuries: Arden Key “Questionable” (Likely knee bruise, based on what was seen on the sideline during the game). K.J. Malone “Very Questionable”
  • Lots of compliments for Devin White earning his 3rd SEC Defensive PotW, O says he’s a great leader of the team, even as a Sophomore.
  • Isn’t happy with the current lack of turnovers being caused by the defense, says it’s something he and DC Dave Aranda are working on to improve. O is happy that the offense doesn’t have turnover issues.
  • Still has confidence in DJ Chark as a return man. Even though Chark did bobble one this week, O still thinks the coverage unit has to do a better job to give him a chance.
  • This game will be important for recruiting in the Memphis area. Gave some compliments to the work of Austin Thomas in that area.
  • Out of nowhere, Ted Castillo returned to the presser this week to (eventually) ask O if he would be in favor of eliminating the kickoff return. Coach O:

No. I have a four-letter word in front of that, then no. (Laughter) No. No. I love the physicality of football.

I want to say this to you, you know I understand the safety and stuff like that, and I'm all for it. But we grew up in the backyard playing football. Since we were four, five six years old, playing tackle football. And I thought it was good for us. Football is a great sport.

  • This actually led into a few questions about the kickoff unit, with compliments for some of the gunners like Tory Carter, Ray Thornton, and Russell Gage. O also revealed that Cam Gamble has some inconsistencies in his footwork that they are trying to iron out.
  • Says he’s learned that this team handles road trips better if they stay focused. He avoids giving them too much break time or taking them to movies, keeps them in team meetings whenever they can.
  • At the very end of the presser, Coach O revealed that Danny Etling went into the Arkansas game hurt, hurt enough that the training staff warned O about it. O told Danny at halftime that he believed he would get the job done and he did. This led to some great questions in an interview with Etling later in the day.

Transcript

LSU Game Notes

Tennessee Game Notes