Breiden Fehoko

Breiden Fehoko speaks to reporters Tuesday. 

Breiden Fehoko ate each Sunday morning last fall at Louie’s Café.

His favorites are the chocolate chip pancakes and the Seafood Louie. He likes Walk On’s as well – the gumbo and crawfish.

Oh yes, this Hawaii native is fitting in off and on the field at LSU.

Dubbed a starter by coach Ed Orgeron, Fehoko spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time since last summer when he transferred from Texas Tech.

He spoke about his year off last season, a time in which his body healed, comparing it to a car needing an oil change or a realignment. He developed technically with the help of former D-line coach Pete Jenkins, sophomore Rashard Lawrence – the projected starter opposite him – and center Will Clapp, who he tussled with last fall while on scout team.

He talked at length about his bond with fellow Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles, how he helped in getting the receiver to Baton Rouge and how they spent together last season looking forward to their first Tiger Walk.

Here’s more from LSU’s now eligible defensive end.

How much did you learn in your year off?

I’m glad I did it. At first, I knew it was going to be a long process, but as the season went last year, I was like, ‘this is going by really quick.’ It’s because I was learning so much. Just being able to be around guys that new how the game worked, played a lot of football, really rubbed off on me. I know I haven’t played a game in the SEC yet, but with the coaching and leadership that’s been around me, I’ll be pretty confident I’ll be able to do well.

What’s your relationship with another Texas Tech transfer, Jonathan Giles?

That’s my brother, man. It’s funny. I think about it now, before we even signed to Tech, we always had talked about playing football together. Now that we’re here at LSU, it was just a plan that God had for us. I’m happy to be able to play with him again here.

As we both sat out last year, we both had to develop and really look at, ‘When we get back on the field, man, we need to do what we do best and play football for each other.’ I’m glad he’s here, glad to be with him. That’s my brother.

Why did you transfer from Texas Tech?

At first, it was, to me, about development. I wanted to get the best development. There was no better way to do that than to play for a school that produces NFL D-linemen and NFL players year in and year out. Not just development as a D-lineman, but as a player and man off the field. I think LSU does a really great job and there’s no better conference to compete in than the SEC West.

You and Jonathan knew each other before Tech?

Yeah, I knew Jon.

What’s your relationship like with him at Tech compared to now?

Me and Jon were great friends at Tech. Every Friday morning we’d go get Krispy Kreme donuts and stuff like that. It’s different from getting Krispy Kreme on Friday to going to Walk-Ons on Friday nights and getting gumbo and crawfish and stuff like that.

It’s been good. I’m glad I got to become close friends with Jon before we even came here to LSU. Even if we didn’t come here, we’d still be close as we are.

How much did your relationship play a role in you both coming here?

When I first made my decision to come here, Jon hadn’t declared he wanted to transfer yet. After the spring last year, he declared he wanted to transfer. When he declared, I didn’t sway him. It was just all a plan. I remember Coach O telling me, ‘What do you think about Jonathan Giles?’ I said, ‘Coach, he’s going to be the best receiver in college football come a year from now, with a redshirt year under his belt and being the talent he is.’

With that, Jon, we started talking, and LSU just became a thing. For him, it was LSU, Oregon and Florida State. I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m not trying to sway you, but I’m going to LSU and it would be cool for you to come with me.’ He took his visit, he loved it here and we’re both here.

How much time did y’all spend together last season?

Me and Jon got a lot closer last year than we expected. We were both going through the same situation. Sometimes me and Jon will just go for drives and talk, ‘Hey man, what are you looking forward to most next year?’ Jon would be like, ‘I’m looking forward to that first Tiger Walk.’

Just being with him through the process has really helped out a lot. We both went through the same thing and were there for each other.

You were a nationally ranked recruit out of high school. How much have you seen yourself development under Pete Jenkins?

As a high school recruit, every recruit thinks they’re the best thing since white on rice. I was one of those guys. I thought I could go into college as a true freshman and play football. But football is really, once you get into the high levels, it becomes a job. If you want to get better at doing a job, you’ve got to practice every day and get better at the little things because if not, you’ll get passed up.

As I started playing football, I started looking at development. I looked at those guys in the NFL: ‘Why are those guys so successful? Why are they playing 10 years compared to guys getting drafted and playing one, two years?’

It’s development. That played a big role in coming here because Coach Pete is one of the best defensive line coaches for technique. When I took my visit last year, I told myself, ‘I’ve got to be around this guy every day, got to learn every day around this guy.’

Having that year redshirting, I’m grateful for it too. I’ve learned so many things now. I’m not where I want to be yet, but just to fill that gap of knowledge that I needed… Coach Pete, Coach O and Coach (Dennis) Johnson did a good job of filling that.

What’s your relationship with Coach Johnson?

It’s great. He’s a guy that provides energy. He’s young. It’s crazy because he’s so young but the knowledge he carries in his mind … he learned under Coach Pete for numerous years. He’s really carrying the torch of what Coach Pete said. He kind of has a little bit of that energy that Coach O has. I think Coach Johnson is a unique factor. He brings that old school soul and young vibe.

Did it ever feel last year that this – the year you’re eligible – wouldn’t ever get here?

I tell you what … we were doing July summer workouts with Coach Moffitt. I was like, ‘Boy, I’ve got to wait all the way until March of next year to put on the (non-scout team) pads again. ‘

During those summer workouts with Coach Moffitt is no joke, but it went by pretty quick for the most part. It was slow, but as soon as fall camp came around, it went by pretty quick. I think the locker room vibe, being around everybody. Everybody was so happy to be here. Coaches were so engaged in the players. Made everything go by that much quicker.

You said in May you wanted to get healthy during the off year. Did you get healthy and what got healthy exactly?

Just my body. I played a lot of snaps my first two years in college. Not really injuries but kinks along the way. It’s like getting a car oil changed every 5,000 miles. You’re going to need a rest every once in a while, get a new alignment. Just being able to take last spring off and really be able to redshirt this year and play on scout team really saved my body a lot. Not being able to play in a college football game, I know in the SEC all the big men you’re going to play, really played a big role. I’m healthy now and – knock on wood – I stay healthy.

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LSU DL Breiden Fehoko carries his luggage and bedding upstairs to his room at West Campus Apartments last August during the check-in period.

What did you play on scout team?

I played everywhere. I played 5-tech, 6, 3, nose. That was a good thing, too. They gave me the game plan and Coach O was like, ‘Here’s where you’re going to be today.’

When we played Alabama last year, I had to play their 4i technique. When we played Syracuse, I had to play their 3-technique.

Where will you play here?

More than likely defensive end. But if anything does change, if I do need to play nose, I’ll play. Wherever the team needs me to play, I’m just happy to be back on the field.

Who was the toughest lineman you went again last year on the O-line?

Strength wise, Toby Weathersby. Technique wise, Will Clapp, without a doubt. Will was such a great technician in what he did. Got me really better day in and day out just to go up with him.

What’s your relationship like with Rashard Lawrence?

Great. Rashard is one of my best friends. Known Rashard and Ed Alexander since high school. They came to the Under Armour Game. They had that showcase there and that’s where I met Rashard. When I came here, me and Rashard kind of clicked. On Sundays after the game, me and Rashard would go down to Louie’s. After Auburn we went, every Sunday and get some chocolate chip pancakes, that seafood Louie. We’d grub and talk about the game before.

He’s been a big help, helping me learn and understand how the game is in the SEC. Even those he’s younger, I love to take knowledge from any player that can give me it.

I’ve known Ed longer than Rashard. When I was a sophomore, Ed was a freshman and we (roomed) together at the Alabama Elite Camp. That’s when Ed was 70 pounds lighter than he is now, before he became the Rougarou. They came up to the Under Armour showcase, Ed was like, ‘This my boy Rashard. We’re going to LSU together.’ It clicked from there. Everything comes full circle.

How good can all three of y’all be?

The ceiling is as high as we put it. The more we bond and work together on that field with each other, I think we kind of get a feel for each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Rashard helps me. Whenever I get a chance, Rashard helps me.

I say, ‘Hey, Rashard, with this block where are you putting your hands?’ Rashard will ask me (about stuff). Helping out each other and being there for each other, especially with our young guys, we can help them. I told the guys before, we’re only as strong as our weakest link.

How will Dave Aranda’s defense will be different this year with more D-linemen and outside linebackers?

This year we have a lot of smart football players, not that we didn’t have last year, but we have a lot of young returning guys from last year’s defense. When you have a lot of guys experienced in the base defense, you can do more around that. With Coach Aranda expanding the playbook this year, it’s Day 2 of spring today and we already have half of what we did last season already in the books right now. With that said, you have all these young guys that know what to expect and know what to do, it makes it that much more lethal and versatile for the defense.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.