LSU quarterback Joe Burrow answered a number of questions from the media ahead of the Tigers' home game against Florida this weekend.
Burrow weighed in on the value of Lloyd Cushenberry, personal and team growth since the last Florida game, and what animal would win in a matchup between a tiger and an alligator.
Short answer: a tiger.
Read and watch the full interview below.
It seems like even when you guys put up pretty big numbers, you’re pretty hyper-critical of the offense. How much of it is because you feel like you guys haven’t really been tested until what you have coming up this weekend and beyond?
I don’t think it’s that, I think it’s just playing up to our potential. You know, if we want to get where we want to go, we have to get better. If we’re satisfied with the performances that we have every Saturday, then we’re not going to get any better throughout the week.
Can you describe the value that Lloyd Cushenberry has to this team?
You can’t put it into numbers. He’s a great leader, a great player, an even-keeled presence throughout the entire team. I don’t know where we would be without Lloyd, to be honest.
A year has passed since you went to Florida, a difficult game, how would you describe the evolution of the offense between that game and the game coming up?
(Laughing) How long do you have? I mean, it’s not the same offense. I feel like we put up the most points through five games in SEC history, we have explosive playmakers all over the field. I think the biggest step we’ve taken has been up front; those guys have been playing their tails off for us. They worked really hard in the offseason and this will be a big test for them.
Rankings don’t necessarily matter at this point in the season, but last year you guys were undefeated, ranked No. 5, this season obviously undefeated and ranked No. 5, how much different does this team feel confidence-wise?
I think we’re way better than we were last year and they’re way better than they were last year, too. They have some really good players all over the field; we’re going to have our hands full.
Can't see video below? Click here.
Do you feel like last year’s game you were still trying to feel things out, weren’t you?
Yeah, we had chances to win that game throughout the entire … I mean, we had a chance to put them away early and we didn’t do it. Then, we let then hang in there, hang in there, and they ended up beating us. So we’re going to have to come out firing and keep it going through the whole game.
How much are you guys using last year’s game as a point of emphasis or motivation for Saturday’s game?
Last year was last year. Did they beat us? Yeah. Could we have won? Yes. But it’s a top-10 matchup in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night. You know, we all don’t really think too much about last year. We’re going to go back and study it … see what they did, see what worked because they might go back to it. But we’re not going to dwell on it.
Coach O said last year you were a totally different quarterback from the first game to the last. Did you feel that progression and this year do you kind of feel it again?
I think that was kind of the beginning of myself in getting engaged in what we were doing and being involved in the game plan and I really think that’s what has enabled me to have so much success this year: they trust me enough to put my ideas in the game plan and they trust me enough to make checks at the line. So I’ve kind of evolved into a line of scrimmage quarterback in that way.
Welcome to Film Room, where we'll break down significant portions from LSU's last football game.
Someone like Ja’Marr Chase, you get him when he’s a true freshman and you’ve kind of grown with him. How unique of an experience has that been for you and him and just how much have you seen him grow?
He’s turned himself into on the best players in the country, he’s going to make a lot of money playing this game. He worked so hard this offseason, me and him and Justin (Jefferson) and all the receivers coming in on Saturdays 9 a.m., sacrificing Friday nights to come in here and work out, so that’s been so big for us. It shows a lot of maturity for them because he’s 19 years old … he’s going to make a lot of money playing this game and the sky is the limit for that guy.
You’re now No. 1 in the country in red-zone offense, do you pay attention to rankings like that?
Yeah, I think that’s an important ranking that directly correlates to points and we need to be able to score touchdowns in the red zone this week. They’re really good causing turnovers in the red zone, so we’re going to have to be up to our game and act like we’re the best team in the country in that red zone.
Joe Burrow, moments after throwing five touchdowns in LSU's 42-6 win over Utah State on Saturday at Tiger Stadium, was asked what he was going…
Is there something that made you and the team believe that you could turn the corner and that you were going to be a lot better in the red zone than you were last year?
We had everybody back and throughout spring ball you saw flashes of it. Then, in fall camp, we really hit our stride and so if we didn’t come out and play the way we are right now, I would have been very disappointed.
It’s early, but did you grow up thinking about competing for the Heisman and being in the race? Do you pay attention at all to the noise right now and is that even a goal individually?
It was a goal when I was little, not so much a goal now. I’d rather have a big, fat ring on my hand. It does cross your mind, but the games like this are the kind of games that you need to get there and to get to where we want to as a team.
This is exactly the sort of week that draws fans to LSU football like a Washington State flag to the “College Game Day” mosh pit.
There’s going to be talk that “they haven’t played a defense like this yet. … We need to see if this offense can do it against a defense like this.” Is that the challenge for you?
Yeah, they’re the best defense we’ve played and it’s not even close. They have first-round guys all around the field and they play really, really hard. They’re very confident in their scheme; you can tell by how fast they play. I think it’s going to be a really good challenge for us and a really good steppingstone to what we want to get to.
Is the team that converts more on third down Saturday, is that the team that’s ultimately going to win?
Yeah, I think so. The longer you can stay on the field, the better chance you have of scoring. So we’re going to have to be really good on third down. They have a really good third-down package; they mix it up, give you different looks, bring pressure where you don’t expect so we’re going to have to study that.
Sophomore wide receiver Terrace Marshall was present at LSU football practice on Monday afternoon for the first time since he underwent surgery on his foot two weeks ago.
How much do you feel your offensive line wants another go at this game?
We all do, but they’re kind of on a revenge tour from last year. All the talk around (was) they didn’t play up to what they were last year and this year they’re playing very, very well. That’s just to a credit them, their maturity and their offseason.
Last year was a tough game for you as well. How much motivation does that kind of give you heading into this one?
A little bit, but I don’t need any more motivation than a night game — 5 vs. 7 — to kind of propel yourself into the national title conversation.
ESPN's popular football pregame show College Gameday is coming to Baton Rouge will broadcast live from The Quad on LSU's campus, the school an…
You’ve only played in it once, but how evident has the LSU-Florida rivalry been — especially with last year and this year with the atmosphere in the city and the hype of the game?
Everyone says that LSU has a lot of different rivals. We have a trophy with Arkansas, Florida is a rival, Ole Miss is supposedly a rival, Alabama. But I think this is the biggest one. I don’t like them very much … I know they don’t like us very much. That’s kind of been the talk around here, but you’re just going to have to keep your emotions in check in a game like this.
Any particular reason you don’t like them?
That did beat us pretty good last year.
An apartment complex off Kenilworth Parkway owned by former LSU football coach Nick Saban has been sold for $2.6 million.
The Barbershop suffered some big losses from last year in Garrett (Brumfield), John Battle. Have you kind of taken the torch with that?
There haven’t been a lot of existential conversations this year. I know I miss that, I do.
So, a gator vs. a tiger. Who do you take in that matchup?
A gator stands no chance. Just go look at the videos on YouTube.
You’ve gotten questions about trying to score points against a team like Texas, but in a game like this how excited are you to have a litmus test almost against a defense that’s been this solid?
The real season starts now, we’re in SEC play. Those first five games were nice to kind of get our confidence going, but this is when the real season starts and this is when the big-boy football is played.
Coach O said the crowd may have rattled you guys last year and the opposite may be true this time around, that Tiger Stadium may have that affect on them.
Yeah, all those Cajuns are sure going to show up this Saturday and I’m excited to see it.
You don’t make these decisions, but you do talk to the coaches a lot, but whether the results the offense had against Florida and Alabama, in particular, provided any impetus or urgency to make the requirements that you guys have made from then to now?
It probably did a little bit, but watching all the offense around the country, we needed to make a change. We weren’t going to be able to compete for SEC titles, national championships, if we didn’t make that change. It’s been a credit to our maturity, a credit to Coach O and Coach E (Ensminger) and Coach Joe (Brady) to what we’ve been doing so far. We’ve just got to keep it rolling.
Thaddeus Moss said that you guys put up a “quiet” 600 yards on Saturday against Utah State. What’s that say for an offense that doesn’t have its best day but still puts up those kinds of numbers?
We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? We’re upset about a 600-yard performance at LSU. But we left a lot of points out there, a lot of yards as well. So we’re not going to be able to play like we did on Saturday against Florida; we’ve going to have to be on our “A” game.