Before each game Joe Burrow does the same thing to get focused. Sometimes it means he even loses consciousness.

It's because his ritual before he takes the field for LSU games is taking "a nap" as he calls it, though he doesn't always fall asleep. It's a strategy that helps keep Burrow balanced and his emotions in check on gamedays.

"You do have to do that. Before every game I kind of close my eyes for the 15 minutes before we go out and just kind of take a nap a little bit just to calm myself down," Burrow said Saturday morning during the College Football Playoff Championship media day at Xavier University.

He conceded it might not technically be a nap, since he doesn't always fall asleep. 

"I wouldn't say I'm fully conscious," Burrow said. "Yeah, I put the towel around my neck, close my eyes. Whatever happens happens. If I fall asleep, then I fall asleep."

Whether it satisfies the official definition of "nap," the exercise has been part of a Heisman-winning formula that's helped Burrow lead his LSU squad to a 14-0 season, victories in the SEC Championship and the Peach Bowl and the program's first title shot since 2012, which they also played in New Orleans.

Burrow's set nearly every LSU quarterback record and took down a host of SEC records in his 14 games, and has a handful of NCAA records he could take down in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday. 

But he's still a few days from when he'll be willing to reflect on any of those accomplishments before the title game against reigning champion Clemson.

"That might be a question for me after the game," he said.

MORE FROM BURROW AT MEDIA DAY

Q: ABOUT THE LSU-CLEMSON MATCHUP:

Yeah, I think that's how it's supposed to be in the national championship game, the two best. That's what we've wanted all year, is to play the best. We've played a lot of really good teams. Clemson is obviously the best. They've made it this far.

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Seated on stage from left, ESPN's Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears and Tim Tebow headline media day activities for Clemson and LSU, Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Xavier's Convocation Center in New Orleans, La.

I think we're going to be ready for them. I think they're a really good team, have a lot of speed, have a good plan. But I think it's going to be a big challenge for us. I think we'll be ready.

Q: COMPARING HIMSELF AND CLEMSON'S TREVOR LAWRENCE:

I think the quarterback position is the most important position in all of sport. I think myself and Trevor are the two best in the game right now. I think that's a big reason why both teams are here.

He is a really good player, really smooth. Still young, which is crazy. He's light-years ahead of where I was when I was his age. I'm excited to compete against him.

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Q: WHAT CHANGED THIS YEAR?

Honestly, just having an off-season with my guys. I got here last June, and most grad transfers come in December and have a spring ball and fall camp. I just had a fall camp in a couple months.

So having January through August with my guys and everyone coming back from last year, I think the scheme that we have is great, but I think with the guys that we have and the connection that we have, we would have made it work anyway.

Q: DID THIS YEAR EXCEED EXPECTATIONS?

We're 14-0. That's exactly where we expected to be. I just try to do anything I can to win games, whether it's throw for 500 yards or throw for 150 yards. Doesn't matter to me, as long as we win.

Q: ANYTHING YOU'D RATHER BE DOING IN NEW ORLEANS TODAY?

Not really. I wanted to be here, talking to you guys, when everyone else is at home getting ready to watch us.

Q: WILL IT TAKE ANOTHER HUGE GAME TO WIN MONDAY?

I think I always just try to play whatever the game calls for. You kind of figure that out the first quarter. I mean, I have to go out, throw the ball, throw for a lot of yards, get us down there. Maybe our run game is going. Maybe our defense is stopping them, and it's going to be a grind-it-out kind of game.

You just have to feel it out, do whatever the game calls for to win.

Q: WHO HAS THE BETTER HAIR? 

Before I cut my hair, I would have to go with me. Lawrence is flowing right now. I like his.

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Margaret Wendy, center, of Denham Springs, takes pictures of Joe Burrow during the CFP Media Day at Xavier University's Convocation Center in New Orleans, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. LSU Tigers will battle the Clemson Tigers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday at 7pm.

Q: ARE YOU TREATING THIS LIKE A HOME GAME?

I hope it's a home game for us. I hope our fans come out, fill that stadium up, make it just like Death Valley. I don't really know what to expect, though. They try to split the tickets, try to, 50/50. I'm excited to see how much purple and gold we have in the stadium.

Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT'S AT STAKE IN THIS GAME?

I mean, it's all on the line. This is the national championship. This is what we thought we would do at the beginning of the year. This is what we expected. We just got to finish it off.

Q: ON PREPARING FOR THE CHALLENGE CLEMSON'S DEFENSE POSES:

No, you call some people around the country that have spent time with them, played them in the past, see what they tried to do in those games. It's the national championship, and he has two weeks to prepare. We know something new is going to be there, whether it's a blitz, a coverage, a front. Something new is going to be there. We just got to figure it out.

Q: HAVE YOU FIT SEAMLESSLY WITH ED ORGERON OR HAS HE ADAPTED TO YOUR STYLE?

I think we just kind of are one and the same from two different places. We have the same mentality: go run through someone's face. He's coached that way and played that way for a long time. That's how I've always tried to play the game.

This has kind of been a great match for us. That's the mentality this football team tries to bring to the field every day.

Q: IMPRESSIONS OF NEW LSU QB RECRUITS:

Yeah, they've been at practice for a couple days. They're pretty advanced. T.J. has a really strong arm, quick release. You can tell Max is really, really smart for his age. His dad was Brad Johnson, the great quarterback in the NFL. You can tell he's been here for a week, getting on the board, drawing up plays. I think that will be a fun battle to watch in a couple years.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT TREVOR LAWRENCE AS A FOOTBALL PLAYER ... ANYTHING YOU'D STEAL IF YOU COULD?

I wish I was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier (laughter). I mean, the best thing he does is just win, 25-0, something like that, as a starter. That's just something that not a lot of people can do, no matter what conference you play in, who you're playing. He hasn't lost yet. That's the number one thing.

Q: ON OFFENSIVE CHANGES THIS SEASON: 

Yeah, we went into the season wanting to go more five-man protection. Something that I do best is get blitzes picked up. We wanted to go five-man protection, let me get the blitzes picked up, get the back out so you have five guys out. So when they blitz, they have one less guy in coverage. Loss of one-on-ones if I can get the blitzes picked up. That's been key for us this year, getting those five guys out.

Q: ON THE HEISMAN SPEECH, HOW MUCH WAS PLANNED?

Yeah, I just had two or three bullet points walking up there, knowing who I wanted to talk about. Tried to mention everyone that I could that had helped me get there. There were so many other people that I couldn't mention because you can't be up there for an hour and a half. There are so many people that helped me get there that I didn't even mention. They know how much they mean to me.

I just tried to mention as many people as I could and make it feel like it wasn't just me that won the Heisman Trophy, it was everyone that helped me.

Q: ABOUT MENTIONING ATHENS COUNTY:

I just wanted to mention where I came from. That was part of my journey that helped me get to standing on that stage. A big issue in southeast Ohio is poverty and hunger. I didn't mention it to have this big fundraiser to help a lot of people. I just mentioned it because it was what was in my heart at the time. That's what I was thinking.

Q: MORE ON THE IMPACT:

That makes me so happy because I know going through school, you see a lot of people that couldn't get a lunch because they didn't have enough money. I think that made me so happy because it's going to help a lot of people for a long time, help those kids that I grew up with that didn't have enough food or didn't have enough clothing.

So that makes me so happy knowing that.

Q: MORE ON CLEMSON:

No, I think their coaching is some of the best in the country. They do a lot of different things. You can tell they have really smart football players because not a lot of teams could show all the looks that they show.

So I'm going to have to really read my keys and trust my eyes and be disciplined with my eyes to understand what they're trying to do. They'll bring blitzes and play four, five different coverages on the back end.

Coach Venables does a great job. I think it's going to be a fun chess match on Monday.

Q: HOW HAS ED ORGERON WANTED THE TEAM TO APPROACH MONDAY?

He's been just like he has been all year. That's how we're trying to treat this, just like every other game, prepare just like every other game, go through our routine just like every other game as much as we can.

It's been working so far. He understands that he's got to keep focused, keep doing what you do that got you to this point. We all understand that.

Q: WHAT MAKES ED ORGERON SUCH A GREAT RECRUITER?

Have you talked to Coach O yet?

... It's very convincing, isn't it?

... I had one conversation with Coach O on the phone, I was sold just about immediately. I just wanted to come down and confirm it. He's a great coach and a great leader. I was sold on the football part, but I was more sold on his vision of the program, his vision of me as a football player, where we could go.

Q: ON LSU STUDENTS GETTING MONDAY OFF:

Hopefully everyone comes down and gets as many tickets as we can, we can sell out that stadium in purple and gold.

I think it's going to be really cool to have all the students here if they can get here. It's going to be a great atmosphere.

Q: WHAT DOES ISAIAH SIMMONS DO BEST?

I think what he does best is when they just let him roam the field in the middle and read my eyes, just get all the different throws through the middle of the field. I think he's really, really good at that. He's really fast, super explosive, good tackler. He's super tough to defend when he's running that middle of the field.

Q: THE COUNTERMOVE:

I'm going to have to look him off. I'm going to have to find him every play. Depending where they put him, they do a lot of different things. So you got to know where he is all the time to know what defense they're trying to do, where they're trying to move him to do different things.

Q: MORE ON THE TITLE SHOT:

Yeah, we went into the season saying if the national title is in New Orleans, we weren't going to let anybody else be there. We had to be there. We weren't going to be at home on the couch watching two teams coming in our state and watching them on TV. That was the motivation for us.

Q: A DIFFERENCE FROM LAST SEASON?

I think I had better hair. I had long hair. No, I didn't have long hair. I cut it already. When we had the mini camp, I had just cut my long hair. When mine was long, it was rivaling Trevor's. We would have had a real good battle. That was a good look for me. I almost went mullet for the year, but I decided against it (laughter).

Q: ARE YOU AN "HONORARY CAJUN?

I hope so

...  I think I'm an honorary Louisianan for life. I couldn't be happier about it.

Q: ABOUT TIGHT END THAD MOSS:

I think what Thad does is rare. He's super smart and understands the timing and spacing of zone coverage, understanding where he is on progressions. That's something that you don't see a lot in college football players.

We have five guys that really understand what we're trying to do, understand coverages and zones and progressions. So they can tempo their routes to get where they need to be on time, whether they're slow off the run because they're the fourth progression, whether they're fast off the run because of first progression. They understand that.

I think Thad not only understands that, routes and coverages, but understands what they're trying to do in run blocking schemes, put his face in another man's face and move him where he doesn't want to go. That's what makes Thad really special.


BREIDEN FEHOKO: Heard you're a good basketball player. If you compare your basketball skills to a player in the NBA, anybody, who are you comparing yourself to?

BURROW: Klay Thompson.

BF: Could you expand on that?

JB: I think he scored 44 points on like four dribbles. I can spot up (laughter). Mentality, Delly; shooter, Klay Thompson. Mix them together.

BF: What about Brian Scalabrine?

JB: No. Not Brian Scalabrine. The Red Rocket (laughter).

Q: HAS THE EXTRA TIME OFF ALLOWED FOR MORE FILM STUDY? 

After the first week, I treated the first week like a game week. This week was kind of like icing on the cake. Towards the end of this week I got a little tired watching film. I watched it all. You can only watch so much before you're just ready to play the game. So it did help.

You got to be careful overloading information, too, in these two weeks. I'm a super focused guy that likes to look at every single look. I try to go into the game understanding the things they like to do most and just buzz the things that they've done one or two or three times throughout the year.

I've had to kind of stop myself sometimes and not watch everything the same amount that I do, the stuff they do the most. It's going to help us, for sure. But they're going to have something new for us. We're going to understand that.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TREVOR LAWRENCE LIKE?

We've met one time at the Manning camp. Haven't really stayed in touch. Seems like someone I would like to get to know, seems like a good dude that works hard and is a winner.

WHY WOULDN'T YOU LET YOUR TEAMMATES CARRY YOU OFF THE FIELD?

I don't know. I felt weird doing it. Didn't really want anybody touching me like that, I guess. I don't know.

Q: ANY ANXIETY TO FINISH THE JOB FOR LSU? 

This has been the motivation since we started in January, from the moment we walked off the Fiesta Bowl field last year. This is what we wanted, which is why we haven't celebrated a lot of wins, because this is the one we wanted. This is what we've been working for.

Q: WHAT MAKES CLEMSON'S DEFENSE SO DIFFICULT TO BEAT?

They do everything. There's not a lot of team that can get smart enough guys to play every coverage in the book, have every blitz in the playbook. They do it. You can tell how well coached they are because while they do all these things, they're not unsound in what they do.

It's going to be a challenge for us to see what they're doing, trying to exploit it.

Q: WILL IT TAKE A WHILE TO SINK IN THAT THIS IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

I don't think it will be that hard. I'm going to prepare like I have every other game, trust my preparation, just treat it like a football game. Still just ball, that's what I've said. That's what I said when I won the Heisman, is just ball. I'm ready to go out there and play it.

Q: DO YOU HAVE TO LOBBY FOR FACETIME IN THE HYPE VIDEOS?

I don't have to lobby for the FaceTime. I have plenty. I have to lobby for the O-line and their FaceTime. They need some more.

Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THEM?

They're the best at what they do in the country. You can see it every week when they make their hype film. It blows up every single week on Twitter. They're the best at what they do.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR PREGAME ROUTINE?

Listen to Kid Cudi, yeah.


Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak