EVERYTHING Joe Brady said about LSU's new offense
First-year LSU passing game coordinator/receivers coach Joe Brady’s first meeting with media earlier this week during the Tigers’ coaching caravan stop in Metairie was eye-opening.
From his offensive philosophy, to what he expects from his receivers, to why he took the LSU job, to working with offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, Brady didn’t hold back in 20 non-stop minutes.
Here’s everything he said:
On why he took the LSU job
“This might not be the right terminology, but my head has always been where my butt is. I’m never looking for the next job. You take care of where you’re at and everything will take care of itself.
“So, I saw LSU as an elite opportunity. I know LSU is an elite program. The receiving unit at LSU, it’s hard to find a better unit to coach, both from a historic standpoint and the group we’re coaching right now. I felt like having the opportunity to put a stamp on and help take LSU to the next level from an offensive perspective was an opportunity I didn’t think I could pass up.
“When you walk into a school wearing an LSU logo, it carries some weight. It’s fun. At LSU, you have the opportunity to recruit the best players in the country, what we think are the best players. You don’t have to settle at LSU, everything is elite. I’ve been able to travel to some countries I’d never been, travel all across the United States finding how they (recruits) fit in the vision of this offense. LSU speaks for itself. People want to play for LSU.”
On working with offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger
“If anybody who’s met Coach Ensminger, it’s not hard to talk with him, interact with him. There’s one thing about Steve Ensminger is he loves LSU. It doesn’t matter if he’s humble. He makes the final decision, but he listens to everybody’s thoughts. All he wants is for LSU to have success. So, when you work for a guy that doesn’t feel my way is the only way, you enjoy that interaction every single day. He’s a character, he’s a personality.
“In New Orleans (with the Saints), I was never going to call a play. But I had plays in mind if everybody’s headset didn’t work, I’d be ready. I think every coach on our staff is going to be ready for a play call.
“It’s my job to have ideas, especially in the passing game. Hey, if I see a certain coverage or a certain look in the run game, I’ll throw some advice at Steve. But at the end of the day, Steve is the one calling the games.
“Steve wants the give and take. No coach wants to sit at a game and not be active. In the spring, if we had ideas that we went with, he called it and kind rolled with it because he trusts us.
“Every day you sit in the office, you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth, sometimes I don’t understand what comes out of his mouth. The one thing I know is that guy loves him some football. He loves LSU football. I love the way he calls a game. In the spring game, I’m charting to figure out how he flows with it. There’s nothing he’s scared of. He has the mentality that I enjoy working for.”
On the process of installing his system
“The first thing we had to do was put together a system that was easy for the guys to implement in the run game, but the formations matched up in the pass game.
“In the spring, we were being very generic with what we were doing. Equate it to the college 100 or 200 (class) levels. We didn’t want to put a lot on the guys in such a short period of time.
“So, in the passing game, we threw some ideas out on the table that are easy for the quarterback to process, easy for the quick game, you might not see them in the fall, just throwing those ideas out there allows you to expand on more packages.
“The offense we’re installing right now isn’t just a generic, baseline easy offense. We’re asking a lot of our quarterbacks, our running backs, our receivers, our tight ends. It’s been impressive the way our quarterbacks picked it up, rolled with it and wanted more.
“From a small piece, we didn’t have a lot of time to do that from the time I got here, in terms of finding out what we did from an offense last year, getting with Coach Ensminger in terms of what we’re trying to do. I think we did a good job of putting together an identity of what we’re looking for.
“The one thing (New Orleans Saints) Coach (Sean) Payton always taught me is the hay is never in the barn. We’d put plays in on a Saturday before a game. I know we’re getting away in this month of July, but there’s no way I’m going away without thinking of some things. It’s our job is tinker with some things, what our guys do well, cut back some of the stuff, but I feel about good where we are offensively.
“Then we go into fall camp, figure out our identity what we do best and roll with that.
“From an offensive standpoint, we’re all together. I know sometimes it’s like `is it Steve’s offense, is it Joe’s offense?' This is our offense and we put it together and it something we’re confident in.”
On his offensive philosophy
“From a system standpoint, we're just trying to find ways to get out speed in space, how we can get our offense to play with 11 players, how we can get our running backs, our tight ends, our quarterbacks involved in the run game.
“When the defense has to defend all 11 (offensive players) on the field, it limits what they can do. Statistically, it will show that when you’re in five-man protections you give up less sacks. I think with five-man protection, you get the ball out faster than what defenses can do.
“As an offense, we want to get running backs out in routes. Running backs, at the end of the day, are here to run the ball and catch passes. They’re not signed to play at LSU because they are dynamic blockers. That’s what offensive linemen are for.
“Are they (running backs) going to have to do it (block)? Yes. But the more we can get them in routes, the more defenses can limit the packages they use because now they have to take that into consideration and allow us to do what we have to do.
“We’re going to be an offense that applies pressure. We can get the ball to the running back, we can keep them (defenses) off-base by throwing screens, as opposed to sitting and waiting for them to apply pressure.
“If we get our speed in space and allow our guys to win their one-on-ones, the rest is going to take care of itself.
"We believe we have the athletes in our building that if we get them one-on-one situations, they’re going to make us look good and themselves look good. The more one-on-one matchups we get, the better.
“You’re going to see an uptempo offense that’s going to get our speed in space. That is different than what they’ve seen in the past. When you’re an uptempo offense with speed in space, good things are going to happen. When you can get the best players on the field with the ball in their hands, then we’re sitting back enjoying watching it.
“So, when I say get your popcorn ready, you’re sitting there enjoying the movie and everything is good. That’s what you’re going to be doing when you see this offense this fall.
“(LSU) Coach (Ed) Orgeron has always wanted an offense that is going to get the best players on our team the ball in their hands. When you try to bring the perfect play against the perfect look, that’s hard all the time. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be the perfect play but when you utilize the athletes you have on the field good things are going to happen.”
On LSU’s receivers
“It might seem like we have a veteran receiving group, but I know last year a lot of these guys were true freshmen. It’s still a relatively young receiver group, but they push themselves. I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as these guys do.
“There’s nothing these guys waver at, no matter how much they are running, how much they are working.
"Every single day they come to work, it is everything they’ve got 100 percent at all times. You don’t have to motivate receivers at LSU, and I think that was something I was looking for with this opportunity.
“The type of receiver we’re looking for is everybody in that room thinks they are the best wide receiver. If you don’t think you’re the best wide receiver, we’re not recruiting the right guys.
“At LSU, there’s a mentality in that wide receiver room. There’s a physicality, there’s that willingness to compete every single time. When I walked in the door as a coach, I don’t have to coach that. It’s kind of understood. It’s the Jarvis’, the Odells, the Bowes that set the foundation.
“I tell these guys everyday this team will go as the receivers go. There’s not a day we can take off. This receiver unit is going to make this team who we are. I want them to have that mentality.
“I tell them, `I’ll be damned if those receivers before us turn on the games (on TV) and don’t see that physicality, that mentality from this wide receiver unit.’
“As a group everybody is going to eat, everyone is going to have their opportunity. We’re going to embrace that opportunity and everything else will take care of itself.
“One thing we do is we don’t want any of our guys to learn a position. They are learning concepts. So, we can move everybody around on the field. The type of receiver who can play all four positions. They are learning concepts, not necessarily `this is what I do on this play.’ Now we have the ability to move a guy from the boundary to a slot to the field, to motion him. His job doesn’t change. He just knows the scheme. We’re not teaching you’re strictly an `X’ or `Z’ receiver.
“I feel like if people know exactly where guys are going to be, defenses can dictate and take guys out of the game. We can move guys around and get them in the positions we want to attack the coverages.
“Receivers at LSU have always had success. It’s important for a receiver to have fun playing football. I played wide receiver and it was very black and white.
“The game of football is very gray. We’re not going to coach the athletes out of football players. We’re going to allow them to have fun and do what they do best. Some of the drills we do in practice are unconventional, but it brings the athletic ability out of our guys.”
On Joe Burrow
“From a quarterback standpoint, Joe Burrow is everything you’re looking for in a quarterback. I said it before – give me 11 Joe Burrows and we’re going to be a winning football team. Having Joe behind center you have a chance at winning every single game. He makes everybody around him better.
“I know we don’t huddle, but he’s the type of quarterback that if you got in the huddle and he looked everybody in the eyes, they’d be ready to go. Everybody on the team, every offensive person will run through a wall for him. As a coach, he’s the type of guy you want to coach because he always wants more. Sometimes, I have to say, `We can put this play and this play and this play in.' It’s not a lot for Joe, but can the receivers and tight ends handle it?
“Joe picks things up so fast. He’s not a guy who has to mess up to figure it out. He can take the coaching to 7-on-7 and take it on to the team. If he does make a mistake the first time, he knows it as soon as he throws it.
“Steve and myself are always asking Joe for what his thoughts are. Because at the end of the day, you can really believe in the scheme but if the quarterback doesn’t feel comfortable, are you really going to get what you want out of it? I don’t think you should have to force plays.
“We’ve gone through this summer putting in some new plays and new ideas. Next Wednesday, we’re going to sit down at least from a passing game and go through `what do you feel comfortable with? Are you seeing this the way we’re seeing it? What can we do to help you and vice versa?
“I think it’s important going into games sitting down the night before the game you’re going through it with the quarterback. `What are you comfortable with? Third-and-four to six, what are your favorite plays?' At the end of the day, we’re going to call it, but he has to be the one to execute it. We’re huge with all our quarterbacks having input.”
On what type offensive line he prefers:
“The thing I care about is their mentality. I’m not an offensive line guy. You’ve got to be different type of person in this level in the SEC. In an ideal world, give me an athletic, physical guy. But you’ve got to have that mentality that, `Look, whether I’ve got to go 70 plays or 100 plays, if I’m a center and I got an All-SEC nose tackle for 80 plays, I’m going to give everything I’ve got.’ That’s all I ask for from that level.”
On how he uses tight ends
“I’m trying to recruit tight ends who can push the ball downfield. Stephen Sullivan is one of our tight ends. When I got the job, you saw a big, athletic wide receiver. If you can put him at tight end and allowed him to do everything attached to the run game and stretch the ball downfield, that is not what defenses want to see.”
On where fullback Tory Carter fits in the offense
“Hard to take a guy like Tory Carter off the field with his mentality. If you watch New Orleans (Saints), the thing they can give you any given set with any personnel group. So, the more personnel groups we can run to keep defenses off guard, whether rotating spread formations with the fullback, the better.
“Tory Carter, with his physicality, with his makeup, you can’t keep him on the sideline. We can use him in the tight end position. We’re going to use him at fullback. We’re going to find ways to get Tory Carter on the field.”