TigerDetails - LSU QB Joe Burrow charms crowd at SEC Football Media Days
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LSU QB Joe Burrow charms crowd at SEC Football Media Days

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was a hit on Monday on the first day of the 35th annual SEC Football Media Days in Birmingham
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was a hit on Monday on the first day of the 35th annual SEC Football Media Days in Birmingham (Ron Higgins)

HOOVER, Ala. – It’s difficult not to like Joe Burrow.

Admire the way he handled a sticky situation last summer, coming to LSU as a graduate transfer quarterback from Ohio State and endearing himself to teammates.

“Right when he came in (during the summer), we were in conditioning tests,” LSU safety Grant Delpit said here Monday on the opening of the 35th annual SEC Football Media Days. “Joe crushed it. He was ahead of everybody. That showed us he was here for business, he’s trying to be our QB 1. He gained our respect quickly.”

Appreciate how his toughness permeated throughout the Tigers’ offense, capped by a play in the Fiesta Bowl when he was blindsided by UCF’s Joey Conners after throwing an interception and then got off the deck to throw for a career-best 394 yards and four TDs in a 40-32 win.

“He got knocked down, but when he pops back up and plays like he did,” Tigers’ center Lloyd Cushenberry said, “that just gives us even more confidence we’re going to get the job done for him. He’s a competitor who wants to win and it rubs off on everybody.”

Enjoy his ongoing education about learning about life in Louisiana.

“Hurricane parties, I found that’s a thing this past weekend,” Burrow said. “That was kind of interesting. They were saying, `We’re going to a hurricane party.’ I was like, `What do you mean? Isn’t there water on the ground. Isn’t it dangerous to go outside?’ They said, `No, we’re just going to go to the party.’ I said, `Have fun.’

“I didn’t go to the hurricane party. I just watched a lot of physics You Tube videos. I’m very interested in astrophysics, quantum physics, relativity, that kind of stuff. Black holes, time travel, neutron stars, binary star systems, quantum mechanics.”

Smile how he doesn’t take himself seriously, good-naturedly revealing his insecurities as a fifth-year senior still trying to make his way in the world.

“This is very embarrassing, but I’d never done laundry until I moved to Louisiana,” Burrow said. “My Mom drove up from home an hour away and did my laundry for me.

“I didn’t understand my clothes weren’t getting dry until my Dad came in and pulled that (lint filter) out and there was like a bunch of dust. I said, `Yeah, that will probably do it.’”

Yes, the same guy who is proud he has learned to cook for himself also has the advanced intelligence to quickly learn LSU’s new offensive concepts that he promises will light up scoreboards this fall.

That’s a bold prediction, because it seems like that has been repeated several times in the past decade only to watch the same train wreck.

“We're going to run the spread offense," Orgeron vowed. "It's in the playbook. We're going to run it."

There’s no one Orgeron would rather break in the Tigers’ new offensive concepts than Burrow.

"I do believe that Joe, if we let him, would run into a brick wall no matter what it took," Orgeron said. "He's that tough as a -- he has a linebacker mentality. We are going to use him on quarterback runs, quarterback draws, but we're going to be careful how many times we run him again."

Burrow embraces what O-coordinator Steve Ensminger and passing game Joe Brady want to do.

“We’re still going to have some of that smashmouth LSU football, but I think we’re evolving a bit,” Burrow said.

Yet even in the Tigers’ offense finally joining the rest of the college football with spread formations and run-pass-option plays, Burrow will never shy away from what wins and loses games.

“As a leader, if you don’t exude toughness your team is not going to be tough,” Burrow said. “If your quarterback is not tough, if your center is not tough, if your leaders are not tough, your team is not going to be tough and you’re going to lose a lot of games.

“Because football, at the end of the day, boils down to toughness. You see teams that are less talented all the time win because they are more disciplined, have more mental toughness, more physical toughness than the other team.

"So that’s something I pride myself in for sure. If just a little bit of my toughness rubs off, we’re in a good spot.”

There’s no doubt Burrow believes in Ensminger, Brady and how everyone has been involved taking charge of LSU’s new offensive direction.

“Coach E is not in the backroom drawing up plays,” Burrow said. “It’s a full organizational effort. We’re kind of building this whole thing together. We all have ideas and we all kind of throw them out there, see what sticks. We’ll try it out in practice. If it looks good, we’ll run with it. If it doesn’t, you throw it out and you don’t come back to it.”

Burrow, who called the working relationship of the 60-year old Ensminger and the 29-year-old Brady an “interesting dynamic,” said Ensminger relates well to everybody.

“Coach E is a guy’s guy, you can tell by the way he played back in the day,” Burrow said. “I’ve seen a couple of (Ensminger) highlights (as LSU’s quarterback in the late 1970s.) I think Coach E would be a guy if you got in a fight at the bar you’d want him right next to you for sure.”