THE LSU WORLD BECOMES REACQUAINTED WITH AUSTIN THOMAS



by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


OPENING STATEMENT:

"Just as the other guys have mentioned, we're just so humbled and honored, my family and I, to be back here at LSU and to have the opportunity to serve this great institution, this state and its people. Thankful to Coach Orgeron, thankful for Scott Woodward, the LSU administration and the entire state of Louisiana for making this a really easy transition...for welcoming us with open arms. My wife went to school here, my kids were born here in Baton Rouge and we're really really excited to get back here and help this organization accomplish all the goals we have...through the vision of Coach O and through the administration and help bring more championships to Baton Rouge. Blessed to be here..."


@Cauble What did you learn from your travels:

"When you go different places, ya know as I've mentioned before just having an affinity for this program, so even from afar, the ability to track the players, the staff and see their growth. You see it from afar, but there's an inner growth as well. You learn, you reflect, you have time to really discover who you are and you have time to take things you learned other places and really implement those. There's times your travels make your philosophy more sound...then there are things where you say, 'I thought this or did this last time at LSU', but actually being at a different place these are things I can take or areas I can grow and bring 'em back to Baton Rouge...and maybe tweak some things through Coach O's vision that we can do better and improve on so we can sustain success. This job for me is a blessing...it's at the forefront of college football, so as we grow and push off-field roles in college football, for me it's just about being where my feet are and taking what comes every day and figuring out the best way to maximize myself and maximize our employees for LSU to make us as great as we can be."


Brody Miller "what were the first things you saw that you wanted to address coming back?"

-"I think it's really really important just to take time to listen...and learn. There were some things I had an idea about, having spent 5 years here before, so I've come in with a very open mind. I've just taken it meeting by meeting, day by day, and really hour by hour to be honest, to listen to people, hear their heart, hear what makes them geaux, hear how we can take individuals...and that's the thing, we have great people here. Throughout my entire time at LSU something I can really stand on is we have great people. So taking those people and really figuring out how to maximize them, and bring them fullfillment, career growth and joy to what they're doing....and at the same time, maximizing the benefit for LSU as well. For lack of a better term, it's a symbiotic relationship. At this point it's been wisest for me to listen, learn and grow and then go from there."


Talking about roster management:

"I think it's really a new day in college football. You're best served to keep a scholarship or two on signing day in order to explore opportunities that come in the spring when you have an immediate need that you can address. It's really a double edged sword, it's probably good that the players have a little more control over their future than it was in the past. I think about that with an open mind, I think about if this were my son and what I would want them to do. I transferred colleges myself when I was in school, so you have to have an open mind about it. The whole roster management thing, it's a really deep question...we could probably spend an hour just talking about it...how you get there, how you potentially at times become light in a position, the factors in talent, injuries, off the field issues and then the transfer portal now...it can really quickly dwindle your numbers and create an issue where you may have done a good job, but because of the nature of the beast might create a deficiency. On the flip side, it also opens up avenues to bridge the gap some. I think the people who take advantage of the transfer portal best I think are able to go out and address immediate needs and become good quality teams in the areas they're lacking. But make no mistake about it, we wanna keep as many of our guys as possible, so it's a nonstop recruiting process. All the coaches sat up here and talked about trust and relationship building and I believe that's more important now than ever."


Shea Dixon asks about recruiting Louisiana kids & the 2022 class:

"It's of huge importance to us, Shea, when Coach O speaks he speaks about Louisiana first...that's our philosophy. You've seen a conscious effort to evaluate and really be on top of these guys, especially going into 2022....it's an incredibly deep class and one we have to do our best to put up a fence around the state and keep a lot of these top players here. The players in Louisiana, after having been in other places, it's a different kid....there's a toughness, there's a competitive spirit that comes from a kid in this state that you don't get anywhere else...that's not to say there aren't other kids who couldn't fill that role...but generally speaking across the board, there's a competitiveness and these kids' ability to be coached and pushed in this state is different. We definitely have an emphasis on that here."


WAFB'S @JacquesDoucet asks about Austin's involvement in 2019's establishment & taking on LSU as a member of the A&M program:

"It was such an amazing experience, that first year in 2018 when I was at A&M and we played that 7 OT game was the most surreal moment of my career. To have not gotten to A&M until May, then you go into the summer, right and you go into the season, I remember never thinking the day would come when we'd play LSU...and it finally gets here and I'm standing on the sideline at Texas A&M and I'm looking across and I'm just looking at so many people I know so much about, you know their families and you know who they are...it became a very surreal experience for me to be a part of that. Then, to come into Tigers Stadium in 2019, the year that LSU won the National Championship, was surreal in its own right as well because I'd never been an opponent here until that...it was definitely a night I'd like to forget, but one I'll remember for sure because of the crowd and the stadium...I really got to experience Tigers Stadium and it really gave me an appreciation for it...ya know.. as an opponent...so I thought that was a pretty unique experience. But just to see all these kids grow up, and that's what they were when we recruited them here, and to become young men and holistically develop who they are, you know, athletically, academically, spiritually, socially, and so to see them head into the NFL and beyond and have success and continue their journeys, that's what it's all about. It's about developing these guys as young men and growing them as people. It's been an incredible journey. You don't ever want to try to, as you said, recreate that, but we can take some of the variables and things that we did well and continue to implement those things and try to get as close as we can to that in the future moving forward. The dynamic will always be different, every team is different, but at the same time we can get close."


BLACK LIVES MATTER

by Lonn Phillips Sullivan

@LonnPhillips

Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC


SHOUTOUTS: WELCOME BACK AUSTIN THOMAS! The Personnel Guru himself!!!

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© 2020 by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN, Uninterrupted Writings Inc.