The 2019 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 28 will mark the first matchup since the 2003 season between No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 1 LSU. Both teams will be looking to win their first ever playoff game as the Sooners are 0-for-3 all-time in the playoff while the Tigers will be making their first ever appearance.
After the matchup was announced on Sunday, head coaches Lincoln Riley and Ed Orgeron participated in a media teleconference along with Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan and chairman Bob Somers.
Here’s what was said:
Both coaches on if the playoffs should be expanded
Riley: “I think it's possible. I mean, like you said, the focus right now is the playoff, and I think we've got a great system, obviously great matchups here, certainly in this playoff coming forward. So I think it's possible. Obviously, the Bowls, as everybody knows, the Bowls make that more complicated. That's going to be for a lot of other people to figure out, but I think the playoffs have been a positive thing so far, and certainly looks like this is going to be another great one.
Orgeron: “You know, we're going to go to play. Obviously, if they expand it, they expand it. If they don't, they don't. I do know this: I think it would be tough on the team, the wear and tear on the football team. They would need to be careful.”
Lincoln on how Alex Grinch has improved the defense, how to stop Joe Burrow
“Defensively, no doubt we've played very well this year. Give Coach Grinch, our staff a lot of credit. And then our players, the guys have bought into a new system, a new coach, new mentality certainly on that side of the ball. While we're still improving, we have done a lot of good things and, we think, made some good progress. Obviously, LSU is tough to stop. They've done a great job all year. Joe Burrow's had a great run, obviously played extremely well at the quarterback position.
"A lot of dynamic playmakers on the outside. And from what I've been able to see so far, their offensive line has done a great job as well. So give them credit. They're really good. They do a great job. It's fortunate for us we do, through the years, get to see a bunch of really good offenses. This will certainly be as good as they face.”
Lincoln on Oklahoma seeking its first playoff win
“For us, right now, it's just kind of — we're in the middle of it, so I wouldn't say there's that big picture view of having the chance to make it several times over the last few years. I mean, that's obviously a positive thing, but, I mean, this is about this team and this matchup right now. The thing in this playoff is you're going to play great teams, and you're going to have to play really well. Everybody here is going to have to play well to beat the other teams, and that's how it should be. So it's certainly important. It's a good accomplishment, but it's not, certainly not our end goal. Our focus will be trying to play our very best here on the 28th.”
Both coaches on their teams benefiting from transfer quarterbacks
Riley: "Obviously, the transfers for quarterbacks have been good to us. That goes without saying, and I do, like Coach, I totally believe you have to have very good quarterback play to get into the playoffs and to eventually win it all. It's such an important position, and there's too many good ones out there. But obviously, you know, kind of like for those guys, Jalen's been a very positive impact on our program. His has been unique because it hasn't been years — it's been months. So it's been kind of fast and furious but very positive."
Orgeron: "Yeah, well, obviously, the Joe Burrow transfer has made a difference for us. We're fortunate that the transfer rule's in place. Joe's one of the most important recruits we've had at LSU. With the spread offense, we couldn't have had success without him. I do believe you have to have a great quarterback, obviously. Most of the teams we're playing right now have great quarterbacks."
Both coaches on balancing recruiting and team preparation leading up the Peach Bowl
Riley: "It is what it is right now. It's a good problem to have. But yeah, a week of it is challenging. But hey, we're going to go make the most of it, so we'll recruit while we're on land, and we'll study and prepare when we're in the air. So it's going to be like that for the next several days."
Orgeron: "We're fortunate that we have most of our class committed to us right now. I'm going to see most of our guys this week. To break down Oklahoma, we have our coordinators. Most of it will be on the road. I'll do most of the recruiting, along with a couple of assistants. We feel like we have the recruiting class pretty much. We're just sewing up a couple loose ends."