Miles Gives Update on Spring Practice, Spring Game

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU head coach Les Miles addressed the media on Thursday, as the Tigers continue to prepare for the Spring Game on April 5. Coach Miles also spoke about the Gridiron Bash concert in Tiger Stadium on the evening before the game and his role on stage.

LSU Head Coach Les Miles
Press conference 3/27/2008

Opening Statement...
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Coach Van Chancellor and the Lady Tigers basketball team for advancing. We hope they have success in New Orleans, they’re a great team and they’re doing the things that champions do. I look forward to watching them play in the future.

“We also have our spring coaches’ clinic underway today. Our registration will begin at 7 p.m. in the football operations building and we’ll have an array of speakers in high school champions and college coaches as well as Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints head football coach on Friday. This weekend will conclude with a scrimmage and a nice go.

“As spring winds down, we’re looking at two more practices this week and four the next week and we have the opportunity to put a real strong effort together for our spring game. There’s a lot of competition at every position and a great opportunity for our guys to get in that stadium and play in front of a home crowd and play well. It certainly is important. They tell me that 15,000 tickets have been sold for the spring game so far. I think that’s a great number in pre-sold tickets, but I’d like to see a pile more. I want that to be very much like a game. When you put new players on that field, they need to know the passion that surrounds this program and a great, large crowd for the spring game will help them.

“I hope that this continues to become a tradition. This will be a game-like venue as best we can and we hope that the crowds will get bigger and bigger each year. This certainly is a weekend that you can put on your calendar.  We also play Alabama in baseball, so this can be a real college weekend.

“Friday night before the game there will be a concert in our stadium and the two performers are Kid Rock and Sara Evans. They certainly have a following and are very talented groups. I have been invited and sought the opportunity to sing a song with either of the artists. Sara Evans said it would be possible that I could sing a song with her. I certainly have great enthusiasm for this event. I’m just not certain that I’m up to the ability to sing. I promise you that I will participate as best I can and that only good taste and lack of talent would keep me from going up on the stage. I think it’s going to be a great weekend.

“If you think about it, you have a concert on Friday night, the opportunity to watch an Alabama-LSU baseball game and finish it with the spring game, get yourself a bite to eat, tailgate, relax and be on our campus. I hope everybody attends.”

On his feelings about the weekend of the spring game...
“I think it’s a family weekend. It’s an opportunity to come on campus, tailgate and enjoy beautiful weather. You can be involved with this concert on Friday night and then you have baseball, softball, track and just a number of events that will be happening throughout the day and with the opportunity to have the spring game at night. I know how much fun it is to be on this campus surrounding those athletic events. I think like you that the more game-like and later in the evening that we plan to play will encourage those people that support our program fully to attend.

“We backed our starting time up to 5 p.m. to accommodate those peple that are in the perimeter and may work in the middle of the day on Saturday and want to come over. We really are looking for a great crowd. There is some competition in these spring games. If you look around the country, the spring game is becoming the one spring event tht football has and it’s well attended at other universities and I don’t see why it couldn’t be more well-attended and better than most here.”

On what he’s doing during the spring game to make it a game-like atmosphere...
“We’re going to play teams. As we get closer to the game, we’re going to assess all of those things that we can do live and we’ll do those live. We may still put teams in situations, but we’ll look for matchups. For example, the first-team offense going against the first-team defense, I think that can happen for some portion of this scrimmage and looking at our first-team return squad going against what we can put together to be our first-team coverage unit.

“It should be a great day for our guys to really exhibit their strengths and abilities as players. I think it will resemble a game. It may not be a full game from the kickoff to the clock running in its entirety, but it’s going to be a good go in excess of 100 plays. It’s the spring final and it’s a test that we take very seriously.”

On why he thinks the spring game at LSU has never been very big compared to some other schools...
“It’s really a recent phenomenon in my mind. If you look at it, I’ve been to several places where five or seven thousand people is a really good crowd for a spring game because you really did very little to promote it. I think now you’re finding that, first of all, that television, ESPN and others, are realizing that spring games are something that can be televised and can be an event and I think that it’s a growing awareness on every college campus that this is a pretty good game to show up for and enjoy the time on campus. I think our players now look forward to it more and I think our administration ahs embraced the idea and now says ‘Let’s make it a game’ and ‘let’s go have some fun.’”

On how he thinks a televised spring game can be an advantage...
“I think it has to fit the right date. The opportunity for us to have an early spring and set our spring date a little bit earlier than some other spring games and certainly it may be earlier than others that may be televised. I think that is a criteria there, as well, but I still se it as one that enhances our football team. Our team looks forward to a game that’s palyed in front of a large crowd in a game-like circumstance in our stadium to finish spring. Coaches in general have thought about the best way to prepare their team and I don’t know if they embraced, my background has certainly not, a full spring game.

“If you look at how it affects your team and how they prepare, I think there are some advantaged to make it more game-like.”

On if the coach has to compromise the spring game to please the fans...
“I think down and distance will definitely be live in the game. We’ll probably still insist on certain situations because sometimes you don’t get them. We’ll monitor that and put teams in positions where they’ll have to respond.  Obviously there will be no advantage, we’ll put both teams in the same situations and it will be game-like. I’ll still control those situations that I need to, but competition will still be the key and the game may not be the exact same rules as a Saturday football game, but it will be very similar.”

On his thoughts about DL Ricky-Jean Francois...
“We had him all last fall and he practiced every day. I really don’t feel like we’ve missed any preparation with him. Yes, of course I wish we had him in every practice, but I think there’s an opportunity for him to make the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and I think the opportunity for him to represent LSU in Track and Field is also a viable opportunity that he needs to have on this campus. When we recruited him, he was a national high school track athlete and we wanted to give him that opportunity.”

On what position he sees Jean-Francois playing...
“I think he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. He can play inside or outside. He’ll fit the need.”

On the chance of QB Ryan Perrilloux playing the spring game...
“I think there’s a chance. At this point, he is doing things he should be doing. He’s making up the team workouts that he has missed. If things go right, I think there’s an opportunity for him to rejoin the team in practice after this week.”

On if a successful Pro Day brings energy to the program...
“I think there was a little enthusiasm for football after Pro Day when our seniors came in and performed pretty well. I think every guy’s stock really rose. It was certainly an opportunity for them to prepare to have a great career and then go on to the next level.”

On why he opened up Pro Day to the media...
“I think our players enjoy the scrutiny and the enthusiasm around a well-attended event. We dressed it up as well as we can. It’s just a workout. The competition is against other people who aren’t in the facility, but I think it’s benefitted our guys. I think they look to perform well there and there’s a little peak that they can reach based on the fact that it’s well-attended and certainly the fact that the NFL and the media is there.”

On if he remembers Pro Day as a player at Michigan...
“There was no such thing as Pro Day back then. Things have changed so dramatically. I think there were the obvious evaluations. I think film was the great criteria, but as far as an organized get-together that never happened. As a coach, there were some significant Pro Days and I remember that.”

On if he went to Pro Days as an assistant coach in the NFL ...
“Absolutely. It’s a great time. I always felt as I looked at players that the individual workout was as important as any Pro Day to see how the player responds to coaching and the guys who are going to coach him. I think Pro Day serves a great purpose, especially for those highly-talented college guys that may be drafted on the first day.”

On what new things can he do with an experienced offensive line ...
“They have to play well at a high level and start fast. When an offensive line plays with confidence and is capable, it makes it easier to player quarterback, running back or receiver because it means there is greater protection and greater opportunities for advancing the football – run or pass, and it takes the pressure off what will be some of our younger players. With a new quarterback in the game, it’s awful nice to have good protection and awful nice to be able to hand the ball off and get yards, so that is what an offensive line does for you.”

On how often he gets calls from the NFL about player injuries and why it has become so big ...
“To be honest with you I would have to think that you could possibly determine the source of the rumors. I can’t hope to guess. Whoever it would be, it would be self-serving, and obviously not a friend of this program or of Glenn Dorsey. I have not received a call from an NFL scout or a coach and been asked about his health or if there was something I did not divulge. I have never heard that, only because we operate very honestly and straight forward, and we tell exactly how it is. As you would guess, if somebody asked me if he (Dorsey) had surgery, I would say to him that I could not comment based on HIPAA, which tells him certainly that something is there because HIPAA would not involved unless there was an injury. But if somebody says to me, ‘Did he (Dorsey) have surgery?’ and I said no, it’s a pretty easy definable issue for us, and we are going to answer honestly and give every bit of information that would benefit both parties.”

On what Ryan Perrilloux is doing to stay in shape because he has not been with the team ...
“Right now he has the opportunity to make up six workouts, and he is making those up on a daily basis and trying to accommodate some responsibility to the team to be in shape when he takes the field eventually. He is involved in the weight room and in running, and he hadn’t been until yesterday. Now he is pursuing the field in that vein. He still has some important academic work that needs to take place between now and on Monday when he will rejoin the team, and certainly he is working to do those.”

On the workouts Perrilloux is making up ...
“We did six coaching workouts, and those are workouts that everybody must make up to step on the field. He was suspended through that time, so he has to make those workouts up on his time. He meets with Coach (Tommy) Moffitt, and there is a schedule of six workouts in short order. I think the last one will be Saturday.”

On what Perrilloux can do to regain the trust of his teammates ...
“We are going to allow that position to compete fully, and we are not looking to rely on anybody as the quarterback. There are three guys at that spot, and we’ll determine who the best one is as we get closer to games. Nobody is making that call at this point, so basically it’s competition and he has to compete.”

On when Perrilloux started the six workouts he has to make up ...
“It started yesterday. He is getting some workouts in, in the next couple of days.”

On the comparison of this year’s team at spring with last year’s team at spring ...
“Last year’s team in the spring is very comparable. Last year’s team at the end of the season, it’s not close. That’s the way it always is. Each team develops as the fall goes on, gets better, and that has to happen. With this team, the receivers, the quarterbacks and the protections is pretty good. I feel like the defensive line started better after the break than they did at the start of spring. I think we are improved, and I look forward to the next six practices.”



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