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LSU head coach Les Miles at Wednesday's press conference
Photo by:Melissa Macatee
Miles Addresses Bowl Media at Press Conference
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Published: January 05, 2011, 11:26 AM (CT)
Updated: January 05, 2011, 06:26 PM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

LSU head coach Les Miles spoke to the Cotton Bowl media on Wednesday morning, as the Tigers continue to prepare for Friday's 7:27 p.m. CT kickoff against Texas A&M on FOX. Watch the press conference above or read the transcript below.

Coach Miles and the Tigers took part in their last full-scale practice at Cowboys Stadium, as the team will walk-through on Thursday.

Fans in Dallas are invited to the Hilton Anatole for the Bowl Edition of The Les Miles Show presented by Capital One Bank. The one-hour show is open to the public starting at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Jan. 6.

Written by the Cotton Bowl

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The 11th-ranked LSU Tigers lightened their workload for their fourth AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic practice, devoting just a little under two hours in shorts and light pads under the lights at Cowboys Stadium.

LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC) used its final full practice to fine-tune its game plan for the 17th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (9-3, 6-2 Big 12), working on everything from special teams scenarios to play and substitution patterns in offensive and defensive sets. The Tigers did get to practice with added bonus of a team highlight video playing on the video screens throughout practice.

"It was kind of our final walk-through and rehearsed some of the situations. It was pretty sharp," said head coach Les Miles.

Winners of three of its last four games, LSU is eager for its matchup against Texas A&M as it will have been 41 days since the Tigers' last game, a 31-23 loss at Arkansas on Nov. 27. The 41 days is the longest span between games in a season in school history. Miles said he does not feel his Tigers will be out of rhythm when they hit the field for their final game of the 2010 season.

"We've been through it before," Miles said of having the long break between games. "We don't anticipate that. In fact, we were a little bit sharper today than we were yesterday."

Following Wednesday's practice, the LSU players will enjoy a quiet, restful evening at their headquarters hotel. The team will conduct a short walk-through on the Cowboys Stadium turf Thursday afternoon as its final preparation for Classic clash with the Aggies in prime time on Friday.

"We will anticipate this (game) to be a real quality, four-quarter game," said Miles. "You're going to have to come out fast and maintain a tempo that allows you to compete for four quarters. That's how we've trained, that's how we've planned and we figure this is going to be very competitive start to finish. Early lead or not, this is going to be four quarters and fight like heck to the finish."

Observing 75 years of college football tradition, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic moves into primetime under the lights on Friday, Jan. 7. Airtime on FOX Sports is 7:00 p.m., with kickoff slated for 7:27 p.m. FOX Sports will have a blanket coverage of the broadcast with Kenny Albert and former Dallas Cowboy fullback Daryl Johnston calling the action from the booth, Charles Davis and John Lynch reporting from the sidelines, the legendary Pat Summerall serving in a new role as the Classic's essayist and Chris Rose hosting the telecast from the sidelines.

HEAD COACH LES MILES

Opening Comments:
"Being here in Las Colinas has been very interesting for me. As I grew up in the Miles family, I remember driving over to where those [Southern Methodist] Mustangs were. How wonderful it is to remember your past that certainly interacts and connects with Texas very strongly. As we were driving over today, very slowly, I was able to review my time here and remembered the great friends that were Texas A&M graduates. They were very loyal to their school which I think highlights our opponent and makes this game a little more important in my opinion. As a young boy I remember watching that Cotton Bowl game and it was traditionally as important as any other bowl game in the New Year's schedule. Having been here once before, I anticipated what would be great service by the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic committee and they have continued to exceed what could possibly be expected. They have a wonderful group of people and they do an excellent job. I cannot imagine that this will not be a BCS game one day. The Cowboys Stadium is one of the finest stadiums in the world. Our team is excited to be in there every day to practice. When we looked at this game, the aptitude to play at another place was certainly there but there were really two factors that pointed us at the Cotton Bowl Classic. Both our team and our fan base wanted to play here. Everyone wanted to come to Dallas, play in that stadium, and play in The Classic. Then of course, the tradition of rivalry between LSU and Texas A&M still exists. This game is a game that will be played with emotion and passion and will be a very important one to win. It's obvious when you look at the Texas A&M team, they are very capable and talented and have been for years. I was fortunate to be a part of the Big 12 Conference. I can tell you that R.C. Slocum, head football coach at Texas A&M from 1989-2002, remembers his school very well and I was able to compete against him. Coach Mike Sherman has done a tremendous job with the Aggies and they have gotten better with every game. For them to come through the back end of the season and beat Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Baylor is a great run for any team. We have a tremendous respect and concern for the team and what they have done. Their quarterback change from Jerrod Johnson to Ryan Tannehill has been good for them. He has great speed and can move the ball around with a lot of balance and speed. These guys are difficult to tackle. Their defense is an Oklahoma style defense with a great scheme and LB Von Miller will be an NFL player. He has great speed and a lot of competitive spirit. Texas A&M  is a team that should be playing in the Cotton Bowl Classic because they are nationally ranked and have competed and can compete with any all leagues. This will be a great game and we are looking forward to competing against Texas A&M."

On facing Texas A&M's up-tempo offense...
"Anytime you run a change in tempo, your speed and their speed fits on a board. If your speed is not ready to go and theirs is, then the advantage is to them. I think Texas A&M does a wonderful job with that. We've practiced hard against that as we have gone forward. We have given our second team offense to play on a regular basis against our first defense just so we can get our defense used to the fast-paced tempo.

On possible renewal of Texas A&M vs. LSU rivalry...
"I think when you play quality opponents, you have to understand that you need to play with great passion to win. There is a want to renew a rivalry like that and I don't think there is any question. Making it fit into a season is an important piece to that."

On ending this season and opening next season at Cowboys Stadium...
"We do see some carry-over and beyond the great opportunity to play here, looking at the second game we play in Cowboys Stadium will certainly be a benefit."

On speculation of Texas A&M moving to the SEC...
"I think our conference commissioner Mike Slive is looking at those things that would benefit our conference. Just to add teams to add teams would not make any since. I am certain that the Texas A&M would be a huge addition to any conference."

On recruiting boost from winning this game...
"I think anytime you have a positive outcome that it makes a difference in recruiting. I can tell you that our Texas guys seem to have a little more energy in their step. I think playing in Texas will certainly help our Texas guys and certainly in a bowl game."

On RB Stevan Ridley's readiness for the 75th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic...
"I don't think anyone should be concerned that he is not getting enough carries. Stevan knows the things he needs to do in our game plan and I don't think that will affect him at all."

On QB Jordan Jefferson's incoming competition next year...
"Jordan needs to play well for his football team. I don't think that he is thinking about anything other than that. I don't think the talent that we have coming at quarterback has any influence in any way on how he will perform at quarterback. His want and desire is to be the best quarterback for himself and the football team."

On DB Patrick Peterson's possible move to the NFL...
"Patrick is going to be a great member of this team and if he decides to go on to the NFL, we will wish him the very best. I think his want and desire to play big in this game is really based on his contribution to this team, his friends, and his class. I don't think his view of this needs to be a statement of any kind. He has proven his worth to us.

On confidence of having Ridley for the Cotton Bowl Classic...
"I really was not confident to be honest with you. I didn't quite know but with more information I became confident. I really did believe that the NCAA would do those things that they always said they would do. As a school, we did the things that the NCAA wanted us to do and we immediately ruled him ineligible for this game. We went through an appeal so he could practice and come with us while we were appealing that ruling. The NCAA has a function to insure a fair and level playing field and it is not a job that comes without bumps. They have worked hard to come to a ruling that I feel was a right and correct decision in my opinion. This is a benefit to them and a benefit to college football and that is what makes this work."

On benefits of practicing at Cowboys Stadium for the Cotton Bowl Classic...
"I think being in that stadium routinely helps us. It is the kind of stadium that you could take a look at and just be overjoyed. I always thought that our team would translate that into 100 yards. Those things that happen inside those lines will certainly prepare us for The Classic and we will be more comfortable. I asked DB Patrick Peterson if he ever caught himself looking up and he told me not until I get to the sideline. I said I believed that is the time when you need to be using it."

On differences in FBS conferences...
 "I think every conference has a different characteristic. There are some PAC-10 characteristics that are different from the ACC. The SEC is a very athletic conference and is tremendously competitive from top to bottom. Really, every school represents a great and loyal fan base and a quality group of recruits. The SEC has a big strength in every member of the institution. During bowl preparation, it makes it easier because every SEC team has played quality teams during their season. The venues are very competitive and have prepared us to play in these big games. I believe that is a big reason why the Southeastern Conference does well in bowl games  because of those schedules and venues. The experience sometimes can be overwhelming but I think the SEC is used to this."

On LSU and Texas A&M playing two quarterbacks...
"I think playing two quarterbacks has its' advantages. One advantage is that you get to add a new skill set to your offense. A quarterback does something different and better than the other quarterback so therefore that quarterback gets to play. Also, one quarterback gets to rest during that four-quarter game so it allows the other quarterback to renew their energy and strength as the game goes on. I think this should be looked at as a leadership position and I would honestly like for one of our quarterbacks to have more snaps. I do not necessarily want, by design, to play a two-quarterback system but when it gives an advantage, you cannot deny that it increases productivity. In my opinion, I think using two quarterbacks is something that a coach needs to consider."

On missing Patrick Peterson if he leaves for the NFL...
"I think maybe this would be more of a question I could answer later when that decision is made. I can tell you that I enjoy him fully, he is a wonderful team guy, and the things you ask him to do he is going to do. His skills, speed, ability, ball skills, anticipation and all those things are exceptional. If this in fact his last game with LSU, we will miss him without a question. How he will compare to others will be a question to be answered later on."

On leadership of the LSU team...
"I love this team. I am going to miss these seniors when they graduate. I take the field with my team and DT Drake Nevis, LB Kelvin Sheppard, and OT Joseph Barksdale surround me. This is a quality group of men and they work hard. So, I am going to miss them when they are all gone."

 

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