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LSU head coach Les Miles
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Miles Addresses Media Following Tuesday Practice
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Published: August 14, 2012, 02:58 PM (CT)
by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette), Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID

BATON ROUGE - LSU coach Les Miles took advantage of the heat and humidity on Tuesday morning to test his team as he put the Tigers through a 52-play scrimmage towards the end of what was their only workout of the day here at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

The scrimmage featured the 1s and 2s each getting 26 snaps and concluded with a series of field goal attempts. LSU's next full scale scrimmage is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.

"We had a nice little go," Miles said of the scrimmage. "We have some camp weariness. We wanted to really test them. It's kind of like the last 26 plays of the game where you have to attention to detail and complete focus. I felt like it was kind of what we needed. I felt like there was some improvement made. I think the defense certainly played well."

Miles complimented the play of safety Eric Reid and Sam Montgomery on defense, along with that of redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Rivers and running backs Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue.  

"We've improved," Miles said. "On a hot day in the middle of camp, again, the back end of practice, and it's a live go. I enjoyed it - it was kind of what we needed. We weren't perfect in any way and we're not ready to play and frankly we've got to do some things better. But I think it was a good stride today, good steps."

The Tigers are scheduled to practice on shells (shoulder pads and helmets) on Wednesday morning in advance of their last full scale scrimmage of camp on Thursday afternoon.

"It's tremendously useful for all of our team," Miles said of his approach to scrimmages. "We get a lot of special teams reps. A backup quarterback certainly is important for the team, as is a backup safety or a backup gunner or a backup punter, for that matter. So we're really practicing, and that's why our scrimmages are long. It's not just the first team that gets the reps; we're really building depth as we get going. The scrimmage length and the ability to put your seconds in a spot that maybe they have not seen up to this point is key."

LSU Football
Les Miles Press Conference
August 14, 2012

HEAD COACH LES MILES

Opening statement...
"What we did today was we had a nice little go. We have some camp weariness. It's been something that's been on our schedule since we've gotten here. We would go with the back end of the practice, and it's kind of like the last twenty-six plays of the game. It's the kind of practice that you have to have attention to detail and focus on the back end. I felt like it was kind of what we needed. I felt like there was some improvement made. I think the defense certainly played well. I think Eric Reid made a couple of big plays in this twenty-six play-go. I think the quarterbacks are getting better. I think [Stephen] Rivers was throwing the ball pretty well and I think there was a number of good receptions on the offensive side. So we've improved. On a hot day in the middle of camp, again, the back end of practice, and it's live go. I enjoyed it - it was kind of what we needed. We weren't perfect in any way and we're not ready to play and frankly we've got to do some things better. But I think it was a good stride today, good steps. Kenny Hilliard had a nice couple of runs. So did [Michael] Ford. Alfred Blue had a couple of nice runs. Sam Montgomery got to the quarterback really well. There were some specific, really quality plays throughout the go. First team played twenty-six. Second team played twenty-six. Generally it was firsts versus firsts and seconds versus seconds."

On the purpose of the 26 play simulated game in practice...
"There's always a piece of every game where you decide to win. It's generally in the second half and it's a point in time where your opponent is not necessarily focused on that. Again, I enjoyed the go - I thought it was really kind of what we needed."

On the possibility of Tyrann Mathieu returning to LSU as a student-athlete...
"I certainly am rooting for Tyrann [Mathieu] and whatever his future is. But I'm not focused on that. I've got games to play and I've got 104 guys I have to be ready for. I know that this is a very key time in his life and I hope the decisions that he makes are in his best interest for the long-term. So we'll help in any way we can."

On if he thinks Tyrann Mathieu will return to play football for LSU...
"I am not in any way speculating. He will not be on this football team this year - I guarantee that's a fact. So I have no idea beyond that."

On what he tells other schools that are interested in Tyrann Mathieu...
"I recommend him. He's a wonderful young man. I think he's a team player. I think he's improved in his maturity and that's kind of how I would speak about him - that he deserves every opportunity."

On whether he has any say as to which schools can talk to Tyrann Mathieu...
"That conversation has not taken place. He would not necessarily need to go through me though."

On the current state of the offensive line...
"We're building some depth at those places where we give guys breaks in the going. And thus far, we've not had any serious injuries."

On the importance of the scrimmages...
"It's tremendously useful for all of our team. We get a lot of special teams reps. A backup quarterback certainly is important for the team, as is a backup safety or a backup gunner or a backup punter, for that matter. So we're really practicing, and that's why our scrimmages are long. It's not just the first team that gets the reps; we're really building depth as we get going. The scrimmage length and the ability to put your seconds in a spot that maybe they have not seen up to this point is key."

On his favorite backup quarterbacks on the team...
"I like [Stephen] Rivers and I like [Rob] Bolden. I think both guys give us really good competition at the position and I think that they're both improving."

On the team's first forty-four this year...
"I think our first forty-four are pretty good. There's certain places where it has to be good with the depth, and the freshman class must not only be talented but ready to play. I think some of those guys are from the secondary, some of those guys are linebackers. I like us."

On the play of the young cornerbacks in practice since Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal...
"I think there's a number of guys there that are pretty talented and there are some guys who are new to the position, like [Kavahra] Holmes, who really has ability and really is kind of feeling his way right now - not necessarily intuitive because he's not had the technique a lot. I think that [Jalen] Collins and [Jalen] Mills are obviously very, very good corners and competing, in my opinion, for a lot of playing time. Of course, Tharold Simon is still a tremendous corner in his own right, so we're pretty good there."

On Terrence Magee...
"We'll play [Terrence] Magee at running back as well. But he's got really good ball skills, he's fast, and has the ability to make a catch. So we thought that we might get some snaps from him at receiver."

On the competition for the other starting spot at cornerback...
"I think it's based on getting the best player ready to play at the very highest level, and if the best player is a young guy that's really kind of feeling his way but he's coming quickly, he might take some games. But I think that when we walk out there in the first game, I think you'll find out that we'll have a guy there that can really play."

On Dwayne Thomas and whether he's ready and/or capable to start at cornerback...
"I think Dwayne Thomas is a talented guy and one of those guys that I really had vision on when I was saying he was a young guy that might need a little bit more time. I think that that could easily be him. I don't think that he's very, very far long-term. In short-term, I think Jalen Mills is more ready today."

On Zach Mettenberger and his performance at the scrimmage...
"When you consider the number of balls that are well-thrown, I think that we're throwing it pretty well there. Some of the routes weren't adjusted right. There were some mistakes that were not necessarily the quarterback's that led me to believe that the fifteen-for-thirty is pretty good, and we did take an inordinate amount of deep shots."

On when the idea of playing Kavahra Holmes at cornerback came to be...
"Early in camp. Well before camp started, to be honest. Just the thought process. He came in, did a great job at receiver, and we said, 'OK, when we have the time, let's look at it.' So he's over there right now and I think he's doing pretty well."

On whether Terrence Magee's high school career as a quarterback has helped him in any way...
"Absolutely. He is one of the brighter football players that I've ever been around. He shows up and I said, 'Hey, how about you try this,' and he said OK, and two days later he's in it and going and understands what he's doing and understands formations and formation adjustments and where he's playing. His overview because of this quarterback training is extremely good. I think he plays on Saturdays."

On if he sees a leader at the other defensive tackle spot next to Bennie Logan...
"I think there's three guys and we'll wait to see who's the starter, but Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson, and Josh Downs are the guys."

On Terrence Magee's transition from a quarterback in high school...
"I think Terrence [Magee] is really getting it from the coach pretty quickly. I think anybody who runs a route in front of him, he's the kind of guy who picks up the technique and understands where he needs to be. Again, I think it's that quarterback training that he recognizes these things. He has an instinct that's pretty strong."

On who will take over for Craig Loston at safety if he's hurt...
"Craig Loston. He'll be fine."

On the situation with Tyrann Mathieu...
"I have to be honest with you - I think we've done exactly what needs to be done up to this point. I just think that I want to focus on other things and not those pieces."

On how the development of the players and the team's depth allows them to overcome injuries...
"A year ago, I want to say we lost [Alex] Hurst and Brandon Taylor in the Alabama game, in a game that was going to be really hard fought and we played well and were fortunate enough to win. I think that that's where we're at. I think that there's a limitation to what losses we can sustain. But I think that there's a strength in the foundation to this program that these guys have invested in in this room that allows us to have depth and play a quality player and step the next guy on the field that really is expected to play big."

 

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