Miles Addresses Media Prior to Towson Game

LSU head coach Les Miles at Monday's press conference
LSU head coach Les Miles at Monday's press conference
Chris Parent (@chrisparent) (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- On Monday, LSU head coach Les Miles spoke to the media to recap the victory at Auburn and looked ahead to this weekend's matchup with Towson.

Watch on-demand here.

Les Miles Press Conference
Sept. 24, 2012

Opening statement ...
"I recognize that playing in our conference on the road is a tremendous challenge. I have to recognize that I've taken some real quality teams to Auburn and finished second. Auburn's back was against the wall and they really played a very strong game with a very good game plan. I give them credit. Any time that your opponent is playing in an emotional game, they really step up. The key is us. We have to handle our opponent much more effenciently so we don't make mistakes and we're not sloppy. I have to give it again to some youth and some guys that don't understand the position we're in, and the recognition of what makes a very, very well-played ball game as opposed to that game that's sloppy and gives your opponent every opportunity at staying in that game.

"We have some things to fix, and we're looking forward t it. I can tell you our team is looking forward to it as well. But we turn the ball over twice, we go down and and first two drives weren't as efficient offensively as we've been. Right down the field, we get down to the one-yard line, and we throw it on the ground. The reason that we did is because we have a good guy at center, and he didn't really understand the cadence and what's going on. That's something that's easily fixed. Really, he will be better at it beyond the expereice. Our quarterback (Zach Mettenberger) did a good job, and in my opinion played a very key role in that game. He showed toughness, and he made quality plays. He cannot turn over in the pocket, no matter the pressure. Surely we're protecting better. Our quarterback must have the proper view of that ball that it's ours and we're going to keep it. I would want to make sure I got to the back end of a game, with the idea that with the game on the line, they would play competitively and rise to the level of play.

"I thought the defense played extremely well the entire game, and the back end played better than they had. I thought the offense, on the drive that they needed, took it down the field to win. So that being said, there's plenty to fix. But it's a real quality team, you can't lose sight of that. But we've got to clean up some stuff and fix it. I think our team will be looking forward to participating in that event.

"Our special teams Brad Wing, in my opinion has a nice game. One punt he'd like to have back, but he hit three punts that were absolutely key in that game and made great contribution. Drew (Alleman) was rushed in the backend. It's an interesting scenario. We put a timeout into our third down call. The penalty was called, the opponent takes time with the decision, and by the time the decision's made, we have to hurry to kick the field goal. To be honest, Drew Alleman's not going to make that mistake, and he's going to kick that punt and not give us short clock.

"Towson State is used to winning, they're a conference champion and 2-1 this year. They are a team that is going to come in and play here and give us their best shot. They have very good special teams, good concept on offense, and a defense that flys to the ball. Coach Ambrose has done a very good job there, and his team is well-coached and prepared. We'll have to play well. The good thing about this week is we'll have a Monday practice. A week ago at this time, we were all running for cover. So we'll step into what would be our normal regimen and do some of the things we need to do. We're looking forward to playing Towson State, playing in our stadium, and preparing for them and the rest of the season. It's a great week for us to look forward to proving our game, offense and defense especially."

On evaluating the penalties from the game against Auburn ...
"I recognize the calls, and the calls were certainly legitimate calls. I cannot argue with that. I'm going to speak to the head officials later this afternoon or sometime tomorrow. I would not argue with the call. Our guys have to recognize how the game's going to be officiated. In several instances, they're good, clean-house mistakes. In several instances, it was getting a guy off of another guy. It's always been the unfortunate postion of the retaliation that gets the penalty. They were not aggressive fouls. This was guys unpiling and trying to get somebody off their teammate, not jacking somebody from behind. In my opinion, they were not cheap shots in any way. It's a good learning experience for our players, because we give an opponent 80 yards, and they just barely rushed for that. The thing we have to understand is that it's all about victory, and your buddy will feel awfully good if you save that penalty and let the opponent give you things rather than give them things."

On defensive end Sam Montgomery ...
"Sam Montgomery was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. He made big plays, and he had a two-point safety. We turn the ball over, they can't get out of their own end zone, and Sam played well in the first half. He stepped up and played even better in the second half. Frankly at halftime, he echoed what we were all thinking, saying, 'We needed one of these, we needed a fist fight, and we needed a game where we're challenged. We needed a game where we can go out play the second half. That's what I'm going to do, and I expect you guys to play like me.' Sam had that. If you watched him, he wasn't any more tired in this game because after he made his tackles, he had plenty of opportunities to jump around. I think Sam shows great leadership, I think he's having a great year, and I think it will continue.

On wide receivers ...
"I think our receivers are improving. I think it's a work in progress like the rest of our team. I think they were key in some instances. In other instances, can play better. I think they will. Sometimes you have to give some credit to the opponent as well. They covered some routes too."

On offensive tackles allowing sacks during the game against Auburn ...
"Any time someone gets into our back field, we want to address it. There were some miscommunications between (quarterback Zach Mettenberger) and the back of his side. We're going to work on that and make our tackles more aware. It really happened twice in that game in my mind. I think we can fix that."

On correcting mistakes ...
"I think the good news is that our team understands the positon they're in. If they want to win a division or a conference, they're going to have to fix their mistakes. They understand that it's not like a new conversation, and it's not like the practice is going to alter in any way. Ball security is going to be the first thing on that practice schedule every week anyway. It's really just awareness and making them understand that there is no personal liberty here. This is a must, to play the way we play. To do the things that we need to do, it has to take hold. I can't imagine that it won't. This is not something that is new to the team, it needs to be addressed more specifically."

On ball security ...
"We count on our running backs to run the ball, have ball security and get yards.It's important that (Spencer) Ware, and the guys who carry the ball, including (Michael) Ford and Kenny (Hilliard) run with that kind of ball security. I can't imagine that it is going to change, and I think Coach (Frank) Wilson does a great job really instituting a regimen of ball security that we follow week in and week out. It's something that we would expect."

On linebackers Kevin Minter and Lamin Barrow ...
"I think those two guys have had really big games. We're really counting on them to play veteran football, big-time football and really playing their positions in an excellent way. I think Kevin Minter is really a tremendous linebacker. A guy who understands where the ball is coming out, he understands his responsiblities, and has mastered his techniques and is really just playing an instinctual type of football. I think Lamin Barrow has always had great size and speed on our team. Now, he's playing much more veteran football. He's much more accountable and more assignment-aware, and it's making differences. He's making bigger plays, and he's always been a very physical presence. I think both of those guys had great games in this last game."

On quarterback Zach Mettengerber's performance ...
"I think that he can play extremely well. I liked his leadership during the back end of the game. I felt the last play of the game was a decision that he made. He made a nice throw. The things that we ask Zach to do, he can do. Beside the protection issues, I assessed his play as very positive. He has to recognize that when there's pressure in the pocket, the ball is making it out of his hands. That being said, we're working on that. It's not him by himself, it's offensive lines, it's backs, it's play call, and it's addressing the issue. We're going to do that."

On the offensive line ...
"I like the line up, I think we have the potential to be a very, very good offensive line long term. If I make a move, it would not be to disrupt many. If you move one out and move one back in, it becomes disruption as you prepare what is the change. I like where we're at, and we'll see if we can make this work.""

On addressing the penalties on the sidelines with the players....
"We occasionally have a conversation that cannot wait until I get to the confines of a locker room. I take that liberty as a head coach to do that, those things that are private in nature, but they're reflective of what needed to happen and what we'll need to have happen. I think that the conversation was well-placed and taken correctly. I'm just trying to make sure that our guys understand that it's about victory. It's not about who's tougher. There's nothing in a priority list that you would take on a field that would stand above that word, victory. To give an opponent 80 yards against that defense, we'll punt it again."

On running back Spencer Ware ...
"I think Spencer's a tremendously competitive guy. I think he's lost 10, maybe 12 pounds in the offseason. I  think he's faster than he's been. He's a physical back, and he has great ball skills. This is where Spencer needs to play. This shows just how well he's playing. He'll have a number of very very productive Saturdays."




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