LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Miles Speaks to Media as Football Preps for Florida
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Published: October 01, 2012, 01:11 PM (CT)
Updated: October 01, 2012, 03:44 PM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU head coach Les Miles spoke to the media on Monday during his weekly press conference as his fourth-ranked Tigers begin preparations to travel to Gainesville.

LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) takes on Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by CBS.

Watch the full video now, and read the transcript from the press conference below.


Opening Statement...
"First, the Towson team, in my opinion, earned their respect in our stadium. They played hard, very competitive and they have good players. They are a well-coached tea. I think our football team, no matter how many times I said and mentioned that they were used to winning and a conference championship team, I don't know if I got the point across. Certainly I didn't. I think there is an understanding that we need to play better and it is our culture that we need to be consistent. I think our team understands that. Offensively, the uncharacteristic turnovers, I am glad that they are getting them out early as much as I hate to see them. We can't afford that as we go forward. We teach ball security very aggressively, and we will continue that again today, Tuesday, Wednesday and right on through. I can't imagine that it won't get addressed well and fixed.

"I think our quarterback play is by and large very good. The things that he tries to do by extending the play put him in jeopardy. In some days you see those quarterbacks that run out of the pocket and make a big play. That frankly is not something we are looking for from him. We're really not looking to extend the play much. We would like to get it out of his hands. We are coaching that. It is coming. I like Zach (Mettenberger), and I think his effort and energy is good for this team. I think he will continue to improve. Just remember that he has not really started in major college football before. Now he is onto a nice start, and some things are out of the way. Let's get to the veteran play as we move toward the back end of the year. It is very likely that he will play better and better each week.

"I thought that the defense played just like we would expect them to play in spots. The back end of the game, they uncharacteristically gave up a grind out drive. To me, it really speaks to Towson. They have a very fine back, a guy who runs hard and is very physical. They have a nice offensive line that moves their feet and gets on you. Frankly, it became important that we play well. There were some missed tackles by some keys guys and some guys that we would never expect to miss tackles.

"Again, I must not have gotten their attention. Period. I think our football team is looking forward to the next opportunity. It was very difficult for me to sandwich between the Auburn and the Florida game to get this attention directed. I think that (Brad) Wing continues to punt the ball well. Those balls that are tough to field and end up as turnovers against our opponent have to do with how he kicks the ball. We have work to do. We are not happy with the penalties. We are not going to take the turnovers. Guys will see limited action. At the same time, this is a team that understands how to play and understands the culture in our building and our school. I suspect that they will play well against Florida.

"The Florida team is a very talented team. They have beaten both Texas A&M and Tennessee this year. They are very good and well coached by Will Muschamp, a defensive guy and a guy whose defense plays extremely well that way. Their quarterback, Jeff Driskel, seems to get better with each throw. He has thrown for 700 yards and four touchdowns. They have a very talented running back in Mike Gillislee. He is second in the conference in rushing with over 100 yards a game. He is very tough and loose. They are efficient on offense. They seem to go down the field and have defensive playmakers. They have a real positive turnover margin. The opportunity to go play in "The Swamp" is always a great challenge to any team. It is a challenge that our team will look forward to. I am looking forward to another great week of practice to see if we can improve and get some things out of the way."

On the vocal leaders of the team ...
"I think Eric Reid is a vocal leader, I think Zach Mettenberger is a vocal leader and Sam (Montgomery) speaks his peace. I think we have quality leadership here. It's hard for me to put my hand right on it. I have to believe that Towson came in and played well, and I think it was a little eye-opening to them."

On pass protection effecting game play ...
"We have a young freshman back in the game, and he goes the wrong way. That would be easily corrected. It's just one of those early mistakes. We'll get beyond it. I think the slip and fall did not have to do with protection. There are those times when you need to throw that ball away. I think if we do that, we may punt a little bit more often, but it will take away some of the negative plays. I think we'll call the offense very much like we have."

On starters ...
"We think that the guys that have been nicked are going to return to action very quickly, with the possible exception of J.C. Copeland. We've heard some really positive things, and we're hopeful for a quick recovery. I don't know how quick, but we're going to get to the back end of the week and see how far away it is. We're optimistic there. I think when you play a number of young guys, it takes them a game or so to get their feet in and get themselves squared away with what they're doing. I think we played a lot of young guys on defense at different times. I think the fact that we substituted quality young defensive players has something to do with it, but guys are not necessarily going to see a lot of action when we get to the heat of the conference."

On how each individual's play effects the team ...
"The fundamental answer is when you step into a starting role, you play like the expectations of the position. It's just that simple. Yet when you lose starters, there are guys that step in there that probably aren't as good as the starter. Give them some time, give them some coaching, and I think there's an opportunity for us to be very, very comparable to any team. I think there's some honesty when a starter goes out that the guy who takes his spot is young and not necessarily ready that day. Beyond the Towson game, hopefully we'll see that they are."

On the number of true freshmen who have played this year...
"I think Kwon Alexander played extremely well for a young guy. I think he plays fast. He certainly wasn't perfect by any stretch. I think he's a guy that will come quickly. I also agree that (Vadal) Alexander is a guy that has ability that will come. I don't know that his immediate play will be in the same position that Kwon's was. It's imperative that the freshman class contribute. It's a numbers issue for us. Guys like Danielle Hunter. Danielle Hunter is going to be a tremendous player, and he made a lot of special teams plays Saturday. He's a guy that will eventually get a lot of snaps from defense and will play defensive end with the best of them. I think you're fortunate that you can have that freshman on the field and give him some snaps in early games, so that when we get to the heat of the schedule, he's ready to play."

On the offensive line ...
"I think Dworaczyk will be in better position to play. I don't know that we'll make that decision until we get closer to game time. I like that we played last week. I like the lineup. I think those guys are getting more comfortable game in and game out, and I think we'll be better."

On unused parts of the playbook ...
"I think the playbook is certainly open. The opportunity for us to continue drives allows for those calls that are not guided by situation. When you move the football regularly, you can call a lot of things. When you're not necessarily hitting at all cylinders, there's an opportunity for you to rein it in because you want to make sure the things that you do are successful and that you continue drives. I agree with Odell Beckham (Jr.), or Zach (Mettenberger) that there are some parts of the playbook that haven't been touched yet. That's for the future anyway. It never was going to be for those games that you have under hand."

On defensive end Barkevious Mingo ...
"The thing about a guy with great speed and great wing span playing at defensive end is it becomes very difficult for the offensive tackles to get their hands on them. He plays so much bigger than his weight because he has great leg drive and quickness. So when the ball snaps, he's into the tackle very quickly. It's the force that he brings with speed and his legs that allows him to play exceptionally well. I think he continues to develop. I think he's a ways away from the being the best that he can be. I think he's plenty good."

On linebacker Lamin Barrow ...
"It takes time to play consistent football. It's the calls, understanding the call, being in the position and being in the situation in live games. It just sometimes takes time. Lamin (Barrow) has taken those snaps. He's good not only on defense, but he's good and very, very efficient on special teams. I think it's no more than the number of reps. I think he's always had great athletic ability, talent and ability to hit. I just think he feels more comfortable than he ever has."

On dealing with penalties ...
"I grade every penalty. Some of these are great effort, great energy penalties. Some, you don't necessary know how the call was made, and you have to get the right angle to make sure it was so you could see it correctly. I think we're coming there. I think our understanding becomes even more vivid when you get into a game like this and penalties stop drives."

On predictability ...
"I think there's always a need not to be predictable. I think there are those times when you want to throw it, and it's very difficult not to throw it when you're third-and-10. I think third-and-10 is an amount of distance we would like to avoid. I think predictability really has to do with success. I think as long as you have success, predictability becomes very difficult."

On quarterbacks ...
"I think both (Rob Bolden and Jerrard Randall) are developing. Both guys are competing, and we really want to develop the quarterbacks that are currently taking snaps. That would certainly be(Zach) Mettenberger and (Stephen) Rivers. I can tell you the issue with a good quality throwing game is the same challenge to the same part of the defense. The secondary is going to have to back up and going to have to play a style that will allow us to do the things we want to do. I understand the want to get to an option now and then, but I just want to continue to develop and work with this quarterback."

On the season ...
"I think our football team needs to understand that it's the week and it's the opponent. I would think that this would be one of those weeks where you will have to get their attention, and they'll want to come to play. I thought that the schedule was a real quality one and one that offered us a diverse challenge."

On Florida's offense ...
"I think they're much improved. I think they're making quality decisions at the quarterback spot. I think (quarterback Jeff Driskel) is hitting his passers and his receivers. I think he's got a good quality punting attack that I think he can rely on, and I think that it's a much more conventional, but very efficient offense."

On players with injuries ...
"I think (Luke) Muncie's getting better, and I think he might play more significant snaps this Saturday. J.C. Copeland's nicked. We're hopeful that rehabilitation is all it will take, just a little bit of time and we'll get him back at the end of the week and. Spencer (Ware) came off the game with little bumps and bruises, no different than any number of guys that play in a quality football game."

On LSU and Florida defense similarities ...
"I think (head coach) Will (Muschamp) has done a great job there. I think their guys certainly understand what they want to get accomplished. They have all the characteristics of very quality leadership. They tackle well, they come off of the ball and they have great speed to the ball. That's the same for our defense and (defensive coordinator) John Chavis as well."

On Odell Beckham Jr. ...
"I think his overall play is really improved. I think it's his approach to game week. He comes to each practice in a want to get better and looking at the specific techniques, the little things. He comes to work, and he works hard. He's making a difference in his productivity."

On wide receiver Russell Shepard ...
"I think we're trying to get more touches to Russell (Shepard). Get him on the field in any number of spots and see if we can get him the ball. I think he, obviously, from the explosive play that he had last Saturday, has some ability there that frankly, we'd love to tap into on a regular basis."

On playing in "The Swamp," Ben Hill Griffin Stadium ...
"It's a great place to play. If you enjoy classic college venues, and if you enjoy the SEC, that's as good as it gets. Quality opponent on the road, loud, I think it's a great place to play."

On quarterback Zach Mettenberger's mistakes ...
"It's more of an awareness and a clock that must be ticking in his mind. He isn't understanding what the route calls for, and he knows then that he's extending the play. That is the spot where awareness has to kick in. The ability to have small characteristics help him make quick decisions. That's really what we're trying to give him."

On passing game problems ...
"It's more due to a wrong technique or a wrong route. It's being reduced routinely. I think Zach (Mettenberger) shares in, but he's not the reason for the inefficiency in the passing game. I think it's born by the offensive line, running backs and wide receivers. I think it's all of us. I think we're improving, I think they will continue to improve. Hopefully we'll get a look at it in Florida."


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