Miles Addresses Media Prior to Homecoming Game

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Chris Parent (@chrisparent) (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU football head coach Les Miles spoke to the media on Monday afternoon as his ninth-ranked Tigers prepare to face No. 22 Mississippi State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

The Tiger and Bulldogs kickoff on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT in LSU's annual Homecoming game.



Opening statement ...
"I first want to say that I felt that Tiger Stadium was a great environment to play in. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed the crowd. I certainly wished we could have finished for them. Our team surely gave great effort. I am awfully proud of that team. It is an interesting thing when you pick up the newspaper and you watch TV, and nobody gives you a chance. Indiscriminately talk about how this team is going to get by you and etc. It was really just a forgone conclusion. How could you think any other way? There were 85 Tigers that felt that they needed to play, and play well. Frankly, you win every statistical category but the score. That is unfortunate. I promise you I told you team that I wish I would have played better. I wish I would have done some things differently. We were going after them. It was obvious. We played that way.

"The offense had a very productive night versus a very capable defense. They maybe played their most complete game. Zach Mettenberger was 25-of-34 for just under 300 yards. I thought that he and the receivers had a great chemistry and a great anticipation of throw. All of the things that we needed to have to show improvement in that game was very evident. I felt that we rushed the football okay. I think we can rush the football better. I just think that we can execute that part of our game a little bit better than we did in that game. I think that Jeremy Hill is a very capable back. I liked my young offensive line. We're playing a lot of young men that really stepped up, played hard and played with the style of play that we expect from LSU's offensive lines. Again, great effort. I think the receiving core, (Kadron) Book, (Jarvis) Landry and (Odell) Beckham, all three played well. There were some drops that we would like to have back, but then there were some great catches to. That is reflective of a quality evening. I wish that if there was one thing that I could have an effect on as well is when we were first and goal on the 12 yard-line, and because of a personal foul, it is first down at the 27 in a drive that we did not get points. I think we made our point there, and we will continue to. That was a costly penalty.

"The defense played awfully well against a very capable offensive line and a very quality quarterback, receiving core and running backs. Except for two drives, one long drive of 90 plus and then the last drive of the game, that defense was just tremendous. We went back and looked at every call from the last drive of the game. I don't think I would have changed the one. I don't think Chief (Defensive Coordinator John Chavis) would have changed the one. It gave us every opportunity to compete, and we liked what we did. We need to execute it again. On the touchdown play, there was a guy that was out of position and dropped coverage. Again, as a young player, he had one of his better games. Defense played well to a point, but the point was good enough for victory.

"The special teams, certainly I would have liked to have one of those calls back. We saw something that we liked. I wanted to go after it. Maybe we were too aggressive. I like Drew Alleman. I think that he will be fine. We gave him a bunch of long kicks. He is my kicker. I'll take him. We will win a lot of games with him, and have won a lot of games with him. I liked the onside kick. I wanted to steal a possession, and I felt like it was there. We had just scored, and it was exactly the right time. I've seen our guy execute that a bunch of times. Sometimes the ball bounces the wrong way, and it bounced back up and hit him in the chest. If it had not, who knows?

"Now on to Mississippi State. I can tell you this. Our football team understands that we did not get it done against Alabama. The recognition of playing for victory and the win is the only piece. I have to say that I liked how they competed and I like who they are. They played like LSU. I'll take that kind of performance. I will tell them that again at 2 p.m. With that being said, we have to play like that every time. Let's go throw for 300 or more and rush for 200 or more. Let's be that style of offense. On defense, let's close some of those mistakes, dress it up a little bit and play with the same intensity that we played. Our special teams will play with anybody. I liked Odell Beckham as a punt returner. The point is, we improved and need to keep that improvement as we move on. The opportunity to play a very capable Mississippi State team, a team that is 7-2 and ranked in the top-25. I think Dan Mullen does a great job there. They will certainly be prepared. Tyler Russell is a quarterback that I have seen a lot of. I think that he is a very quality signal caller. They have a number of guys. Chad Bumphis, a guy that we have an understanding of how capable he is. An offensive line that has really given up eight sacks all year. We recognize offensively how capable they are. Defensively, they are a big and physical front. They have linebackers and down lineman that will be a nice matchup. They have a quality defense. But it is going to be Saturday night in Tigers Stadium, and our team enjoys playing there. We are invoking the 24-hour rule. Today we will watch that film again, and beyond that we are done. You are forgetting it. We are taking the positive and moving on. We are looking forward to playing a very capable team. It is good that we are playing a good team. It is what our football team needs. If they play like that in the next game, I will be happy."

On "trick" plays ...
"I would probably make those calls again. I see things that can be advantages, and I make calls that are based on decisions, and I don't necessarily share every piece or tidbit. I can tell you that I'd probably do that again. If you look at (the game), talking about Alabama, if we can extend the drive by a minute and thirty, the game's over. If you look at those fourth downs that we didn't make, the opportunity to extend that drive is really what I was trying to get done. I'm going to make those calls if I feel like it's the best thing that we can do for victory."

On team performance ...
"The calls, I probably would make again. The issue of how well your team played, how well they executed, how tough they were and how physical they were, that's the difficult part. Not having victory there, that's something that a coach would want for his team fully. It's interesting, we win those games. We get into a tight quarter game, get back into the end, and generally, that's how LSU wins."

On accomplishing team goals this season ...
"A championship-style effort and a championship-style football team are still very much our need and want. Things have to play out for me. I am an eternal optimist, and if I feel like a door is open to us, we'll come. That being said, the opportunity to do some very significant things this season is still in front of this team. But first and foremost, it's about really enjoying your football team. In other words, giving everything you have to it as a player, as a coach and then as a group of men going and fighting to win ball games. When you work as hard as we do, you get to the back end of the week and you finish second in a ball game, there's a lot of incentive to win."

On team success ...
"I think we'll come in the offensive line, and I think that's not an issue. We'll continue to protect like we have, and we'll choose our times where we'll have five guys to protect, six guys to protect or even seven guys to protect. In certain times, we'll have eight guys to protect. That will always be a part of our game plan. If you watch how we kicked off, we occasionally hit a little shorter and had some success with that, so I don't know at that point in time, the kickoff there, we would've given some thought to that. After we didn't make it, we kind of dropped the thought process about how we were going to kick it off. If we had to win, I probably would've kicked it to the end zone."

On fullback J.C. Copeland and penalties ...
"There's nothing that validates those penalties, certainly not his play in any way. I guess there's a point in time where on the play that busts to the 12th, he makes a tremendous line of scrimmage block, looks up and he's looking for somebody to hit and loses perspective on the time. This is not a dirty player ,this is a guy who's given great effort, hustle and energy. Those things from a player like that, it's not acceptable in any way. We took him out for some period of time in that game until he understood that yet again, and we asked him before we put him back in the game, 'Are you going to be able to control yourself?' And he said, 'absolutely.' I guess there's a point in time where young players learn, and hopefully it will be that time."

On team capability ...
"We actually test the field goal before the game. We see how deep their kicking it one side or the other. We felt like we could kick that field goal. It was a difficult opportunity to score, but there was a percentage chance that he makes that. Ford should never have taken that out. We put him on the five yard line with instructions, and it went back too deep. At the very end of the game, the very last kickoff, he's given the opportunity to get that out and make a big play in that position any time a team has to cover the field. That opportunity gives you a chance. We feel like we have an understanding of what we're capable of there."

On possibility of Jeremy Hill as a starter ...
"I think Jeremy (Hill) has had some of the experiences that allow you to mature quickly. Certainly off the field experiences, and then the understanding of what we're asking him to do. As a running back, we're asking him to be the guy that learns quickly, has a great football IQ and has really strong talent. He still needs to develop. He had some opportunities to play better in that game, so we're still teaching. We're still improving. I don't know if he's ready to take the first snap in games all the time or not. I don't know that he doesn't need a spell. He's certainly proving that he has a gift for running the football."

On Alabama quarterback A.J. MacCarron ...
"He hit a pretty well-covered tight end that frankly could've made a better play on a ball. He hit a ball underneath it. We would've liked to go before the first down, then on a drop, our drop could've put us in a better position, we would've taken an alignment different, and in that series would've allowed us to defend extremely well. A guy drops coverage and he's a young player, we're going to coach him well."

On Mississippi State ...
"I can tell you that they've always had a pretty big defense tapped in here. I think they're better on offense. I don't know that they've adopted any specific style against us that's different than any other teams. They've had really quality defenses every year we've played."

On the last drive ...
"The six pointer means that they have to score a seven-pointer to beat you. The three that ties is no longer there. That to me was a likely scenario. I would like to have had us play the coverage that we called in the second in ten and have their screen pass be a tough place to throw it. Maybe we'll have to throw that one away, and then see how they fair in the third and ten. If they get the third and ten, and we've got six points, it makes the wherewithal with their thought processes much different. That's all if's and but's."

On the opportunity of playing in a BCS bowl ...
"I think there's an understanding that we're a good football team. I think Saturday, in certain ways, proved that. Now we have to play to that and play like that, and let's just see how this thing goes. Can we end up in a BCS bowl? It certainly seems like it's a possibility. Should things change significantly in the perimeter? That certainly would give us an opportunity to play best and play last."

On other LSU losses under Coach Les Miles ...
"The good news is, there haven't been many. With reservation, considering that I can't recall each and all, honestly I try to forget any time we finish second just as fast as I can. I did think this team played extremely well and gave great effort in an effort that was not rewarded by victory."

On LSU being discounted before game even started ...
"I think we're youthful, I think we're talented, I think we're coming, I think we'll get better and better, I like our quarterback's play, I like our receiver's play. We have good backs, and I think our fullback play will come. I think offensively, there's a great long-term view here."

On running back Alfred Blue dressing out for the game against Alabama last year ...
"He's not ready to play. He so wanted to be with his team, and we have a standing rule that if you're injured and you cannot play, we'll get you a great seat, but you're not going to be a bench guy. Unless you can put on the uniform, you're not in the bench area. So Alfred Blue, who's way ahead and has really rehabilitated extremely hard, elected to put that uniform on and come out there with us. I loved it. I personally enjoyed it greatly"




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