Miles Addresses Media Before Texas A&M Trip

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

BATON ROUGE -- Following his 100th game at the school, LSU football coach Les Miles addressed the media on Monday as his team prepares to travel to College Station this weekend.

Sixth-ranked LSU (6-1, 4-1 SEC) and No. 20 Texas A&M will meet at 11 a.m. CT on Oct. 20 at Kyle Field. The Tigers haven't been to College Station since 1995.

The game will be broadcast by ESPN and available on the LSU Sports Radio Network with the pregame radio show beginning at 9 a.m.

Read the transcript or watch the video now.


Opening statement ...
"The memory of Tiger Stadium is always renewed anytime you bring a quality opponent in. I can't tell you how much fun it was to play again at home in a big very noteworthy contest. That crowd started with the first snap and finished with the last snap. I promise you, our football team played to that. We've been fortunate to have some games here where you distanced yourself from your opponent. Not necessarily did everyone stay until the last tick of the clock. Many times the coach would leave the stadium around 11:30 or 12 o'clock at night, and usually the traffic is already cleared out. Last Saturday night, it was gridlock until forever. If it takes everybody staying to have that kind of environment for the entire time, we'll take that. Thanks again to those people that were there and were involved. I also think our coaches and team did a really fine job preparing and looked forward to competing. I have to give special mention to those two young guys in the offensive line, Trai Turner in his first start and Vadal Alexander playing his most appreciable playing time in his early career. Both of them played very well.

"We missed a run-in pass, we kept the ball and we offensively had 400 offensive yards. (Spencer) Ware started fast and got a little stomach ailment. Jeremy Hill picked up the baton and had a big night with 124 yards and two touchdowns. When we called his number, he was ready to perform. It was what we need to have happen. When that defense is allowed to come off the field and they maintain their freshness, they're a dynamic group. They will put it to you. They allowed 211 yards, 34 yards rushing, 177 yards passing. Sam Montgomery did what he said he was going to do in his leadership and play. He told the team, 'Just follow me guys. Just do what I do.' He played very well. He was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Two sacks, and in their third down percentage, they were 3 of 13. The defense had a very big night. Special teams, (Brad) Wing was uncharacteristic. I don't imagine that will last long. He'll hit that right. They have a very fine returner, and they did a great job getting that loose. Luke Muncie made a nice tackle, and we were aided there by a penalty. We're in a position to make some improvement now.

"My first association with Texas A&M was when I was a Dallas Cowboy assistant coach, and I lived in and around the Coppell and Valley Ranch area. We ran into a bunch of people that were following their kids around in all of youth sports. Wherever my children swam or played soccer, there was a constant flow of A&M fans. We became great friends with John and Sandy Heidtke, and the feel for A&M they shared was demonstrated by their commitment to their school. I realized very quickly how very special A&M is. When we go up there, I will look for those Heidtke's and those people like them and respect very much the traditions of that Aggie school. They have a very productive offense. Johnny Manziel is a very capable quarterback, and an exciting player. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin's done a great job there. I think their organization is good on offense, defense and special teams. The defense is a very athletic group with guys that are very talented in position. I think we'll look very forward to playing Texas A&M at Kyle Field. The early morning game, I think we'll also look forward to that, get in and get it going. We'll get home after the game and maybe watch some SportsCenter."

On Jeremy Hill earning playing time as a freshman ...
"He had very comfortably learned football. He had a very quality football IQ and just a natural sense for what should be and what shouldn't be. He has great ball skills, and of course his size and speed combination lets you know that he was going to have that opportunity to play. The thing that you wonder about a freshman is how he will respond when the lights turn on in a game like last Saturday night, and that's the only thing that was ever any question. Of course his response is very small."

On an up tempo offense ...
"I don't know that we use up tempo to any real advantage. I don't know that we used it that often. I think it's a nice change of pace, and I think it lets our guys know that we're going to run this play, so let's get up and get it done. There's not a lot of time at the line of scrimmage. I think the advantage is that our guys can come off the football a little bit with strength."

On preparing offensive linemen Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander ...
"There are two ways you can look at it. Physically,  it's how long it's going to take him to get there, both Trai Turner and Vadal Alexander are big, strong athletic guys. It always takes more time to train the technique and the abilities and how quickly they can pick those up and take that coaching to the field. Both guys are improving at a very rapid rate. I was really excited to see Trai Turner. On the sideline, he understood what was going on, could describe it very comfortably and, even when he made a mistake, he said 'I can make that adjustment.' Those kind of conversations on the sideline gave me the understanding that these guys were ready to play."

On recruiting players from Texas and Louisiana along with Texas A&M ...
"The only thing I can tell you is that in this state, there's a great loyalty to playing for these Tigers. Being in Tiger Stadium last Saturday, anybody that was there would certainly understand that. I think the opportunity for other schools to come into other states diminish because, in my mind, it's not only a fan base, it's a tradition and a history of the state that they're committed to what's going on in Tiger Stadium. I do recognize the fact that certainly (Texas A&M) is now in the SEC, and the schedule will bring them to our place and us to theirs. There will be some familiarity. We certainly enjoy going into Texas. We think that Texas is a great place to recruit to. I think they understand the style of play that we have here at LSU and that they'd enjoy being a part. Obviously the familiarity allows some access to what extent, time will tell."

On linebackers Kevin Minter and Lamin Barrow...
"Both guys are maturing and playing their best football right now. They're at the backend of their careers, and they have more knowledge and more experience, and they're playing big. Really, that's what we should understand and expect from our veterans. Kevin Minter was not ready to play as much early in his career, and yet with experience , he continues to play big in every game. With Lamin Barrow, it's exactly the same thing. Initially, you look at what's required of you and you try to assess it, you grasp it. Once you have it and you can play with it intuitively, it makes a difference. I think both guys are doing that."

On touchdowns ...
"The red zone issues are, simply put, that we have to take care of our responsibilities. If we do our job, we'll be fine. We can't turn the ball over, and we certainly have to execute well. Really, there are a number of pieces there. It's not just one spot. I think our guys have more understanding now than ever of how important that is. The fact is that we've gone down the red zone so often and not come away with sevens, and we're more likely to come away with threes. They recognize the need to win in this conference. Especially when you're down there, the need to get sevens is important. We would've had seven in my opinion in the first trip down, but a young offensive lineman in his first drive close to a goal line had a hiccup. I think we're maturing, I think our team's getting better and I think we're working on it. I can tell you that."

On Texas A&M's atmosphere ...
"I think anytime that you play in a place where the people really enjoy their team, there's a real loyalty there, and opponents that visit recognize it. They understand that the crowd is partisan, and they understand that they care. I think it's always been a place where, as an opponent, you wanted to go and play well."

On Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel ...
"Hopefully we can contain, that's the first piece. The good thing is that our defense will be one of the fastest he will have seen. Hopefully we will use a style of pressure that's most effective. At times it's going to be coverage and keeping him in the pocket, and other times, hopefully we can get to him. Having the opportunity to also cover is a pressure. It will certainly be a mix of weapons, if you will."

On the offensive line taking on Texas A&M's defense ...
"They have not only one, but several really talented pass rushers. We're going to be challenged as we have in the past and use our hands get our sets and be prepared. I think this late in the season, we're getting more accustomed to that challenge and looking forward to it."

On playing against other SEC teams ...
"I can always tell you that I never look too far in advance; I am one game ahead. The teams that we have lined up and have played thus far are very talented guys and quality football teams that can play for championships. They have quality players that are well-prepared. This is a great league. If you like competition, and if you want to compete against the best, this is the place. There isn't any question."

On punt and kickoff return ...
"I think it's one of those things were you have to have a ball that you can return. There are a number of things that happened. I think Odell Beckham Jr.'s fielding the balls like we need to have happen. They're not hitting the ground and going. He's an extremely dangerous returner. I think we're getting close to having a nice return in the punt. Our kickoffs, if they kick them deep, they put us in a position where we can't necessarily return them. When we did return Saturday night, I liked Michael Ford. I think Ford will take one to the house when we have an opportunity to. I like the schemes that we're running there. I think our return teams are coming."

On the early kickoff ...
"I think our guys will understand that 11 o'clock's plenty. I think before that, it could easily be a problem. I think 11 o'clock will be a nice time to roll out and play. We'll examine some of our work schedule and see if we can put them in a position where they're comfortable there. I don't think it's going to take much. Certainly the style of opponent will challenge us, and I think we'll meet that challenge no matter what time we kick it off."

On high-scoring games ...
"I think score and defense depends on what time, what year it is, and what's happening lately. It changes. I think occasionally there's a chance for the offense to get ahead and score points. Then again, I think you'll find that not long after that, a great defense will step in and make a great play and suddenly it's a three point game. It's 6-3 or 16-13, and it's that style of events. When we play defense, we would certainly like to have it more like 16-13."

On Brad Wing's performance against South Carolina ...
"We just recognize that he's accustomed to performing much better. Certainly, he's a well-attended guy. He's heartfelt about it. He'll make the adjustment and we'll go on that way. In terms of looking at the adjustment when you're used to having that monster punt, frankly maybe that's not something we should count on and allow him to give it to us a little more regularly later."




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