LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Photo by:, LSU Athletics Publications
Miles Addresses Media Prior to Tulane Game Week
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Published: October 27, 2008, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:35 AM (CT)
by (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU head coach Les Miles spoke to the media at his weekly press conference on Monday, as the Tigers begin to prepare for Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff against rival Tulane. Watch the press conference for free in the Geaux Zone now.

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Opening statement...
“We’ve got to start games a little better. We took the home crowd right out of the game in the first series, and not only that, but we put the defense in a position where they’ve already been scored on and they haven’t even gone on the field. Certainly, we don’t want to do that. It’s a great advantage for us to be in Tiger Stadium, and we want to make sure we pressure our opponents. I like the idea that we go to 7-7 (score). I understand that we’ll compete, but if you throw your opponent 17 points over the course of the game, it’s very difficult to overcome. Certainly, we have to prepare and correct right there.

“Offensively, we put about 500 yards on them in a game where we were trying to get back into the game and trying to score and keep up the score. I felt like the offensive line did a heck of a job. (RB) Charles Scott has 150 yards, and again, that proves that he’s a very talented back. We rushed for just under 200 yards, and we faced the No. 1 rushing defense in the conference. Obviously, offensively there are some good pieces there, but our young quarterback takes some time to develop. It’s a process that you go through, and you continue to teach, mentor, bring along, kick in the butt and exhaust your coaching again and again. I promise you that we’re up to that challenge. We like Jarrett Lee. Jarrett Lee is a talented player. He gets the ball to more talented players on our football team. We must have balance on our offense. We must throw the football, and we are going to continue to groom him. I met with the coaches, and I said, ‘Listen, if he doesn’t feel comfortable with that play, it’s out.’ We are going to continue to work so that it’s coached and recoached and prepared and ready for that play, whatever that play is. Again, you saw what a veteran quarterback (Matthew Stafford) looks like, a guy that stands out, makes all the plays, throws it away when he’s supposed to, takes a sack when he’s supposed to and yet, gives his team every opportunity at victory doing the right things. That’s what we’re after. We’re going to pursue it and pursue it even more aggressively.

“Defensively, I think we’re giving great effort. I think our defense is prone to, at times, trying to make the exceptional play. I watched every snap of this defensive film, and I can tell you by call that it’s exactly what you would want. Maybe with the exception of two calls in that game, I don’t know that I would change a call, but I can tell you this. One play, we were gap sound. We pursued the ball like we were supposed to, and it’s a zero but a play later in the script when the exact defense is called, but it’s not played the way it was described or coached and like the snaps before, and the reason is the defensive guys are trying to make great plays before they execute their assignment. They’re pressing if you will, maybe trying too hard. Frankly, we have to let them know that the call is plenty. The exceptional play is after you have done your assignment and ripped through your gap and held your area responsibly and then, pursue the play and allow your teammate to make some great plays for you. I watched that film, and I really wanted to find that one guy or mistake, and certainly, there are some things we need to correct. Certainly, there is some instruction in coaching that needs to be taken, but I have to be honest with you. I like the effort, and I like what’s going on and if we can get some young guys more confident in the call. I’ll give you an example. It’s a glaring one. Early on in the game, a play that no one in this room can probably describe is thrown incomplete, and later in the game, the exact same play is thrown for a completion of about 40 yards, and it had to do with one guy’s assignment and him dropping that assignment with the idea that the opponent is finally pressured and he can make a great play. We’ll get that corrected. It was a young player. That young player will come of age. Again, there was great effort on the defensive side. The guys are trying awfully hard to win it for the team. We’ve got to get them to win for their team within the scheme.

“I think our kicking teams are doing the things we need to. We averaged 40 yards a punt. We ran a little fake, got ourselves another possession, and we’ve got ourselves a field goal kicker that sets the all-time scoring record at LSU and will continue to for the remainder of this year. There’s a lot going on positively in special teams, and frankly, we will keep it that way and continue along that path. I told this team after we finished that game that the answers are really in this room. It’s really the players and the coaches, and it’s the correction and guidance in here. We’ll work hard. I can tell you that I like my team. I like the way we work. I like the way they respond to each other, and I like the way they get along and operate with the coaches. We’ll come to work today, and we’ll practice, review this game and get this one behind us and move forward. We have to because Tulane has proven that they’ll play us as hard as anybody they play. Throw out the records. They’re going to play us as best as they can. I looked when they played Alabama, and they have some players. That tailback that they have, Andre Anderson, is a tremendous player. He’s averaging about 130 yards rushing a game, and Kevin Moore at quarterback is a good thrower. He’s averaging about 250 yards throwing. We’re going to have to play well. We look forward to that. It’s going to be a great week to get back on track.

“There’s a lot of great football left to play. The thing the team needs to understand is that it’s right in front of us, and it’s about this practice. It’s not about next week, and it’s not about the next day. It’s about the rep you’re about to take. If our guys approach it that way, and they improve, work at it, are disciplined in their assignment, understand their assignment and what their responsible to do, and then, if they do it and repeat it and repeat it, we can get on a heck of a roll. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

On how much of the game plan he scripts...
“Really, the formation is a little different. There are several ways to be honest. It really kind of depends on what we hold, but it’s a run and a pass and it’s a run and a run or pass, and sometimes, it’s an exceptional check that he (Lee) has to go to, either a pass or run. We probably start with a script of 20, and it probably carries us to the second half and how we start the game in the second half, but it’s a script of probably 10 to 12 that are rehearsed starting Thursday, Friday and then, Saturday. We walk through all the openers.”

On if Lee’s mistakes are typical of a freshman quarterback at this point in his career...
“As much as I hate to admit it, they are. We have to do a better job of removing some of those options of making the mistake that was made in this last game. We’ll review it yet again. We’ll try to limit some of those until we feel like he’s in a groove. When he’s doing it, when he’s playing and comfortable, he’s pretty talented.”

On if he still feels he has the talent to beat top-flight schools...
“Yes, absolutely. I think our team has talent. If I thought that we were lacking or this is what we don’t have, I’d be saying other things. What has to happen is the things that need to be fixed while the effort and energy is being applied to those areas that need adjustment, the rest of the team continues to play, and they continue to play at the same level that they’ve been playing. The offensive line, I don’t want to change much. (DE) Tyson Jackson, I don’t want to change much. When I say that the great effort is there, that’s fundamental to all programs, and to me, is fundamental to the very elite programs. Once the adjustment gets made, then we’re able to play with, in my opinion, anybody in the country.”

On how Ryan Perrilloux’s departure disrupted the succession plan of the quarterback system at LSU...
“I’m certain that speculation is out there to what extent that’s really had an effect. I can’t spend my time there to be honest with you. I look at my team that I have and coaching the guys that I have who have LSU on their helmets. I’m not going to spend a lot of time speculating as to if we had another guy or whoever could be our quarterback. I like the guy I’ve got, and I’ll have to make him better and kick him square in the butt when he needs it.”

On the play of the defensive line...
“It’s nice to get (DT) Ricky Jean-Francois back and get him in the groove of playing snap after snap. Frankly, at times, some of our veterans see the score going against us and sometimes think about playing outside the scheme. I just want them to play confidently and within the scheme. If we do that, we’ll be fine. The call has to be played the same way every time you make the call, and you see it being played three times in the game being played extremely well, and the fourth time, why is your path so deviant? It’s for one reason. The score at that time or the situation at that time, a great play needed to be made, and the good thing about our football team is they look at making great plays. They have to look at it first and foremost within the scheme and within the discipline of the play that’s called. If they do that, not only will they make great plays, but some of their teammates will make great plays along with them.”

On if the quarterback needs to have more trust in his offensive line and play within the scheme...
“I don’t think pressure had anything to do with it. I thought we had pretty decent protection all day. I thought Andrew Hatch got out of the pocket inappropriately once. He could have just stayed right in there. I don’t think the quarterbacks are really moving out of the pocket inappropriately. I don’t think that’s necessarily a big issue. You’re trying to get vision on the ball, and they move to the right, and you anticipate pressure because you’re not quite in the pocket.”

On if the 38 points the defense surrendered against Georgia is the biggest issue...
“Again, I spoke to the defense as well, and nobody, not coach nor player is void when a team finishes second in a football game. Certainly, the defense can play better as well.”

On if simplifying the playbook for Jarrett Lee limits Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton...
“Gary is very comfortable with that. It’s something that he understands. We really thought that some of the calls we had were the exact calls he needed. We’re going to require him (Lee) to be more vocal in choice. I think he may well have said, ‘That’s just how I opened it, coach.’ At that point in time, we have to teach him to operate the play better. He made some fundamental mistakes within the opening play that he can’t make.”

On if he thinks the officials missed the call on the pass interference call that was picked up because of a tip...
“The interference that was called would have given us a first down at about the 12 or 10 yard line. The ball appeared to us that it was not tipped. We turned that in (to the SEC office), and we’re certain that they’ll look at it and make whatever call they can. I don’t know how you see that.”

On QB Jordan Jefferson as an option later this season...
“I think Jordan Jefferson probably comes into play here a little more readily. I think we look to him to see if he can come in and at times, give us some youth and some speed. We’re going to look at Jordan.”

On if the tip on the pass interference call is reviewable...
“An official’s judgment is not reviewable. In other words, they have to pick the thing up and wave it off. Otherwise, you have no shot.”

On what factored into his decision to hire Crowton and promote Peveto and Mallory to co-defensive coordinators...
“Gary Crowton was easy. In my opinion, he had great expertise in moving the football offensively, both run and pass. He always thought outside the lines, which I enjoyed. I reviewed him when I was with the Dallas Cowboys and he was with the Chicago Bears and had the good fortune of meeting him and realized that he would be a guy we would enjoy coaching here. Peveto has been with me since I’ve been here and Mallory for quite some time. With the experience they’ve had with Bo Pelini prior to this season, I felt like the best way to operate this defense was to continue to call it as we’ve called it and make our veterans play best without changing the schemes. We’ve had this scheme for four years now with these two coordinators, and frankly, they’re working hard to get this thing corrected just as I am. I think they are doing a great job. They are working hard at it. Hopefully, we’ll get everybody’s attention. We’ll all get on the same page and move forward.”

On if he takes the same approach in teaching with every player...
“The mistakes are different mistakes. Some are more costly than others. There is a different way to handle those along the line. Some guys know better, and they need to have their butt ripped, and some guys are getting the answer for the first time and need coaching. There’s a piece that lies in between there that hopefully the coach knows is the right way to coach that player. Our players are working awfully hard. We’re just not working smart, and they know better. When they see the film, they’re going to go, ‘You’re right. It’s easy. It’s simple. I got that one.’ When they do that and we make the point repeatedly, I think they will play better. Frankly, that’s the issue in this last game on defense.”

On if it’s important to build the team’s confidence back after two tough losses in three weeks...
“I don’t know. I think there are some guys that are eager to get some things fixed first. I think the build-you-up is the point at the answers and the work toward the answers. I think that’s what we’re headed toward. What we need to do, in my opinion, is play a quality game, starting with the first play and finishing the last play on all three phases and point at that, being a quality football team playing tough, playing smart and doing it relentlessly for all four quarters.” 

On what simplifying the offense for Lee does to the other quarterbacks...
“I think Coach Crowton is doing a good job in trying to measure exactly what the guys can accomplish and how to call it with the quarterbacks on the field. I don’t know if it necessarily means an expanded role for Hatch. To me, I think it kind of would stand as is. Jordan is obviously one of the three we’ll have to get ready, and I’d like to see in certain situations what he can do.”

On what his message is to fans who are reevaluating their expectations of this team...
“I’ve got to be honest with you; I’ve never operated with expectations. I’ve always enjoyed them. I’ve always felt like our opportunity was to exceed expectations, but that’s all based on accomplishing some fundamentals, and one is, in my opinion, the things I just mentioned. We’re going to play tough. We just have to play a little smarter in this instance. I see a lot of good football being played in front of this team. I see a lot of fun on the schedule and the opportunity for some real achievement. What would be other people’s objectives, I don’t know. I can only tell you that there’s not anybody on this schedule that I don’t think we can defeat.”

On if the SEC admits when it makes a wrong call in officiating...
“I think the honest review is there by the SEC officials. I really do, and they are trying very hard to get it right. Like our players and coaches, they’re human. They make mistakes. They let us know if it’s right or wrong in their eyes.”

On safeties Curtis Taylor and Karnell Hatcher...
“(Karnell) Hatcher came in and did, in my opinion, a good job for a young guy. He’s going to get more playing time. He’s just too talented not to play. Curtis, I think is healthy. He got nicked, and we took him out for a little bit, but I don’t think he’ll miss practice much.”

On if teams are starting to figure out LSU’s defensive scheme...
“There’s enough variety to it that it’s very difficult, in my opinion, to have answers for. I think, like I said, in a game of length, there may have been two calls I would have played a little differently, but other than that, I think that things are being called and applied pretty well. It just needs to be played more disciplined.”

On if the change in the face mask rule has led to miscalls...
“I really haven’t noticed more non-calls to be honest with you. It appears to me that they’re getting it right more. They missed one, in my opinion, in that game. You’re supposed to be able to go across the facemask without grabbing it, and that, to me, is an advantage. I think that them trying to make it a five-yard penalty or a personal foul when it was yanked on in their judgment has kind of messed it up. I think the adjustment to the rule is best.”

On what he would grade the team...
“Right now, our view can only be that we would love to have the opportunity to play better in a couple of games. Obviously, you look back, and we haven’t played like we would’ve liked to play, but the opportunity to be there and to play in some of those games and play well in the future is in front of us. I know where we’re at, and it’s more, to me, where we are at this moment and where we are going to be and have to be this Saturday and the following Saturday and so on. I think we are in position to answer your question. Grades? Give whatever grades you want. I think we are in position to improve and be a heck of a football team as we go forward and hopefully, very soon starting Saturday.”

On how much last year’s game against Tulane will be an emphasis prepping for this year...
“I think they’ll understand that they (Tulane) played awfully well. Every play that they could have made they did make. We expect the unexpected. They tried to complete a throwback on a kickoff, so we might expect some fakes and some surprises, but again, that’ll be a reflection of the fact that they’ll give us what they have to offer.”

On the pluses and minuses of having a coordinator who does coach a position as opposed to one who doesn’t...
“The only thing I can tell you is that the guy who coaches them and calls the defense and knows the strengths of their personnel, all three of which had input on last year’s defense, are coaching and in position to do the same things this year. I don’t know exactly what the advantages and disadvantages are. If you’re implementing a scheme with coaches that don’t have experience in the scheme, I think it’s imperative that there’s some walk-around. With the idea that each guy that’s in place is doing exactly the same thing that he did a year ago, as a position coach, should give us the attention to detail that is there.”



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