Miles Speaks to Media Prior to Homecoming

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 football head coach Les Miles spoke to the media as his No. 9-ranked Tigers begin preparations for Homecoming on Saturday against Louisiana Tech. Watch on-demand video of the press conference now.

Les Miles Press Luncheon
November 9, 2009


Opening statement...

“I told my team this morning, ‘We’re going to bemoan the position we’re in currently, and you’re allowed to be disappointed and unhappy.’ There are things I’d like to do better myself. Certainly there are some plays our players would like to have back as well. That’s not going to do us any good. The enjoyment and celebration of victory lasts so long and the same thing when you finish second. When you finish second, there’s going to be a nasty pit in your stomach. I certainly would like to be talking about it right now, but the opportunity that lies before us and if we take care of business and win the next three games, where we might be. I still like that opportunity. The bad news is we didn’t finish like we’d like to in the last game, and the great overview is not there. I told my team that I’ve been coaching a long time. I’ve won one national championship, and I think there’s a chance that we will win some more, but I’ve enjoyed every year I’ve coached. I’ve enjoyed every team that I’ve been fortunate to coach here, and there are some teams that have won some significant titles and bowl championships. The opportunity to be a great football team and the opportunity to be a much better football team is certainly in front of us. I know that’s easy to say at this point, but at 3:15 p.m., when my team reports back yet again to that football building, that’s got to be the direction. I’m not going to belabor and play ‘what ifs’ and spend too much time there.

“It’s an interesting fact that we go up in the BCS standings beyond a game that we finished second to a very good Alabama game. It kind of speaks to the strength of play that our team sees week-in and week-out. I look forward to the opportunity at very positive consequences beyond finishing the season strong.

“To look back on the Alabama game, I like how my team played. It hadn’t changed much. I had the exact same feeling when I took the podium during post-game. My team played their heart out. There were examples of great play early and late. I like the plan that we had. It gave us an opportunity to win. Again, I give credit to a very, very talented Alabama team. They win. On defense, I think our guys played well. There is one play we would certainly like to have back – the 73-yard screen. I can tell you that with exception, that play certainly was a turning point in that game. I also told my team that with guys who were no longer on the field offensively, the responsibility of the guys that back up are going to win the game. I also told my team that if a guy had not been injured here or there, outcomes may have been changed, but that’s not the way to look at it. The way to look at it is this. The guys that we recruit are good players, and when we turn you to the field, we expect you to not only fill in the formation or make the defense have 11 guys but to play to win. I think our guys can do that.

“On special teams, we had a big night, in my opinion. Those punters were dominant. Alabama’s return game was very, very good coming in. We held their punt returner down. I think we are third in net punting in the conference. I think we are first in kickoff coverage. They did get a good kickoff return, but our special teams are just playing better and better, and that needs to continue.

“This Louisiana Tech team’s record is not as good as they would like, but I can tell you that they play better and better. Derek Dooley is their coach there, and he’s done a great job. They were a bowl team a year ago and as I recall, with a bowl victory. If you watch how they play week-in and week-out, you have great respect for them. They have a very talented running back, Daniel Porter, and two quarterbacks that play a lot of football, and they are very good on offense. Defensively, they play a quality defense over the top with a good scheme and have the ability to stunt and blitz you. We have to be prepared.

“Now, you guys are going to want to talk about injuries. The only thing I can tell you is that Charles Scott has a clavicle (injury), and I don’t know exactly what length of time that will take to rehabilitate. I can tell you that I would not expect him back for the regular season, and I’m probably just being hopeful that he’ll be available for the bowl game. I can tell you that we miss him. We not only miss his runs and his toughness, but we miss him as a person. We expect him to be around us certainly these next three weeks, and we hope that somehow someway we can have him for the bowl game.

“It appears that Jordan Jefferson will be fine. We expect him to be with us this week. I think most of the other guys that were nicked and taken off like for instance Patrick Peterson, it was really just cramps, and we expect him to be back. There are some bumps and bruises but nothing that appears to be really long-reaching. We expect Richard Dickson to return to practice some time this week. With exception and certainly the healing process to take place, we feel like we’ll have our team back this week as we prepare.

“The interception or the call and the way that was reviewed, I can tell you that I’ve had phone conversations with the (SEC) Commissioner and the head of officials, and I can tell you that they looked at it long and hard. I can tell you from the sideline how it viewed to me. I knew that the officials could not see it, and when I went back and found the film, they were in great position to see the play but could not see it. Their eyes can’t see through the back of Patrick Peterson at one angle, and the other official who has the best view of it is on the other boundary, and he can’t see through one of our players. What has to happen is it turns to the instant replay booth, and it’s an interesting thing that’s going on in college football across the board. I think the view is that if it’s not irrefutable evidence, so the instant replay man is given the instruction, and not exactly these terms but to defend and to defer to the call on the field. Well, in this instance in my opinion, two well-meaning officials were working like heck to make that call on the sideline, and they need that help. I don’t know to be very honest with you. I looked at the television feed, and I do not know what the instant replay officials are looking at. I defer, and I’m going to understand that in fact these guys are doing everything they can to get it right. I’m going to figure that if there’s an issue, they’ll get it fixed.

“I know this, the final score is the final score. I believe in my heart that those officials are trying, and if I felt differently, I’d say that. I don’t believe that. I believe they are working hard to get it right, and that doesn’t change the score today and the position that we’re in. I look forward to 3:15 p.m., and turning my attention more fully to Louisiana Tech.”

On if he believes in moral victories...
“No. I can tell you this. Those guys that gave everything they had -- came off the field exhausted -- they have a comfort in their heart that they did everything they could. That’s a consolation. There’s no victory in that. It’s just consolation. No, I don’t believe in moral victories.”

On his decision to go for the two-point conversion after the second touchdown and the decision not to go for it on fourth down in a key point in the game...
“Looking at the personnel choices that we had running the football during those times and the want to have the right call, in my opinion, wasn’t there on the fourth down. Our defense was playing well. Had I had a crystal ball and knew that Julio Jones was going to go 73 yards for a touchdown, I certainly would have made the other call. I didn’t know that Patrick Peterson would not have been back at that time. I knew that he was in and out of the game with cramps, but I would have liked to have had him back on the field. That’s one of those things that you just can’t know. On the opportunity to go for two at that point, I didn’t think there would be a lot of scoring in that game, and the want to make the three-pointer more important certainly was there. I wanted to go get the two if I could. It still appears to me to be the right call.”

On what he thought was a bigger play toward the outcome in the game, the 73-yard touchdown or the replay call on the potential interception...
“The 73-yard touchdown was points on the board, and to me, that was by far and away their biggest offensive play of the game. It led directly to a score. I would have liked to have had the ball with 69 yards to go in a one-possession game and the opportunity at four downs every time I got a first down, but that’s ifs. If that ball is awarded to us, we still have to negotiate 69 yards. Now, would I have liked to have that opportunity? You bet, but, that’s all speculation at this point.”

On TE Deangelo Peterson’s performance...
“I think Deangelo is just getting better and better. He’s improving so much on the run. He certainly is a very dangerous receiver on the pass, and I think his career is really just starting. He’s the kind of guy that will eventually be a first choice for us in a lot of the passing sets.”

On the importance of having a couple of tight ends that are reliable in the passing game...
“The tight end that can block it and get out on a pass and certainly challenge somebody vertically through the middle of the field is your greatest asset.”

On who figures to receive the bulk of the carries at running back with Charles Scott out...
“I think Keiland Williams, Stevan Ridley and the guys who have carried the ball this season may get a little bit more of a look as well as No. 10 (Russell Shepard) and No. 8 (Trindon Holliday) as ball carriers.”

On how to prevent the team from repeating last season’s collapse toward the end of the regular season...
“I think our football team certainly is understandably disappointed. I think they understand that there is an opportunity to be a great team, an opportunity to be a very good team and an opportunity to put yourselves in position for a very substantial bowl. It’s hard for me to believe that our guys, especially this team, won’t see that and look forward to preparing. I’ve seen these men handle disappointment before. I think that they’ll very quickly turn their attentions to their opponent and go to preparing.”

On how tight ends Mitch Joseph and Tyler Edwards played Saturday...
“Mitch probably played as many snaps as he’s played and is again getting better, and the same can be said for Tyler Edwards. Anytime that those guys are on the field, I think they are giving us what we need to have.”

On if he is expecting Jordan Jefferson to be able to start Saturday...
“I don’t know. At this point in time, I think we expect him to return to practice and be ready to play. That’s all in the process.”

On what attributes of Charles Scott he’ll miss that he hopes to see out of the backup backs...
“I think he had so much experience, and there were so many different ways we used him. I think it’s likely that it’ll take two backs to step in and take the responsibilities that Charles Scott had in the offense.”

On the pre-snap penalties...
“The want to get substitution into the game and to change substitution is something that we’re working hard to do and to do well. I think No. 18 (Richard Dickson) not being ready for the game probably had as much to do with that. Trying to get the right tight end onto the field certainly was an issue. After injury took place, we were substituting at times guys getting on the field because they anticipated. Anticipating was not what they need to hear the personnel call and be given the directive. That did happen at times.”

On if the injuries were a result of Alabama’s physicality...
“I certainly think it was a physical game. I certainly like how physical we were on offense and defense. We also took the line of scrimmage, but it was a very physical game. Certainly both teams at this point in time will feel the wear.”

On QB Jarrett Lee’s performance...
“I think he came in in a tough spot and did pretty well, certainly the start. I think as the game went on, and we relied on him to make bigger plays, certainly that’s the piece where you’re a substitute quarterback and you’re not getting all the reps and your preparation is less than that of the starter, I think that’s where it told most. I would expect that as he prepares and understands his role, he’ll play better.”

On RB Keiland Williams’ lack of carries...
“I think Keiland is certainly contributing to this team. There was a place in that game where we would have liked to have tossed him the ball, and he would’ve just ran down the sideline unscathed. We didn’t get to him there. It’s a read we’d like to have back. I can only tell you that we are going to call his number as best we can and as often as we can to give our team every opportunity at victory. We are going to use him just as much as we can.”

On Jarrett Lee getting more snaps in practice...
“Well, I’m certain Jarrett will get more snaps early this week. He’ll probably get the lion’s share today and tomorrow. I would be pretty confident that on Wednesday, that rotation will change, and Jordan will get the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday preparation. I think both quarterbacks will be improved by that and given the opportunity to prepare for our opponent.”

On RB Stevan Ridley...
“I like Stevan Ridley. I think he makes a really accurate cut. I think he’s a physical runner, and I think he is getting better. He’s a guy who has continued to work hard. He’s coming off injury if you recall. He didn’t really have the spring. He’s a guy that is really just rounding into shape and getting his speed back. I think we’re pretty optimistic there, and I’m not ready to say that Keiland Williams won’t get some more carries, but I think Stevan Ridley has proven that there is some exciting things that he can do.”

On where Ridley would be in the rotation had he not gotten injured last spring...
“In my opinion, he was going to compete with Charles and Keiland in a very equal manner. There was a point in time in the spring where we were really looking to see and add him to the mix so the competition would be greater, and maybe there was a piece that he might be able to add to those two. With injury, we didn’t get to look at that. We’re really just now starting to see it again.”

On the chances freshman RB Michael Ford may see some playing time...
“I’m going to try not to. There is a want there to let him remain redshirted. Maybe Dominique Allen will get some snaps at tailback as well.”

On if it surprised him to see Alabama throw the ball as much as they did in the first half...
“Certainly, there is an element of call there that the frequency of throw necessarily, but we kind of felt like they would have to throw the football to move the football against us and early certainly. I think they had a great plan. They moved the football down the field throwing it. I think it was at the end of the first quarter, off memory, six carries for six yards for (Mark) Ingram. I think that’s reflective of how we start games, and I think what they did late in the game, running the football and really attacking the line of scrimmage also spoke to the fact that it was later in the game, and those runs are a little bit harder to tackle.”

On moving safety Brandon Taylor to corner before the Julio Jones’ touchdown...
“Jai (Eugene) had a tweak. He was pulled off because of injury, not because of play. It had to do with injury. We were finding the right mix there, and we knew that Brandon was probably an advantage there at the corner spot, and I think there is reason to believe that if he played that play 10 times, he would be in better position than he was in on nine of them. I don’t argue that part of the personnel. I think anytime I can get Brandon Taylor front side, it’s an advantage for us. He was really dually trained from the spring right through the fall, so he’s one of those guys who is very comfortable at both spots, so we moved him up in there. In retrospect, I would have put anybody in there that would have stepped in there and made that tackle, but I don’t know that I can argue the decision to put him right at the point.”

On if he refers to losses as finishing second because he finds it difficult to refer to it to as a loss...
“I just think it’s more palatable to say that than the other thing.”

On the rest of the season...
“I think there is an emotional toll that’s taken on this game, and it’s wonderful just so you know. I think people that don’t play sincerely and don’t care, and if it’s not important to them, then they need to go some place else, but I think our team certainly understands the great fortune that we have to play this game. I don’t think that this team will go by the opportunity at victory in any of the next three games, certainly the next one against Louisiana Tech.”





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