Monday, 29 August 2011 22:36
LSU's Miles Talks About Oregon, Jefferson, Lee
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LSUWith LSU Tigers facing a major opponent later this week in Oregon playing in Dallas Cowboy Stadium and with the loss of key quarterback, Jordan Jefferson due to a criminal matter, head coach Les Miles responded to the media's questions focused upon the controversy and the status of starting quarterback Jarrett Lee:

 Opening Statement…

“I can tell you that I have been looking forward for this day. It marks the beginning of game week. It allows a football coach, staff and team to focus on the task at hand. I felt like we had a very good camp. It was a very physical camp. One in which there was some conditioning. I think our guys are looking forward to playing another team. Off of the distractions of camp and the issue that involved a number of our players, I think our guys understand fully the mistakes that we made. It is a very interesting one when you describe what can happen, and you do so repeatedly, so that the lesson can be learned. That being said, I think all of us are looking forward to football. This team is looking forward to playing in Dallas in Cowboy Stadium again. They’re looking forward to playing a marquee team in college football in Oregon. The 50,000 plus tickets that were sold to LSU fans, we look forward to going into that stadium and preforming very well.”


“Our opponent is a 12-1 team and a runner up to the National Champion is Auburn (last year). They return 13 starters, seven on offense and six on defense. They are very talented. Chip Kelly has done a magnificent job since he has been there. He has recruited extremely well. I watched all three of their phases and they have talent at every spot. Again, Chip does a great job of preparing them. Offensively, they can get the ball snapped in six to eight seconds. They return maybe the marquee back in the country in LaMichael James. They return a very talented playmaker at quarterback in Darren Thomas. They return a number of offensive linemen and have playmakers at wide receiver. Defensively, I’d like to tell you they are less talented, but they’re not. They have great speed and they attack the ball. They had 21 interceptions and forced 16 fumbles last year. They are an athletic group. They play their defense as well it is played. They play in zone and in man. They come from all over the field. Although that offense is touted, that defense plays as well and is as difficult to attack as any. On special teams, they lose a returner, but their back ups are great returners and I don’t think that they will miss a beat there. They have great speed on coverage units. They return their punter and kicker, who was 10 for 13 on field goals. I think our guys are looking forward to a great challenge. Our guys are looking forward to playing in that one. It will be a great matchup.”


On Jarrett Lee’s poise…

“I think in the three games that he played significant football a year ago he showed poise. He threw the touchdown pass at the end of the game against Florida. He was responsible for the drive that came down at the end of the game to beat Tennessee. And he made a third and long play late in the Alabama game that depicts a guy that plays in pressure situations. I think there is an every play responsibility at the quarterback position, and it is one that he is talking about. Going into his senior campaign as the new starter, he is looking forward to having a complete year.”


On the offense without the running option at quarterback…

“It is interesting because we have to make an adjustment, but I don’t know if it is necessarily different guys. I think the responsibility at the tight end spot to block and catch the balls increases, certainly Deangelo Peterson is one of those guys that will have to block well and receive. Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, a new name, are guys that we expect to be receiving balls. We’re going to run the football. Our tailbacks are going to have to step in there, possess the ball and allow us to push the ball on our opponents on the ground. It is a different style of quarterback. It is still the same issue: get the ball to the guy with the opportunity to make plays for us.”


On scheduled snaps for Zach Mettenberger…

“We’re seeing how Zach is coming. I would not want to forgo the competition to allow this week to play out some, but I think that at this point Jarrett has some advantages especially in the offense and how we call things. I think there are some advantages to Jarrett now.”


On distractions…

“It is kind of what we have asked our teams to do in several different events here. Katrina, Rita, Gustav and really a number of different times where we have had to deal with adversity. I don’t think it is young players stepping up so much, but an understanding that when we get onto the practice field it is about playing football, developing a team and pursuing excellence. That commitment has not changed.”


On what the team feels about losing Jefferson and Johns…

“There is a heart filled loss among the team for losing two teammates. I think with that being said, it is just about going forward and going with a little bit of a different cast of characters. There are some things we can control and some things that we can’t. Right now there are two that aren’t in the huddle. We’ll line up and play in their absence.”


“They possess a great variety of plays from option to zone read to the ability with a real mobile quarterback to use play action. They can do so in six to eight seconds. They can put the pressure of the next snap on you. I think that we have addressed it as best we can and will continue to do so this week. It is a great challenge in handling the speed of the game as well as the tempo of the game. We’ve had several periods in every practice since last spring that he been designed to give our defense an up tempo game. Obviously, Oregon will run it the best.”


On inserting Jarrett into key situations last season…

“We felt that he was really throwing the ball well and that the style of football that we would use with him in the game was the style of football needed to win that game. We went with Jarrett, and certainly it benefitted us.”


On if any freshmen are going to play against Oregon…

“I think there are a number of freshmen that will play on special teams that will go down there and make big plays. I think Odell Beckham just has a comfort in competition that comes from a great family where competition is routine in their house. I don’t think there is any venue that will take him out of his focus on what he needs to do. I think La’el Collins is a guy that will play some as well. It is a group of freshman.”


On Stephen Rivers…

“He is in position now to be our third quarterback. Today we’ll get rid of the veterans somewhat short of full practice and go with some of the young guys. We’ll start looking at his snaps and see if we can improve his being ready to play.”


On special teams…

“Drew Alleman I expect to be very competitive. He will handle our kickoffs, field goals and extra points. I think that he will be ready to do that and compete with any of the country. He may be as good as we’ve had. We’ll have to wait and see on that. Brad Wing and DJ Howard will handle the punting, with the edge towards Brad Wing.”


On an indication on Russell Shepard’s return…

“We’re following the procedure that the NCAA allows for a member institution. We declared him ineligible and we seek reinstatement immediately. That is the next part of the process and is ongoing. Hopefully there will be some relief.”


On La’El Collins and Josh Dworaczyk…

“I think Josh will be out for some time. There has been an evaluation on his injury, and he should be operated on in the next ten days to 14 days. Collins has the ability to step in and play as a young player. You look at T-Bob Hebert and Will Blackwell in front of that, but La’El Collins has the ability. We don’t want to slow him up. We want to get him to the field quickly.”


On the defense with Sam Montgomgery back…

“Sam is a competitive man that will give us great play at the defensive end spot. I am really looking forward to seeing our defense play. I think they have gone against this style of offense for quite some time. They’re looking forward to getting onto the field and Sam is certainly one of them.


On the national perception of LSU following the recent incidents…

“I don’t think that over time the reputation has changed significantly. They recognize that a mistake was made and that there is an opportunity to make a correction. The body of work has been done here and has not changed over time. I think people will understand that this is a very quality team.”


On linebacker Karnell Hatcher…

“A lot of guys that come down from safety don’t necessarily have a natural feel for a linebacker spot. Karnell Hatcher does. He is very athletic and defeats blockers with athleticism when he can. At the same time he is very physical at the point of attack.  He takes guards on and does it extremely well. He has been a real pleasant surprise. He has taken to the linebacker spot very effectively.”


On quarterback Jerrard Randall and running back Jakhari Gore’s contributions to scout team…

“Gore is as close to LaMichael James as we got. He does a great job in terms of making those cuts and making some of those plays. Randall has a Darren Thomas feel to him. We ran some live go against some of our defense, and he is very elusive and is a tough player. I think this week they’ll give our defense a great look to what Oregon would do.”


On Coach Studrawa and the offensive staff…

“I think there is a great cooperative attitude in that staff room. I think all of the guys, Steve Ensminger, Frank Wilson and Billy Gonzales have all chipped in. There is a very comfortable working relationship there. The skills that Steve Kragthorpe has have not been minimalized at all. Coach Studrawa has taken the responsibility to heart and has done a great job with it. The adjustments will continue. The progress has improved. Kragthorpe will take a guy like Jarrett Lee, like any guy going into their final campaign who has a base knowledge of plays, and refine him and fine tune him to make sure that he is operating at those margins that give him an edge.”


On the speed of Oregon’s defense…

“I think this is as talented of a team that we’ve seen. They have speed at all of the key positions. They play outside linebackers that are very fast on the edge. Their safeties have the speed. Their corners are new to the field, but I’m sure they are as talented as they’ve had. They match up with the fastest teams that we will line up against.”


On how Jarrett Lee has responded to being the starter…

“He is pretty excited. Certainly he did not want this to happen. This is not how you want to insert anyone into the quarterback spot. If there is a guy that was baptized under fire, that had to come to the field very quickly and that had to learn on the run, that was Jarrett Lee. As an example from the three games that I mentioned from last year, he is really looking forward to playing full games. He is excited to have the opportunity that he came here to do. He is upset about our team’s loss but excited for his opportunity.”


On freshman wide receiver Jarvis Landry…

“What I know that he is a talented player competing like heck. I don’t know if he is currently under any difficulty with the judicial system in any way. All I know is that he has spoken candidly to anyone that has asked. We plan to have him unless we hear anything differently.”


On Oregon’s returning starters…

“We’ve seen a lot of the guy that they bring back. They bring back a talented five-technique tackle and a talented wide linebacker. Both safeties are veteran guys that are tough tacklers and decorated guys. They have a talented core of defenders. They miss guys, but the guys they return are very talented.”


On this summer…

“I think our team took the lesson that they needed to prepare more this summer. In the preseason they understand that this team we are going to play is talented. We could not go into a game like this not ready to play. We are in great shape and have had a great camp. Those are the lessons. We are looking forward to playing. If they are anything like their coach, they feel like they’ve been pent up and ready to pursue victory.”


On Jarrett Lee staying at LSU…

“There is a strong commitment to want a degree from LSU. He wants to be remembered as the quarterback, the player or the student athlete at LSU. In the view of what could have been a transfer or at another school, just didn’t match his friends and experiences that he has had here, difficult and good. He felt that his abilities would serve LSU and non-other. That was a very unselfish thing. Few men have the capacity to be a great teammate, to be loyal to a school and now have the opportunity to do the things that he came to school to do. I’m, really excited for him.”


On what Auburn did against Oregon to slow them down…

“The Auburn team in my opinion possessed the ball. They threw the ball extremely well in that game. They came up with big plays. They had great answers on offense. I did think that their defense played very well. There was an explosiveness at the line of scrimmage where several of the Auburn players made some great plays. They were deployed at a position to make great plays. There are some similarities between our defense and theirs when looking at the game. Their front four really made enough negative plays and made it sticky to run inside. It changed the course of the game in some regard.”


On Cowboys Stadium…

“We’ll get into the stadium Friday. That evening we will be there briefly. We’re fortunate to have played there before. We’ll try not to strain our necks to look at the jumbotron that spans the field. With that being said, I think our guys enjoy playing in big time venues. I can’t imagine anyone would  not be excited to play there.”

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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