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LSU Les Miles QB To Be Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee
Written by  {ga=EdStaton} // Tuesday, 12 October 2010 09:29 //

LSU coach Les Miles said on Monday he'll continue to use two quarterbacks and that his Tigers now control their own destiny, He didn't say it, but reading his mind, he is thinking about an SEC championship game in Atlanta;

His opening comments:

“I am proud of my team and proud of my staff. They orchestrated a great game plan and they played a very emotional game. They played with a passion that has become a trademark of theirs. We go to 6-0 and in good position. Certainly we enjoy the opportunity we have to improve that position and now we control our own destiny, and the things that lay in front of us allow for great ambition. If we eliminate some of the issues we have in terms of two turnovers, a kickoff return for a touchdown, put some penalties behind us and the football team continues to improve then we will be prepared to play our best this Saturday against McNeese State. It will also enhance the opportunity to play very well as we advance in our schedule. I also have to give credit to the leadership of our team. I think Kelvin Sheppard, Drake Nevis, Josh Jasper and Joe Barksdale are the leaders of the team and they are counted on in the locker room, on the football field and in a number of ways. I think we have really exceptional team leaders.

 

“The play that we are getting from our defense is specific in my mind to the play that we are getting from the participants. Drake Nevis is named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week again, the third time this fall. I think he and Kelvin Sheppard are having the type of years that would allow for national awards. I like how that is going. I think offensively we have improved. We are still getting great running out of Ridley, and our offensively line is giving us protection and blocking for the run. We are operating two quarterbacks in what appears to be the best possible scenarios. Both guys are really pulling for the other and both understand that each have a contribution that needs to be made. It appears to me that that is going well. The opportunity to improve our special teams play is something that we really looked at closely on Sunday and we will really work hard on it this week. We lost a couple of guys in special teams play, and when you lose those guys the balance of power and want to have an elite team can be short-circuited by a participant right in the center of that coverage unit. What we have to do is shuffle the lineup a little bit and get the right guys in there. That must be an elite part of our team. When we kick it off we have to have the same style of speed and contact and what we are used to here. That is certainly something we are working on.

 

“I recognize that McNeese State is a very talented team and a team that has been coached well by Matt Viator. Historically they have had quality football teams. I know they will play their best and the state will turn out for this game. Certainly the community and the rest of the state will enjoy filling Tiger Stadium and enjoy watching two teams from this state square off and play.”

 

On how much having one game with the two-quarterback system under his belt helped his staff prepare for the Florida game…

“I think Gary (Crowton) is finding out exactly what is best for both guys in a pretty routine basis and trying to give us a competitive advantage there so that there is a balanced run or pass and a balance in the style of play called and those things. I think he is doing a heck of a job. I think it’s a work in progress certainly, but one game certainly helped. Now, hopefully we’ll go quickly through the next games, and the ease of how we play them will continue to manifest itself.”

 

On if he envisions using Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee in the same fashion for the rest of the season…

“I think the rest of the season is certainly an issue. I want them to play best. I certainly want to have the ability at both skill sets during the game, and how we play them obviously will depend on how that continues.”

 

On other running backs contributing with Stevan Ridley’s workload being so significant…

“I think we have to have other running backs contribute. You want to make sure that guys like Stevan Ridley are fresh when it comes to your best games. I think we are fortunate to have some quality, young tailbacks that will take snaps there. I think Spencer Ware and Michael Ford certainly looked to be every bit ready and willing. I think we’ll have to do that, and I think that will be important to do.”

 

On if he was considering a fake field goal right after Stevan Ridley was stopped short on 3rd and 1…

“We considered the fake, but we did not feel that we could get it all done that quickly. They went to the field with the opportunity to kick it, and we saw that the defense was in position to take advantage of it and really then checked it in the timeout with the offensive line and really made the call then.”

 

On if he considered going for it on fourth down after Ridley was stopped on 3rd and 1…

“We never considered what ended up being going for a first down, which is what we got with the fake anyway. We enjoy the opportunity. We felt like we were going to execute the fake very well given that the defense was in position. We felt like we had the odds to, if not score, at least get the first down. I felt like that was the right call.”

 

On injuries in the Florida game…

“(Ryan) Baker is not hurt. There are some guys that are nicked, but I don’t think anybody is ruled out at this point for next Saturday.”

 

On if he knew he would call the timeout before the field goal attempt…

“We were considering a change of call, but it became, rather than hurry a play that was going to be a very important play in that game, why not use the timeout?”

 

On the cramping issues with CB Patrick Peterson…

“We are working on it; I can tell you that. It doesn’t necessarily appear to be a hydration issue. We are trying to put him in a position where he can get to the back end of games and have the same energy and flow that he has at the beginning. The only thing I can tell you is we are working on it. We think it is maybe nutrition. Maybe it is any number of factors that we are working on to add to his regimen or subtract from his regimen. I really can’t give you much more than that. I don’t know the answer. If we had the answer, I would tell you.”

 

On if he is content with the two-quarterback system…

“What you are going to want to have is certainly both guys being able to contribute and contribute positively. If at one point in time, the balance were to swing where the contribution is not equal to the number of reps, then certainly we’ll give thought to playing them differently. Right now, if they play like they did against Florida minus an interception, we kind of like to see that play.”

 

On if he feels Jefferson and Lee were more comfortable in their roles against Florida…

“It appeared to me that there was a little bit more swagger in that position. They were both going in there to play and play comfortably and make plays, which is one of the reasons they had success.”

 

On how Jefferson and Lee get along…

“I don’t know exactly what personal relationship those two guys have, but I’d have to think that they are both certainly rooting for each other, and both need to have success so that the other can play a lot. I think they are in it together and at this point in time are enjoying how it is playing out.”

 

 

“I think that everybody kind of understood that we were going to get it clocked. I don’t think that there is anything magical necessarily about Jarrett (Lee) getting it done quickly. Certainly that’s what we needed to have happen because we had the downs. We just needed some more time on the clock.”

 

On who was missing on special teams against Florida…

“Alfred Blue is the guy who did not continue in the game. We hope we can get him back this Saturday, but there is a guy who is right at the point of attack at that kickoff that broke. What he was before was a tremendous contributor there. What we did is we put another guy who is in a backup position but not necessarily trained or as aggressive as Alfred Blue would have been in that spot. With his play, it created a seam that is uncharacteristic of that team. There is some other technique that we needed to have worked out so that wouldn’t be an issue. Those things need to be viewed by that group of guys and get it fixed. I think they understand that needs to happen. If you’re in a game where you just score, whatever game it is, the greatest way to take momentum back is to have a long return. That can’t happen with an irregularity and with the style of men that we send down there. What we’re used to and really in years past and in big games, including Georgia from a year ago and Mississippi State from a year ago, when you kick it off late in the game or when you kick it off and you need to keep that momentum, you need to send guys down there who are going to hit that ball. We are really looking at that personnel, and hopefully, we’ll make some adjustments.”

 

On the development of the true freshmen who are playing significant roles…

“I think there is always a necessity to play the best player. Those guys are playing well. If they were freshmen that needed time or really just couldn’t learn quickly or couldn’t aggressively handle playing in the kind of games that they are going to play in, then they wouldn’t play, but these guys can all do that. Maybe one of the most outstanding plays in the game was Tyrann Mathieu’s. He blitzes, gets blocked, comes off the blitz, strips the ball and then recovers the ball. It was great hustle, great effort, and frankly that’s not done, generally speaking, by a freshman, and I think we are getting that style of play from a number of freshmen and guys who we are counting on certainly down the stretch.”

 

On how challenging it is as a coach to get the players refocused to play an FCS opponent…

“McNeese State is a good football team. I’ve watched them. They have speed and ability, and we are going to have to play well, but as the season goes on, we’re going to need this time to play better and to prepare very, very well for our best game. That will help us really beyond Saturday, but Saturday is reason enough to play well. I don’t think we’ve ever really had a problem with focus. I think our guys will recognize when they see our opponent that they’re capable.”

 

On if there are any concerns with how successful Florida was in the ‘Wildcat’ formation down by the goal line…

“Did they get 250 yards of total offense? I don’t think so. I think it was less than 250. Those four-yard gains were certainly bothersome, but I think it’s one that our guys saw and know how to correct.”

 

On if Terrence Toliver is the team’s go-to receiver…

“Don’t get me wrong; I think we can go to Rueben Randle, and Russell Shepard doesn’t in any way scare us. We just felt like Terrence had a hot hand, and we liked the matchup there. Frankly, if we had another shot, we would have taken it to him as well.”

 

 

On why the team excels so well under adversity…

“I think this team is a committed group of men that enjoy the room, enjoy the process that they’re going through, understand that this team needs to mature and physical skills but also needs to be tested and enjoy those tests. I think we have really strong leadership. I mentioned that earlier. I think when a guy stands up in a room and says, ‘This is how I’m going to play. You play like me. You listen. This is what we’re going to do.’ When it is said by a coach, it is certainly something that is going to be repeated and understood, but when it is said by a player, it has a completely different meaning. It comes from my equal. It comes from my teammate. It may in many ways be more important.”

 

On changing quarterbacks in the red zone…

“The red zone carries that Jefferson got were significant but probably no less significant as the throws that Jarrett Lee made. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know that we need to make any substitution any differently than what we did. I kind of think that we did the things that we wanted to do there.”

 

On what he has seen from true freshman DE/LB Justin Maclin…

“There is a young guy who is playing linebacker with physical skills to play defensive end. We asked him to go down, and he jumps down in there and has real ability. We look forward to that time when he gets on the field. I don’t know if it will be this Saturday. It could easily be, but he has really accepted the challenge, and he is doing really well. He does not lack for confidence. He is a guy who will like to go into the game and play.”

 

On his thoughts on Boise State and TCU with the BCS standings coming out next week…

“What would be the normal SEC company line is we feel like if we take care of our business, we get to the championship game and whoever comes out of the championship game, in my opinion, will have a great opportunity to be in the game. The idea that this schedule is on-going and that the members of this conference are going through week-in and week-out is certainly respected. I promise you that it is something that those people in football will recognize. When you get to the back end and you’re the SEC champion, you ought to be able to stand in front of some folks and make your case for you being in that game that might decide a national championship.”

 

On what he saw from the defensive ends without Sam Montgomery against Florida…

“Kendrick Adams played and played well. We felt like we are going to get good play out of Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards. I just think ‘KeKe’ Mingo and those guys are stepping in there and playing well. If Justin Maclin is continuing to get better, I can’t imagine that at some point in time he won’t get in the game. I’m comfortable with the four guys that we are playing. I would be comfortable with Justin Maclin as well.”

 

On what has made him so confident in RB Stevan Ridley…

“I have enjoyed how he came out of the opener, and I’ve enjoyed how he has come to work and his insistence that he contribute because we all know that he had real ability. He has really committed to this team.. He’s always been a leader, but with his play and how he comes to work, there is a marked change in how he has approached it, and it’s made a difference.”

 

On getting other running backs involved to keep Ridley fresh…

“I think you saw a little bit of it in last week’s game with Michael Ford, and we got a couple of carries to Richard Murphy. I think you can look forward to Spencer Ware and some other guys getting carries as well.”

 

 

On playing state schools…

“I don’t mind playing state schools. I understand there are positives and negatives, but I’ve always felt like the positive outweighs the negative, the fact that it’s local and that the fan base can certainly enjoy watching two teams from this state square off in our stadium and play a competitive game of football. That has really never bothered me much. It appears, in my opinion, to be an advantage for some of the state schools as well. As long as that goes and as long as the boss in the back says that’s what we should play, then I’m for it.”

 

On Jarrett Lee’s maturity from his first game against Florida to the one on Saturday…

“If you think about a young man and his experiences certainly in this stadium and on our campus, it’s been very difficult for him. For him to continue to fight and to push and to develop, in my opinion, is really a great testimony to the young man and not even the quarterback. I think he will be somebody that will always be able to lead, understand adversity and how to meet that challenge. He’s done that with us. He has worked awfully hard. He’s not perfect, but you know what. When he goes into the game, he’ll have every opportunity to give his team victory, and he showed that Saturday against Florida. I’m certain that he enjoyed the way that game went in the fact that one, his team won and that he was able to contribute very significantly in the clutch for him to come through with the way that he did. I think it shows a lot of people, certainly those people that follow this program, that he has great resolve.”

 

On how the team can improve by not hurting itself …

“Eliminating mistakes and making sure we don’t turn the ball over. The turnover is the worst thing that any team can do. There was a third down and five, and we roughed the passer this weekend. If you say that if you didn’t have the kickoff return and turn the ball over twice this game, it could have been much different. That is what we need to focus on and how to improve this football team. During this stretch there are those times where a special teams, defense and offense need to make an adjustment, and they go to the next challenge. I think this is that time, and we have a group of men that are willing to make those adjustments.”

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