“I think it’s important to be more consistent. We talked about it a week ago. We’ll look closely at this film and try to see the areas we feel like we can improve on and then have another good, solid week of practice.”
What was most encouraging on the film?
“I felt that we played with a lot of energy. I thought that we were very physical. I thought the second half, going in at halftime it was very close at 3-3. I thought in the second half we did a very good job on third downs. Comparatively, I think both teams were 1-7 at halftime. We were much better with our ability to stay on the field and possess the ball. Defensively we continue to do a good job on third downs. Those are just some things.”
How close was Tracy Porter to being able to play going into the game?
“He was close enough. I’m encouraged with the progress of both he and Jabari (Greer).”
“Your view is additional time, but it doesn’t change our thinking in regards to how we approach this game. If a player’s ready, he’s ready to play in this game. We’ll just do everything we can here. I’m anxious to see how this week goes, because I think we have a chance to get a few guys back.”
Anybody in particular?
“Just the guys we’ve been talking about.”
Do you have a soft spot for a guy like Leigh Torrence who has had to make his mark as an undrafted free agent by playing on special teams and even being cut by the Saints before, especially given your playing background?
“I think what’s encouraging is that a lot of guys have had to step up. Leigh’s playing a lot of football all of a sudden and he, Pierson Prioleau, Julius Jones, Ladell Betts, when Chris Ivory went down or Patrick (Robinson) went down, the snap count goes up for these other players and I think that’s a little bit of the nature of our league. But to see Leigh go in there and make some big plays for us - not just the interception at the end of the game, but a number of plays – was encouraging. He is a guy that knows his strengths and weaknesses. He’s a guy that prepares hard. It’s realistic to think that at some point you’re going to have to rely on players that aren’t in your initial starting lineups to start the season and I was really encouraged last night by some of those guys and some of the efforts of players that received a lot more snaps than we anticipated.”
Is there psychology involved to work with and get the best out of a player like that who maybe has even been released by your own team before?
“I think the key is communication between us, the player, and making sure he understands our vision for him and his role. When a player understands that, those things are clear and spelled out, that’s helpful.”
Do you take a similar approach with a guy like Zach Strief after the play near the goal line last night?
“I thought he played pretty well. He gets hung up a little longer than anticipated. The look was what we were looking for where they played a zone back there with a heavy run tendency and he got tangled a little bit. The throw was close. He has pretty good hands. At some point with as many times as he reports as eligible – at the goal line it’s easier, we felt like we had a pretty good beat on how they play that goal line play – he just got tangled up a little. The throw was a little high. That was really it. I don’t know if that really impacts anything else he’s doing in regards to his role for what we’re doing offensively.”
Were you surprised the play didn’t work?
“Yes, it was their goal line base defense. There’s a tendency to leave that guy alone where we were on the one. When you throw the ball at the goal line, it’s timing. If it’s third and two at the goal line and you’re throwing, it’s one thing. But if it’s first down and goal on the one, we just felt the situation was right in regards to the goal to go.”
Can you discuss why Chris Ivory left the game?
“He got dinged, a mild concussion. He should be fine this week.”
It seems like Danny Clark has received more defensive snaps lately. Has he shown something the last few weeks?
“He’s been starting. I think his (snap) numbers were in the twenties, which would mean somewhere in the twenties with our base defense. When we get in the nickel and dime packages there are some groups that he goes out on. He’s been in a starting role. He continues to understand and do a good job with what we’re asking him to do defensively.”
How did Patrick Robinson come out of the game?
“He has an ankle (injury) and we’ll just keep monitoring it. I was encouraged with the way he was moving around today and yet we still have to see 24 or 48 hours later.”
Has your goal line defense been improved throughout this season, not just in this one game?
“You can go three or four weeks and not have a goal line sequence. It’s the one category in football where at the end of the year you might have a dozen or 15 snaps, maybe a little higher or lower. And then generally they come where a third of those snaps will be one game. So that stand yesterday was significant. Obviously to hold them to a field goal there was worth four points and encouraging. Something like that happens and you gain confidence from that defensively and as a team. They had a similar stand on their end of the field, but that was a big sequence of plays."
What counts as a goal line snap?
“What we count on the cut-ups is when we choose to put our goal line personnel on the field. There are times offensively where we might be third down and two on the two and we might be in three receivers and a tight end, so we wouldn’t consider that a goal line snap. Generally speaking, it’s when you insert your goal line package defensively or offensively to defend or to throw or run.”
Do you know what your number was off the top of your head? Darren Sharper guessed that it was about three out of 20.
“That sounds high, meaning I don’t know that we’ve had 20 snaps. In fact, I’m almost certain of it.”
How much did the Steelers’ good run defense have to do with you calling more pass plays?
“We wanted to still rush the football; we wanted to have those attempts to complement some of the play-action. They are a good defense. Statistically in every category you can see that. They tackle well; they’re physical; they rush the passer well. We collectively didn’t want to be one-dimensional. I thought in the second half that Drew (Brees) played some of his best football and clearly he had a hot hand. A lot of the throws might have been underneath or less down the field and yet we still took some shots. Lance Moore came up and made some big plays. I was pleased overall, especially in the second half. But you still wanted to have enough snaps, whether it was draws or one-back nickel runs to attack that defense.”
Were you going to fake that field goal?
It wasn’t just a ploy to get them to use the timeout?
“No. It was a fake. You know that one of two things is going to happen: you’re going to get a chance to run it and see how it looks or you’re going to get a timeout, and they called the timeout.”
Was it early enough in the game where you felt comforable running that
“We felt pretty good about it with what we were thinking.”
Would there have been enough time to spike the ball had Ladell Betts caught the pass on third down right before that?
“It was 3rd-and-3, so we felt like 16 seconds was plenty of time in that area of the field. The key is complete or incomplete, and if it’s complete it has to be a first down. Clearly he was going to get a first down into that look with the route he was running. We felt comfortable that we were going to be able to get up and spike the ball and still send the field goal unit on, but yet you’re still cautious. I was probably two or three seconds late in calling that timeout. I was thinking through a couple of things, with the fake field goal and how I wanted to handle that at the very end of that half. The play was incomplete to Ladell, but had he caught it we felt pretty certain…the cutoff is right there around 15 (seconds) and then when you get into an underneath throw like that, usually you have plenty of time to do that.”
You have been successful on four of your five challenges this season. Did you change anything in your process of how you go about deciding on when to challenge?
“Not really. I lean heavily on the guys upstairs and try to be somewhat judicious. I tend to be more aggressive; I don’t value those things like gold bullion or anything, we’re going to challenge. I just don’t want to miss one. I think the one yesterday was clear. A lot of times we can’t see it on the field, but upstairs they give us the information. But yesterday’s, you could see it on the scoreboards as well as upstairs, so that was a little bit easier.”
What do you take away from the last month in that you matched up well with the two teams that have been playing better than the two teams that you lost to?
“Just to keep working to be consistent knowing that it’s a long season. We’re just at the halfway point here and we’ll keep looking to improve.”
Is Garrett Hartley ok?
Carl Nicks said that you had kind of gotten back to practicing the way you know how to practice. Was there anything that was changed in the preparation this week?
“I thought we had good energy during the week. I think we’ve had good energy. We looked at paying attention to the snaps and how long we were on the field. I thought we had good focus and when it came time to play last night, I thought we saw that energy and effort level. We just have to keep looking to improve the next week and really focus on the little things and the details, which we’re doing today. You’re going to get better or you’re going to go in the other direction; you’re not just going to stay the same. That’s what we’re working on.”
Did you sense that the crowd had an impact on the game last night?
“I thought the crowd, especially on third down, was significant. That has become pretty common for us in the evening games. You can hear the difference in an evening crowd than a 12 noon game. I thought it was very loud, similar to that opening game that we played on Thursday night.”
Can you attribute that to anything?
“I think there’s a level of excitement. I do think the crowd is mindful of a national TV game. They understand the importance of a game like Pittsburgh and that’s a team that travels well. You saw a lot of Steelers fans in but I thought that was significant last night; a big advantage for us.”
Two weeks after he was fined $75,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, Steelers linebacker Jame Harrison can expect to be fined again. Harrison drilled Drew Brees on Sunday night and was flagged for roughing the passer. NFL discipline will be forthcoming, and the biggest question is how harsh the NFL office decides to treat Harrison as a repeat defender...After a bizarre late afternoon flurry of rumors and reports create the impression that Vikings coach Brad Childers went rogue when deciding to cut receiver Randy Moss. Moss is out. "The decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interest of the Vikings," said Vikings coach brad Childress, If Moss clears waivers, he'll become a free agent...
The Saints' running game was paltry, gaining only 38 yards on 18 attempts. Brees said he'd like to throw more, but he was working against the No. 1 defense against the run in the NFL and didn't expect too much running.
Marques Colston finished with six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Lane Moore led the Saints in receptions with seven for 54 yards, His fourth-quarter 15- yard grab for a touchdown was his team-leading fifth of the season. Robert Meachem enjoyed his most productive game of the season with six catches for 76 yards,including a 50-yarder.
The Steelers pulled to within 13-10 on Rashard Mendenhall's 38-yard run with 10:38 to play.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New Orleans Saints postgame quotes
SAINTS HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
(Opening Statement) “With Patrick Robinson it was his ankle, we will see how he is feeling tomorrow and get a report. The guys played hard with a lot of effort. When you get nicked up like that all of the sudden you are down one corner defensively, but we came up big all night. The turnover was big. I thought we were patient in the second half offensively and got some things going. It was a good team we were playing and our guys hung in there and battled and it was a good win for us. The kicking game was the same way, we came up with a big play there covering that last kickoff. It was good for us to get a win. We recognize it is what it is and we have a lot of things to work on and improve on.”
(On the win) “Its one game so we just go back to work this week; you just keep trying to get better.”
(On the challenge of the Steelers TD in the second quarter) “It ended up being just short. I was surprised at how obvious it was and fortunately they were able to go under the hood and we were able to catch it. The defense did a great job with the three goal line snaps and forced them to kick a field goal. That was a good turn of events there.”
(On the goal line stand after the challenge) “It was worth four points. Certainly, when you can come up with a stop like that its pretty significant.”
(On Chris Ivory) “He got nicked up and we couldn’t put him back in so we played both the other guys.”
(On the passing game) “At the half it was a tight 3-3 game. We knew we were going to be playing a real good defense and we just hung in there and some guys came up with some plays early on, but we had a couple drops in the first half. He (Drew Brees) found his rhythm and I think it was important to still have the ability to rush the ball and we were able to do that in the second half. Although it’s a challenge and you look down at the numbers, I still think its important that you make those attempts and be patient against a very good defense.”
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PLAYER QUOTES
#16 WR Lance Moore
(On staying consistent) “You always have to take a look at the things that you are successful with and the things that you aren’t. We have to make sure that we keep going in the right direction. We knew what we did poorly against Cleveland and we will know what we did poorly tonight against Pittsburgh.”
#51 LB Jonathan Vilma
(ON if it was the defense’s best performance of the year) “I don’t like to break it down by offense, defense and special teams. I go by team victories. I thought today we did a good job as a unit in offense, defense and special teams against a very good opponent and we came out with a victory.”
(On if they were hungry tonight) “We always play with a lot of effort and play hard. I thought that we had a really good week of preparation. We were really locked in and focused on our opponent. We really made sure that we understood our man-to-man match-ups.”
(On the significance of the goal line stand) “It thought it was huge. We have been doing that all season. We really focused on that in OTA’s and mini camp. It’s really showing up right now. The effort and attitude is really prevalent.”
#42 S Darren Sharper
(On the goal line stand) “It was huge. That was one of the turning points of the game. It was huge for them getting so close and us not allowing them to get a touchdown. We have done that extremely well this year. We have had a lot of goal line stands. Our defensive line has been getting a great push of not letting teams in the end zone.”
(On the fumble recovery) “It was just me being around the football and getting close to the ball. It was a great play by Marvin Mitchell to get the ball out. That’s something that we practice each and every day at practice. I was just at the right place at the right time and it happened at a big part in the game. We have had forced a lot of fumbles this year that we haven’t recovered, so it was nice to get one.”
#9 QB Drew Brees
(On if it was the toughest defense he has faced this season) “Yes, thus far. They are stout and physical. There is a reason why they are the number one rush defense in the league. They are very talented. They have the ability to bring pressure and give you all kinds of different looks. They make plays on defense and they have a great defensive coordinator. We knew that we had our work cut out for us. I felt like we had four great drives in the second half. We talked about winning the fourth quarter and we did that.”
(On tonight’s win after last week’s defeat) “We have built a reputation around here. We have high expectations. Obviously, we are disappointed with the 4-3 start especially since a couple of the losses were uncharacteristic of our brand of football. We were turning the ball over, having a lot of penalties and making stupid mistakes. It was really just about sticking together. Everyone outside of the building has wanted to question us and ask what’s wrong with the Saints. We knew in our locker room it was all about staying together and continuing to fight. We were going scratch and claw and take one game at a time. We knew what a big game this was. We were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers who are arguably one of the best teams in the NFL coming in here Halloween night on Sunday Night football. It couldn’t get any bigger. It was a way to get back on track by beating these guys. We played as complete of a football game as we have played all year.”
STEELERS COACH MIKE TOMLIN
Opening comments: “Let’s start with a tip of the hat to Coach Payton and company. They made sufficient plays. (They made) enough to win and we didn’t. We accept responsibility for our performance, both players and coaches. It was a tough environment for us tonight. We better get used to these kinds of environments. It comes with the territory when you’re trying to be world champs. We’ve got to play good people in their place and play better than that moving forward. We’ll get more opportunities at it. We’ve got to learn from this. I’m sure that we will. We’ll take that approach to it and hope to get better.”
On the environment related issues tonight: “It was a hostile environment for us. The fans were into it. We struggled a little bit on possession downs because of it, but that’s no excuse. They (the Saints) did a nice job. We knew that this was going to be a tough place to play coming into it. I was hopeful that we would perform better than we did.”
On the Saints pass rush making a difference: “I thought it was. They did a nice job. They provided us with a myriad of looks, but it wasn’t outside of their personality. Coach Williams does a nice job. They do a nice job of pre-snap looks and so forth. We talked in the top part of the week about how it would be significant to deal with those circumstances and the way that they use disguises with your silent counts and so forth. They did it extremely effectively tonight.”
On applying pressure and preventing the deep passes downfield: “They did a nice job. Along with applying pressure, they kept (the ball) in front of them.”
On the defensive effort from the Saints: “They made some nice plays. They won the line of scrimmage, but again, we knew that it was going to be tough to play down there (at the goal line). When you talk about silent counts and short yardage, they took advantage of the home field advantage and were able to get penetration and hold us off.”
On going for it on fourth down in the third quarter: “I thought our team needed that at that point. I wanted those guys to know that we came down here to compete and to win. I thought it would be a shot in the arm for our group.”
On if he thought about going for it on fourth down early in the game: “No, I didn’t. I just wanted to put the points on the board at that point. I don’t know what the score was, but I wanted the offense to experience some success there and get some points on the board and kind of move on. It was still an early juncture of the game.”
STEELER PLAYER QUOTES
#86 Hines Ward (Wide Receiver): “There’s no need to panic. We have a terrific football team. This is just one lost and now we have to prepare for Cincinnati. I thought we moved the football well against their defense.”
#51 James Farrior (Linebacker): “We came down here to win a football game and it didn’t happen. This was a real loud place to play and their offense is tough to read. But we have the majority of the season in front of us. And at 5 and 2, we will be okay as we start to play more and more teams in our division.”
#25 Ryan Clark (Safety): “You have to give credit to the New Orleans offense. Drew Brees put the ball where you had to put it and they made the plays when they needed it. They are a very good football team.”
“When you play a team like ours, you can’t always go for the deep ball and they were patient and took what they could get. I thought Brees and the Saints showed a lot of resolve. Maybe coming off a week like Cleveland when he (Brees) tried to force some things, I think he showed a lot of patience against us tonight.”
“It was real loud out there tonight but these fans have always been like that. Their crowd is a tenacious crowd. I know that because I used to cheer for the Saints when I was growing up here. It was an awesome atmosphere and I was glad to be a part of it. It was a tough visit but a good visit. I just wish we would have won.”
#7 Ben Roethlisberger (Quarterback): “You have to give them a lot of credit. This was a tough place to play; one of the loudest places that I have ever played a game in. They are the champs for a reason. But you can’t make excuses. We just have to play better.”
(On the Heath Miller fumble): “I don’t have to say anything to him. He’s the best tight end in the game. Him fumbling there is about as freaky as Jerome Bettis fumbling at Indianapolis at the goal line. There’s nothing to say. He was hurdling the defender and trying to make a play and you can’t criticize a guy for that.”
“We just never got into any rhythm tonight. This is definitely a gut check for us. We got knocked down a little bit tonight and now it will be interesting to see how we will bounce back. We’ll just have to evaluate things, but I don’t think there’s any reason to panic.”
TRANSCRIPT OF LSU COACH LES MILES’ WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening Statement …
“We had a nice open week, but it created great anxiety. As a coach when you sit there and watch football on Saturday, and you don’t have a game to play, you wonder where you are. You feel like there is somewhere you need to go. Now we are in game week. I felt like we had a good open week. We had three quality practices and I felt like our guys are ready to go into the stretch run. I think they’re healthy, and Wednesdays practice may have been the best practice we have had this year. I enjoy the position that we are in.
“Offensively we worked both quarterbacks and we will stay with both quarterbacks. It is a necessity that we need both quarterbacks’ skills. I like the way Jefferson played at times in the last game and I liked how Jarrett Lee played in the Florida game. If I can get the combination of those quarterbacks to play, that is our best offense. I want to get Stevan Ridley going. I think he is healthy and looking forward to taking some balls. I would like to have him handle the carries in this game if I can.
“Defensively we are coming off an unusual week.. After we prepared for a guy like Cam Newton I think we are looking forward to I-back runs and guys that line up in a position that we are comfortable defending. I think our defense is looking forward to focusing on tackling tailbacks and focusing on preparing for a very talented offense, but one in which we understand the complexities a little bit better.
“Special teams are preparing to play well. I think they improved in the Auburn game and then this week, and I think they will play better as we go towards the Alabama game.. We are looking forward to getting back to Tiger Stadium, because I know our guys played best there.
“Alabama has a tremendous offense led by Mark Ingram, a Heisman trophy winner, and a very talented Trent Richardson who is as talented as any tailback in the conference. Greg McElroy has been a very consistent distributor of the ball. He gets the ball to the guys that he is supposed to and makes very few mistakes, and when he scrambles out of there he can go get you a first down as well. He is very talented. Of course Julio Jones may be one of the top receivers in the country and is having a great year. He is really lately playing his best.
“Defensively they are very talented. They have a big, physical front group that is as strong a force as we have been around. They have good speed in the secondary and they lead the SEC in scoring and are second in total defense with only 291 yards per game. It is a very good defense and we look forward to the challenge of playing them. I can tell you that we look forward to big games, and whenever you line up against Alabama, it’s a big game. It is one in which will be approached with the mindset of let’s just play and let’s enjoy how we play. Let’s prepare well so we can let it rip and let our best team present itself. I think this will be a lot of fun and I think our guys are looking forward to it. They certainly prepared well last week, and the schedule this week we will work hard on Monday and Tuesday and we will trim it a little bit on Wednesday and even more on Thursday, and we will look forward to playing a very physical football game on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.”
On the inconsistent play of the wide receivers…
“I think any time you look at the passing game, you have to look at the whole piece. Certainly the receiving corps could have caught more balls, and I think those things should not continue. We work hard on just the simple mechanics of catching the football on a daily basis. I think you are looking at a group of guys, in my opinion, that are committed to making those necessary adjustments so that those catches are made and made more routinely. But, any time you have dropped passes, it’s a piece that’s negative, and you need to eliminate it. I think we have good leadership there, and I think they are working hard at correcting that.”
On stopping the run with numbers against Alabama…
“I think that we won’t change our philosophy as we go to this one. I think you’ll look at those formations that you can gain, you will, but again, you also have to be wary that Julio Jones (can catch it) and this quarterback (Greg McElroy) can throw the football, so we’ll see our spots and those times where we need to load the box.”
On what they need to do to get over the hump and beat Alabama…
“I think that our football team realizes that this is going to be a very competitive game. I don’t know that getting over the hump is the view. I think it’s more of doing the things that we are capable of doing and letting the game be decided in that way. I think we are capable of defending this team. Offensively, I think we are capable of scoring points so just play our style of football.”
On how DE Sam Montgomery’s injury has affected the defensive line…
“Certainly when you lose a starter, it’s a difficult piece. We felt like we would be a little bit better with Sam here. I think the number of snaps that have been taken by our defensive ends have progressed them, and I think we are better than we would have been had they not been taking those snaps. We are in the same that we’d be in. I think our defensive line has improved. I think the thing that has to happen to get pressure on (Greg) McElroy is to get him into predictable passing situations and then be able to get up the field. I think our guys rush the passer well. We would like not to call too much blitz, but it really kind of depends on how the game is going and what’s needed to get pressure on that passer.”
On the team mentality coming off a loss…
“I think our football team has character. I think those teams that lose games back-to-back routinely don’t necessarily have the pain in the pit of their stomach that this team will have. I think we’ll play with edge. I think we’ll want to be very competitive. I think there is a natural rebound to this team. I don’t know that we do anything as a coaching staff very special in any way. I think the guys that we have are quality people, and they don’t like to lose back-to-back.”
On if he is disappointed in the blocking of the wide receivers…
“I guess what I’m saying is I’m in the key piece of my season where the big plays have yet to have been made. As I go into the next game, I look for those plays to be more important than anything that we’ve done in the past, and to say that I have any opinion to this point that would be finite would not. Really, I’m expecting this receiving corps to do the things that they’ve done in the past, and that is rebound and play like hell and play well. If they do that, that’s just what I want to see them do. In many instances there is some developing going on, and there are some guys, in my opinion, who are a little bit nicked and will probably be playing with greatest health this Saturday.”
On Alabama’s success with the turnover margin…
“I think that when you don’t rush the football efficiently, you have the tendency to rely on that passing attack, and when you pass the football on predictable down and distances, it becomes easier to rush the passer. I think that pressure creates the issue. What we have to do is we have to be effective on first down. If we are efficient moving the football, getting to a nice third and short or we are getting first downs on first and second down, now the quarterback has little issue, and it becomes easier to execute the offense. Again, I think they are willing to hand the ball off, and handing the ball off has made them very successful. Those tailbacks have gotten yards. When you don’t expect a third down and long gain, and your quarterback has the opportunity to execute again in those down and distances that doesn’t require him to just throw it, it makes a difference.”
On if he addresses the conference standings with his team…
“We talk about that, but then it’s more about controlling the things that we can control. Frankly, to keep our position in the (SEC) West is what we need to do, and to do that we have to take one at a time, and this very next one is an awfully important one. If you have ambition in the West, a lot will be decided at 2:30 p.m., this Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.”
On DL Pep Levingston’s injury status…
“All I know is it’s improved, and we expect him to practice this week.”
On if he was able to do some scouting on offense during the bye week to see what they could improve on…
“I think the pieces that we have done here really that have benefitted us is we have looked at those things that we have been successful, and we are going to work to maximize those yet again. The ability to throw and catch is more than just the receivers. It’s more than the quarterbacks, and it really involves the line and the backs and the scheme. I think that we’ve done that. We’ve looked at some of those things, and we are looking to improve there. I think our running game, it just appears that Stevan Ridley is kind of the key to that piece, and we would like to get Russell Shepard a little bit more active and see if we can get more out of his carries and his receptions. Offensively, that’s how we looked at it. Defensively, we are having some success there, and we really want to focus on those things that we have been doing well, and we are really going to look at this as a physical game and really kind of talk about and work on blocking and tackling and all those pieces that we are really going to have to do well in this next game. On special teams, we’ve instituted a series of individual drills that, in my opinion, we’ll progress our special teams unit. The open week, besides gaining some health, seemed to be very productive.”
On the style of rushing attack that LSU is more comfortable defending…
“I don’t know that there is more comfort. I think the pieces that are in place will be maybe a little bit more traditional for our linebackers and our defensive line. I don’t know if comfort is necessarily the word.”
On the matchup between Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones…
“I think that matchup is going to be a very interesting matchup. I also like the idea that Morris Claiborne and some other guys may step in there and get some of those snaps. I’m not saying that we will shadow Julio Jones. I think it will be a mix and match. Hopefully at the right times we’ll have Patrick Peterson on him, and at other times I don’t feel that bad at having some other guys on him, and I think Julio Jones is a very talented receiver. I just think we are pretty good at corner.”
On comparisons between Les Miles and Nick Saban…
“I’ve never really looked at this game as being about the coaches. I have great respect for coach Saban. I feel like he’s done a great job. I really think it’s about LSU and Alabama’s players and taking it to the field and playing an aggressive college game that is going to be noteworthy. I’m not focused in any way on any comparisons between myself and coach Saban.”
On Auburn QB Cam Newton’s success against LSU…
“The interesting thing is I watched the next week, and it seemed like he threw the football better against Ole Miss than he did against us. I would have come off of our game and said I didn’t think he threw the ball very well. The reality of it is he throws the ball very well. Each week it appears to me he adds to his competitive edge, and that’s a good thing. I compare him very favorably to the best quarterbacks I’ve lined up against.”
On how much he expects QB Jordan Jefferson to impact the run game this week…
“I think any time that he takes the field, I think there is a need for him to have the opportunity to carry the football. Not that we want to take carries away from Stevan Ridley and some of these other guys we use in a game, but I think that adds to a defense’s checklist. The opportunity to carry the football in a predictable fashion and the ability to hand the ball off as well as throw it really give you the most diverse attack.”
On if during the bye week they spent more time preparing for Alabama or addressing the issues against Auburn…
“I think both are done in the same fashion. I don’t think it’s something that you can prioritize because frankly, you have to be prepared to play your opponent. Along those lines during that time you have to improve your team, and that’s what we did.”
On how he will use Russell Shepard the rest of the season …
“I think what we are trying to do is get comfortable offensively, and some of the things we have done with him you can count on us doing it again. There may be some different slants to those plays, but I think how we will use him will be how we have used him in the past.”
On if the scheme will change any if Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram is in the game …
“They both seem pretty talented to me. They are both fast, and they are both physical backs. They both don’t mind contact, and they are both physically similar. They are not necessarily tall, but they are very explosive and very talented. I think both guys are very good, and I don’t think they lose much when either one of them goes into the game. I don’t think the scheme will change any, it’s a tailback.”
On the mentality of the team during the bye week …
“I think any time you have a team that cares, they will look to progress, and they look to ask that the team and their group come along. I see that with good teams pretty routinely. I think the mental preparation and our football team enjoyed the open week and is looking forward to preparing with a game week to go.”
On the effect of the crowd in Tiger Stadium this weekend …
“I think one of the real advantages of our football team each time we take the field in Tiger Stadium is the fact that the fan base is intimately associated with this football team. I count on them to make noise, and our opponent expects a loud and very excited LSU crowd will be there. I have been in that stadium routinely where it was very difficult for the opponent to get a snap. I say ‘Come on and make a lot of noise.’”
A GUINNESS World Records rep confirmed that the Saints game against the Steelers in the Superdome on Sunday was the largest Halloween gathering ever. The rep recorded that 17,777 persons were dressed in Halloween costumes at the event, breaking the previous record of 508 persons. The Saints hosted a costume contest that was sponsored by FOX-8 in Champions Square three hours prior to kickoff, The contest awarded the best costumes with prizes including tickets and pregame field passes for Sunday night's game. Selected staff chose 20 contestants for the contest, The contestants were narrowed down to seven and the crowd cheered for which contestant they thought should be in the top three, The winner of the contest was Glenn Mehrtens, who dressed as Saints coach Sean Payton...
by Ed Staton
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