LSU Coach Les Miles Talks BCS Process, Ole Miss
Written by  // Tuesday, 16 November 2010 08:56 //

LSU coach Les Miles said the BCS way of determining the national champion is not the best system at his weekly news meeting with the media on Monday. The coach said he is favor of playoffs and talked about his game against Ole Miss on Saturday:.

Miles' comments to the media:

Opening Statement …

“This is the last home game for 15 seniors, and I hope Tiger Stadium is, as it’s been this season, a great place to send off 15 heralded seniors. Guys that will have their degree and guys that will leave with a National Championship ring as well. We are certainly going to miss those guys, and they have certainly represented LSU in a first class manner. Again, I hope the fans come out and are just as loud and as rowdy as Tiger Stadium has ever been.


“Offensively we were in a short field most of the day because we had five turnovers from our defense. Even the interception that Patrick Peterson had was about an 85 yard return, so we did not have long field opportunities all night. We scored and were efficient, and I felt like we played to the strength of our team, which is our defense. We did not turn the ball over and we were the least penalized team on the evening. Those things really speak volumes. If you can play great defense, great special teams, not turn the ball over and not be penalized you are going to win a lot of football games.


“Saying that, I feel we ran the football well enough, but we need to throw the ball more efficiently. There were a couple plays there where we were a little greedy and we wanted to take the big shot, but the reality is if we just keep it in the passes that were there we would have had opportunities to take other shots. Again, those things will be better.


“Defensively we started two true freshman and at times Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon, Craig Loston, and Eric Reid were all in the game. You look at a youthful group there, but they are playing very much like veterans. We look forward to those guys going out on the field for us.


“Special teams were good. Josh Jasper has three more field goals and a career best 53-yarder, and he punted the ball well. Derek Helton averaged right around 47 yards a punt and we downed the ball down in there several times. I really think special teams continue to be a real dominant piece of our game.


“We recognize that this is Ole Miss Week, and this is going to be a great competitive game between two traditional rivals. I think about the many games historically that have been played between these two teams. The Billy Cannon run is certainly one that everyone talks about and will continue to talk about forever.


“This Ole Miss team is much better than a 4-6 team, they are a team that has the ability to score. They have a very fine running back, and certainly the quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. They can run it and throw it, and they have an offensive line that’s given up the fewest sacks in the SEC, and they are going to be a great challenge for our defensive front. Defensively they have given up some points, and certainly they have given up some yards as well. They also take chances and they get into the backfield, as they are second in the conference in sacks. They have an outstanding punter in Tyler Campbell who is averaging 45 yards per punt, which is second in the SEC. They have a very dangerous returner Jesse Grandy who is third, so they are very solid in special teams and we are going to have to very good in our coverage as we have been.


“We look forward to the final home game, and the season seems to be going fast. It has always been our desire to play very significant games in November, and certainly we are there. There are some things we can control and some things we cannot. We are not focused on the things we cannot. We look forward to playing Ole miss this Saturday in Tiger Stadium, and it is going to be a great game.”


On if he is confident in his quarterbacks’ abilities to throw the ball down the field…

“The issue is we want to throw it deep, and we should probably have taken some of the underneath throws in that game that we just played, but no, I think our guys can throw it deep. They’ll mishit, but they’ll hit more than not.”


On Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt’s game plan against LSU…

“I think Houston Nutt does a great job. I think any time you line up against his teams, they are going to be very sound in offense, defense and special teams. He prepares them extremely well. We have great respect for those teams that he’s coached and how he prepares his teams. We’ll look forward to competing at that level.”


On defensive back Jai Eugene’s impact to the program…

“Jai has always played a very consistent role on defense and on special teams. He’s a guy that will always know what is going on to be able to make adjustments. He’s a very physical player, a guy that when he’s on the field, the people around him get better because of his communication and his abilities. I think what he’s done is he’s looked around at those players as guys that he can help mentor. I think he does a great job in helping coach (Ron) Cooper and helping the young guys learn exactly what we need to have learned because very frankly, a team is about the sum and the total. I think what Jai does is he makes everybody around him better.”


On DT Drake Nevis not being a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy…

“It’s difficult for the coach who represents Drake Nevis because what I see is the teams we play against, and what I see is how he plays week-in and week-out, how he leads my team and the kind of person he is. For me, I don’t know that there is a nose tackle or a defensive lineman, certainly an interior guy that has as great an impact on a game or in leadership on a program as Drake Nevis has had. It’s sad that he’s not in the finals. I would think that he would be compared with the very best in this country across the board, but again, it’s unfair to me and probably to Drake, the fact that I really have not seen them all, and I cannot represent the differences specifically. The only thing I can tell you is if they are any better than him, they are very deserving.”


On how much the way last year’s Ole Miss game ended sticks with him now…

“We looked at that very long, and we made adjustments. We saw the mistakes, and we fixed them. The issue is one that is certainly not a pleasant memory, but getting beyond it and making sure we’re headed in the right direction, that’s got to be our focus. To me, that’s what our team has to do and what I have to do.”


On backup QB TC McCartney’s role with the team…

“He helps signal in plays. He’s in every quarterback meeting. He understands the game plan very fully. He gets very few reps in game week. He does get some physical reps, but he signals in many of the plays in practice. I think he’s a very capable quarterback, but he will be a tremendous coach, and he wants to be a football coach. He has a very tactical mind. He’s very bright. We’ve really enjoyed him.”


On the BCS and bowl system…

“It’s an imperfect system. Obviously the perfect system is a playoff, but all the great things that the bowl system has given college football cannot be overlooked. It’s another payday that reflects television money. It’s another opportunity for those teams that are not necessarily in the BCS hunt and the opportunity to maybe have a great team, maybe even finish as the conference champion and then go to a bowl game and play another out-of-conference champion and look to play another quality opponent, not from your conference, not from your background. I just think the bowl system has been so productive for college football and given so many incentives to football teams and colleges and for that matter, a just and fitting ending to a great season that does not end in a national championship. In other words, that team is not necessarily capable to be the national champion still has a tremendous reward at the end of a great season to play in a bowl and play a quality opponent. It’s obvious that year-in and year-out the view of the BCS system will become popular or not. I think overall the bowl system has benefitted college football.. I think you have to give great view to that before you really change it and how then can that bowl system be worked into whatever changes that could be made. I understand it’s imperfect, but it has certainly benefitted college football.”


On if any of the young guys that played last Saturday stood out…

“When we play young guys, it’s with the idea that in the back end of the season, certainly the next two, maybe even three games, that these guys will warrant more playing time. I think there are a number of guys that did that. Those guys who go onto the field really are going on with that in mind. It’s interesting; we get to the back end of a game when I was ahead 51-0, and it is so routine for me to just say, ‘OK, we’re going to run it, and we’re not going to try to score.’ But, it’s interesting. The plays that you call, you still want your team to have the opportunity to have success on the play, and you want to get better. I think we did that with that in mind, and I think a number of those guys that went into the game will see more time as we go forward.”


On if the goal has shifted to earning a BCS bowl bid…

“I think there is a number of ways this thing finishes, and I think it’s way too early to predict. The key piece for us is to play well and improve against a very fine Ole Miss football team. Then, we’ll worry about the last opponent, but we get to the back end of this thing, who knows what the landscape of college football will look like and how it would have changed. I would not have been able to tell you that before we played Tennessee in the SEC Championship game, that we would have the opportunity to play in a national championship. I couldn’t see it the night before. Let’s do one thing; let’s focus on the very next opponent and play very well.”


On if the end of last year’s game led them to adjust the way they do things at practice…

“We’ve done a number of things differently in practice that helps us in those situations. We’ve worked at it.”


On how involved they were in recruiting Ole Miss RB Brandon Bolden out of high school…

“We absolutely took a look at him and saw that he had real talent. It’s difficult not being able to recruit all of the very good players in this state. It’s our goal and desire to take the very best, and at some point in time, you get into those marginal decisions, and certainly Bolden is good enough to play SEC football.”


On an injury update to OL Will Blackwell and OT Alex Hurst and not turning the ball over in the past two games…

“We would like to think that both will play in this game. Hurst is much improved. He’s taken strides, and I will be able to tell you more as the week goes on. I think Will Blackwell will play in this game. He had a really good pre-game warm up, and I think he will be chomping at the bit to get some of the cobwebs knocked off of him, but I think he’ll be ready to play. It’s an important piece of our football that we take care of our football, that ball security is an issue. I want it to be that way. It gives us our best opportunity at victory.”


On how the offensive linemen who have been inserted on the right side due to injury have performed…

“I think all of those guys are stepping in and fulfilling the role. We’re looking at a number of guys over there. I like Chris Faulk over there as well. I think he’s a big, right tackle that we might need to get some looks. I felt like Greg Shaw, Josh Williford, certainly T-Bob (Hebert) who plays the majority of the time there, have all stepped in and given us good performances and what really we need. We’re going to see and look around and make sure we have the right guys on the field.”




On the emotion of Senior Day…

“It’s interesting. We have a tradition. Every home game we put together a motivational video that really encompasses kind of the last week, and we put something together really for every Thursday, and we show that video in the stadium yet again just for the team as we go to Lod Cook to spend Friday night. I don’t know that I see it in practice, and I don’t know that I see it in the locker room, but I really see it walking into that stadium quiet and by themselves. I remember Andrew Whitworth and saying to him, ‘Enjoy this place.’ He said, ‘Greater than you’ll ever know.’ I remember Kyle Williams in a like feeling on that turf that Friday night. I think they’ll miss it most after it’s over. It’s youth. It’s the experience of youth. When they walk off that field for the last time, it’s then that it will probably strike them. The good news is their memories are as strong as there is in college football. There is not a guy that will leave his experience here and ever think that there was a better venue, better stadium, better place to go to school, better place to be cheered for. There is only one Tiger Stadium.”


On if the initial thought was Will Blackwell may not come back this season after getting hurt against North Carolina…

“To be very honest with you, as the operation took place we felt like this was a very significant injury, and it was not as likely that he would return at the end of the season. The bones grew together extremely well. There is little or no pain, and the opportunity for a guy to heal fast has happened and how wonderful. I watched him on the sideline in what was a Friday walk, and he was over there hitting a wall and stomping on his ankle and working like heck. Then, in pre-game, old (Greg) Studrawa, our offensive line coach, got after him pretty good and saw what he had. He had a nice, pre-game warm up, so this will be a game week that he’ll look forward to. I’m certain.”


On CB Patrick Peterson’s career…

“I think it would be a little premature for me to comment on what may or may not happen there. I can only tell you that we will review this year with Patrick Peterson, and we will look at one of the very exceptional players and one of the really great corners in our country. I hope that there will be an opportunity for him to have a celebration of sorts.”



On having the chance to defeat Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss all in the same year…

“I think our football team wants to be a championship team. I think that has always been the goal of our program. Going through those teams and defeating those teams really you speak to the (SEC) West, you speak to the conference and you speak to the importance of beating those guys that you’re going to play every year.”


On playing so well in the third quarter and the end of the game …

“We are maybe getting on track. Maybe the coaches are getting a good look at what is needed, and maybe our players are fresher and look forward to finishing the game. There are a bunch of reasons.”


On the walk-on program

“There are a number of guys who have walked on here and made real significant contributions. Colt David was a walk on when I first got here and ended up being the leading scorer in LSU history as a place kicker.. Daniel Graff, who basically as a youngster blocked punts against our first punt team, and he showed his ability to do that in how fast he ran and how physical of a player he is. He ends up playing really specific football. TC McCartney is a guy who walked on here. There are a number of men who take the responsibility to be a Tiger. It doesn’t come with money, it doesn’t come with prestige, but it comes with the responsibility to contribute. That is what the walk on program means. Those guys are as good as there are, and I look forward to getting them on the field. I have to tell you, walk-ons in our program, if they are good and are good enough, they get to play. Daniel Graff certainly would be an example of that.”


On if an undefeated team from a non-automatic qualifying conference should normally be ranked ahead of a one-loss team from one of the major conferences…

“I think that there is a difficulty in comparing strength of schedule. I think with that difficulty creates a hailstorm of opinion, and who knows? The only thing I can tell you is you get to the back end of a schedule in this conference, and you first assign a young coach to find out how many of their players are no longer with them. So, in other words, they go through a schedule, and there are a number of guys who aren’t playing, so who have been their backups? I think there are a number of real quality conferences that play great football week-in and week-out, and I think there should be serious consideration to that. I only know this about this conference. The highest ranked team to come out of this conference should well have an opportunity to play in the national championship game. Certainly I’m prejudice, but the reality of it is I don’t know if there is a finer, more competitive conference in America, and certainly at some point in time and it has in certainly the last half of decade, it will be very significant when it comes to who plays in the game.”


“Understand this. Great teams are great teams. It’s based on a championship nucleus. It’s based on skill and ability. It’s putting it together and the chemistry of that team. Great teams can come from any conference. There isn’t any question, but it’s that team that can prove over a length of schedule that they have played the best and deserve the opportunity to then represent all of college football in that game.. I’m being as evasive as I can be. I’m certain that it creates great opinion and great conversation as we go forward. I hope to be very interested in that opinion and conversation as we go forward.”



LSU’s season-finale against 13th-ranked Arkansas in Little Rock will be televised by CBS, the Southeastern Conference announced on Monday.


The Tigers and Razorbacks will kick off at 2:30 p.m. from War Memorial Stadium. It will be LSU’s fifth appearance on CBS this year. This week, the Tigers close out their home schedule against Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. in a game televised by CBS.


Other SEC games slated for television next week include: Kentucky at Tennessee on the SEC Network; Mississippi State at Ole Miss at 6 p.m. on ESPNU; Wake Forest at Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast Sports; Georgia Tech at Georgia at 6:45 p.m. on ESPN.


Television for the Florida at Florida State game and the South Carolina at Clemson game have not been determined yet. In addition, the Auburn at Alabama game will be held on Friday and will be televised on CBS.






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.  


Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com
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