Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:19

LSU Eyes Kentucky Amid Jefferson, Johns Return And Miles NFL Rumors

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Les MilesKentucky coach Joker Phillips said he knows his team is facing another big challenge on Saturday morning when they play No. 1 LSU in Tiger Stadium.

"Defensively, they are one of the best teams in the country," said Phillips at his weekly news conference. "They have got seven sacks, fifth in the SEC tied with us. Turnover margin is the glaring thing they have done as a team. Plus eight, they have only given up three on offense and taken away 11 on defense.

"Offensively they are averaging 38 points, given up three sacks, and are 48 per cent on third-down conversions. Their special forces, they returned the kickoff last week for a touchdown and are averaging 25 yards on kickoff returns. Big, good-looking running back, like typical LSU back. Fullback, who has gone from being a defensive lineman to now playing fullback. Really good player.

"Quarterback is doing a good job of not turning the ball over and completing about 65 per cent of his passes.

Phillips played in Tiger Stadium when he was a young player at Kentucky.

"I told the team they can expect a loud, hostile crowd. I can remember Coach Jerry Claiborne taking us to walk on the field," recalled Phillips.  "Walk the stadium prior to the '83 game when we did play there and won.  And Jerry Eisaman who was the offensive coordinator brought the offense in the middle of the field and he had won there as a player, from Kentucky, and just explaining to us the atmosphere, how the atmosphere would be, how it was going to be loud, it's going to be hostile, you're going to be called every name under the sun except for your God-given name.

"He asked us just to smell the popcorn, smell the grass and all those things that come with being on the college football field. (He didn't mention the smell of alcohol from the stands that greets the players).  Those things helped us mentally in understanding and preparing ourselves for what was about to happen the next day and to give us the opportunity to go in there and win because we were prepared. None of the things shocked us."

More Tigers

 The LSU football news has shifted back to coach Les Mlles now that Jordan Jefferson and Josh Johns have been reinstated to the Tigers football team.

Mike Freeman of writes that Miles has gone to the top of lists as the next NFL coaching candidate.

"NFL owners and general managers over the past few years have always been intrigued by Miles, but something about Miles always made them hesitant: They thought he was a goofball.

"The wacky, Mad Hatter rep made some NFL executives who considered hiring him nervous, I'm told. They weren't certain if he had the maturity to be an NFL head coach, so in the end, they stayed away."

That is changing drastically.

:He's the most intriguing coaching prospect I've seen in a long time," said one team executive. "He has great deal of talent and can deal with the modern athlete."

The news that the NFL might pursue Miles could affect the Tigers' recruiting. LSU currently has 19 players committed for the class of 2012, most of whom are solid. But for some, like four-star wide receiver at Pompano Beach,Fla., Avery Johnson, the younger brother of former LSU All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson, likely will get mail for other SEC schools listing Miles as an NFL coaching candidate. All teams are looking for an edge in getting a four-star recruit.

Miles on the NFL sidelines? I don't think so. He saw what happened to Nick Saban at Miami and he is seeing what is happening to Pete Carroll in Seattle.

I don't believe he'll leave LSU, one of the best jobs in college football, to put up with the NFL.

Steve Gleason Gave New OrleansSaints Spark, Gives ALS His Life's Work by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of

by Ed Staton

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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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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