Miles Previews Middle Tennessee at Luncheon

by (@LSUsports)
Miles Previews Middle Tennessee at Luncheon

BATON ROUGE — LSU head coach Les Miles addressed the media on Monday afternoon, recapping his team’s 48-7 victory over then-No. 9 Virginia Tech and previewing Saturday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Middle Tennessee in Tiger Stadium.

It was also announced that the start time for LSU’s Sept. 22 contest against South Carolina will not be set until Sunday, Sept. 16. CBS exercised its six-day option. The game will either be on CBS at 2:30 p.m. CT or ESPN at 6:45 p.m. CT.

Les Miles Quotes
September 10, 2007
Opening Statement…
“I told the team this morning that I thought the coaches did a great job with the game plan. I thought that we were very well prepared and the players executed the game plan very well. Offensively, we had great balance. We rushed for 300 yards and passed for 300 yards. Any way you carve it up that is a nice day offensively. Hester came out in the first drive and really provided us with a spark, including the final 3 yards for the touchdown. I feel that set the tone for the day.”
“Defensively, we all kind of know what to expect and how to coach, but it’s interesting when you hear somebody describe your defense in a way that isn’t professional but accurate. My wife says to me the other day ?It just seems like when they call a stunt, everybody goes flying to the ball this way but there is always somebody coming over the top to protect incase the play were to break.’ That is called coordinated defense and it is being played at LSU right now. It is nice to watch. There is great confidence in that phase of the game and I am sure it will continue.”
“On special teams, anytime you lineup against Virginia Tech you take a challenge with special teams. You understand that kicks are at risk and you understand that you must cover. I really felt our special teams unit as a group did a real strong job. Patrick Fisher was especially challenged and did a great job.”
On the pregame rituals…
“I enjoyed coming down the hill. When they let us off by the Cox (Communications Academic Center) and we came down the hill that was one of the strongest walks and one of the largest crowds outside of the stadium I have ever seen. Once we got inside the stadium, it is evident why Gameday and most of America now recognize what we have known for quite some time – that this is the finest game day environment in America. They tell me that it was the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium and I am very thankful that our team performed as they would have wished.”
On the team’s M.V.Ps from the Virginia Tech game…
“Our defensive player of the week, who is also the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, was Kirston Pittman. He had 8 tackles and made some great plays. He helped our defense to allow a confident offense to only 149 yards total offense.”
“On offense, there were a number of guys that played well. Helms and Ciron Black played well. Keiland Williams came in and got big yardage. There were a number of men that played extremely well on offense. It is very important that this guy (Brandon LaFell) come in and be a key player for us on the offensive side. LaFell had a game that proved if you spend a lot of time on the other end of the field covering the other receiver and leave one-on-one coverage on LaFell then you are in trouble.”
 “On special teams, we gave our M.V.P, considering the number of rushed punts that Virginia Tech was likely to give us, we gave our M.V.P. to the three guys who are part of the shield in the punt formation. That would be Mit Cole, Pep Livingston and Quinn Johnson. Those guys stepped up, overloaded the gap and provided good old fashion contact to protect our punts.”
On the Middle Tennessee game…
“I know a lot of people want to sing our praises, but we don’t seek recognition from rankings. What is important to us is that we improve and continue that improvement day-to-day and week-to-week. This is a very talented opponent. Middle Tennessee put 42 points on No. 8 Louisville. They were the Sun-Belt Conference Champions a year ago. They played in the Motor City Bowl. I know the year we played Alabama in 2005 and went into overtime for the win, that year Middle Tennessee played Alabama extremely tough. If you look at some of the scores in college football, it tells you that you better be ready to play. You need to understand that it doesn’t matter what conference your opponent is in or what there record is, if they have talent, they can reach up and play extremely well against you. It doesn’t reflect on your tradition or what conference you are in but how you are prepared. If you look at the Auburn and South Florida score that is the most recent game I can remember that will get you to understand that Middle Tennessee is a very talented team.”
“On offense, they have a quarterback (Joe Craddock) that threw for a career-best of 290 yards against Louisville. They have two good tailbacks. The backup (Phillip Tanner) came in and got three touchdowns and 140 yards. Their first-team guy DeMarco Nair got 72 yards on 7 carries. They have a very talented running back core and a quality offensive line.”
“Seven starters come back on the defensive side. They have 10 guys that have started in four or more games. Their defense understands where they are at and understand how to play. After watching them, you can tell they come after you. We are going to have to prepare and be ready to play and play well.”
On QB Matt Flynn‘s status
“I don’t think that his injury is a real worry at this point. We have taken some precautionary steps by giving him the day off today. We will look at him on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
On the receivers…
“I think that Brandon Lafell made his point and is looking forward to remaking it on a regular basis. If you watch Terrence Toliver, Chris Mitchell and the other receivers and how they are coming, you better pick who you double coverage wisely because when we go the other direction there is a very talented receiver there.”
On the quarterbacks…
“I think Matt has managed the game in difficult situations extremely well. It doesn’t seem to put unnecessary pressure on him. When you sit back in the pocket, you want to make every play. He understands that he is not going to make every play. He understands that a throwaway is a good response to a play that has gone wrong. He is just what we need. Ryan (Perrilloux) shows mobility and the ability to throw. He is coming of age but still a work in progress.”
On if they are doing substitutions more often this season…
“I think we substitute more and change personal more often than we did a year ago. Our style of offense is much les predictable that way.”
On the pistol formation…
“We have thought about that for quite some time. It is not as revolutionary as you may think. When you figure out the snap is a comfortable one to take, you have ball security and the ball handling there after is relatively easy, it became a very comfortable adjustment to make when it is already a shotgun snap.”
 On what the difference is between the pistol formation and a normal shotgun formation…
“It is a little shorter and gives you the potential to put the running back in either direction because it is a modified I-alignment from the shotgun.”
On how gratifying it is to see Kirston Pittman playing well…
“There is a guy that you really root for. You see that for two years he roared in the season in position to play and he was in great shape. One season he blew out his Achilles and the other he had a very painful cyst that had to be removed. You want guys like that to have an opportunity and he has that and is making the best of it. He is playing well and deserving of it.”
On how he prevents his team from underestimating their opponent…
“Maybe it is the strength of schedule. All you have to do is look at your opponent and see that they are very talented. This team is no exception. This is a team that if you take for granted, they can ware you out. They are talented with speed on defense, ability to score and have veteran guys. We best prepare and play well.”
On how their two victories have looked easy on paper…
It wasn’t easy. On film, it wasn’t. Right now we are playing for a victory against Middle Tennessee State. I can tell you that I have no misgivings about what the future holds. I am looking to take it one game at a time. I want my players to do the same. I want the stadium to be as filled as it has been every Saturday. To give us the great home field advantage that we need. We will talk about the next opponent as it comes.”
On Colt David
“Here is a guy that shows up on campus and competes like heck for the job and gets a portion of the job a year ago. He continues to get better and provide his trade. We see the confidence in him. We understand that that is growing. We count on him. He has proven to this team that when he steps on the field he will be ready to kick. If you give him some protection and get the ball down on the ground, he can hit it.” 
On how the offensive line has improved…
Brett Helms is going to be one of the best centers in this league and in America. He is bright player. He is a quick and strong center. He makes all of our calls inside. He is having a great year. Ciron Black played a physical football game on Saturday. His improvement is obvious, along with Herman Johnson. Lyle Hitt and Carnell Stewart are coming and making strides. I look forward to their play as the season goes on. Both have shown improvement.”