Miles Speaks to Media About Ranking, Ole Miss

by (@LSUsports)
Miles Speaks to Media About Ranking, Ole Miss

BATON ROUGE — Head coach Les Miles addressed the media on Monday during his weekly press luncheon about the Tigers’ return to No. 1 in the country, as well as the team’s final regular-season road trip to Ole Miss this coming Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST on CBS. Watch the press conference on-demand in the Geaux Zone.


Opening statement…
“Recapping the Louisiana Tech game, I thought the team played well in spots. Offensively we scored 58 points and had just under 600 yards of total offense. We had good balance with run and pass. We enjoyed how we moved the football. We had some real strong performances on offense. Jacob Hester was our offensive M.V.P. for the week with 117 rushing yards, including an 87-yard touchdown run, which was our longest run from scrimmage this year.”

“Certainly there are places we need to improve. We need to be a little bit better in our protection and do some things better on offense. Overall, our offense had a strong performance. I felt the same way about our defense. The defense gets a feel for what the opponent is doing and puts the clamps on and plays pretty solid. There were a couple of errors in that game that the defense can correct with simple alignments. That is being done and I enjoy the fact that our defense was tight after they had a long kickoff return. Jonathan Zenon got a very timely interception in the end zone and he was our defensive M.V.P. He had two turnovers and a strong performance overall.”

“On special teams, we are doing some really good things in our return game. Some really good things that are just short of fulfilling our expectations. We will eventually hit a return for a touchdown on a punt and kickoff – that is our goal. We are giving up too much return yardage on special teams. Our guys understand that and there where two mistakes made there that we can not make again. Those are some things we are going to have to spend a lot of time on this week because there is a real need to improve in those areas.”

“I felt like Colt David, who was our special teams M.V.P., had a particularly strong night. He had three field goals and was perfect on extra points. They tell me that ties a school record with 19 in a season. There are some things we enjoy on special teams but like offense and defense there are areas we need to improve.”

“We are back in conference play against a very strong opponent. We understand that we are in the championship game. At this point, all that means is we have another game on our schedule. We are looking to prepare and play well for the remainder of our schedule. We expect Ole Miss to be a competitive game, certainly it was last year. We understand that we will get there best shot and we look forward to that. Our football team is use to being in a competitive game as of late. We enjoy returning to conference play along those lines.”

“I know that Ole Miss has not won an SEC game this year but they played Florida and Auburn extremely well. We want to make sure we are ready for their very best.”

“On offense their running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is averaging just about 100 yards a game. He is a very talented back that runs hard and strong. Their quarterback Seth Adams went out, competed and won himself a job. He throws the ball well and has several deep threats that they go to on occasion.”

“Defensively, they will have the traditional zone dog to mix and match with quality stunts. They have very nice strategy and talent there.”

“We understand its Ole Miss and they haven’t won an SEC game but we look forward to that competition. We know it is going to be a tight game and we look forward to playing it.”

On if he is weary of playing Ole Miss knowing how eager they are to get a conference win…
“I am certain that we will see their very best effort. They are running short of time. Our football team has goals and we are applying our trade. Certainly it will be an opportunity for us to play better than we have.”

On if clinching the SEC Western Division affect the team’s focus…
“There are so many far-reaching opportunities for this football team. Everything that we set for us in August still remains. We want to play for those goals and that will affect every game that we have left. You will see us prepare and play with great effort in every game that we play.”

“We have been highly-ranked all year. Being in the (SEC) Championship game puts you in a position where if you achieve victory, you can still gain something. We enjoy the fact that we are the western division representative but we have not accomplished what we have set to accomplish yet. We understand that you have to win each game that you are playing. There is a lot left for us to play for. No one in our building is sitting back and accepting congratulations or enjoying the position. Everything we get from this point forward has to be earned.”

On the performance of QB Matt Flynn so far this season…
“We expected him to have a strong season and he is having a strong season. The youth at the wide receiver position is playing a little more veteran football. There is a little more rhythm there. Occasionally that misfires. I think you saw that at least once on Saturday. All in all, if they continue the work habits that they have displayed, then that chemistry with the quarterback will be there.”

On how having so many offensive weapons makes his team hard to defend…
Early Doucet only caught three balls in the last game but his return has certainly been a catalos for our receiving core. When you control the football and the opponent has a real concern to defend that part of your game, then running the football is just so much more efficient. It just makes it all work. With the experience that the receiving core is getting week in and week out, along with our talent in the backfield, it appears the offense is doing the things it needs to do to compete and compete with an advantage.”

On WR Brandon LaFell’s improved play as of late…
“He is a veteran receiver and knows what to do. He has good ball skills and can make the defender miss. It is important for him to be a key part in our game plan every Saturday.”

On if he has grown personally from his team having so much success…
“I probably throw myself in with what my team has experienced. That No. 1 spot is a compliment to the team but all the work is still in front of us. I certainly understand the pitfalls of being highly-ranked and our believe our team does as well. I don’t think there has been much change in me. I understand what I need to do and I point at the task at hand.”

On the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry…
“It has always been the responsibility of the teams that play to match each other’s intensity. I think that anytime that you take the field with LSU that is going to be an issue. In the past, when this game has become competitive, it is then where you find out how competitive this team can be. I think that showed in the back end of last year’s game. We have to take the field and play fast. We understand that we are going to get their best shot and that they are going to play as spirited as they can. It will be determined by how LSU plays.”

On if the opportunity to play for a national championship takes away from the goals they have already accomplished…
“I think the joy is for after the season. I think when you are playing to accomplish goals and those goals are still active, you are looking at this Saturday and preparing for victory. I think there is joy in preparing and joy in the position that you have. It is not a type of joy where you sit back and pat each other on the back. Those things are never enjoyed, except with the play at the time that you accomplish those goals. We plan to play well against Ole Miss and our next opponent. At some point in time, we will get in a game with championship implications and it is those moments that you enjoy the most.”

On if he feels Kansas is ranked where they should be…
“It is hard for me to plot where other teams, that I don’t play regularly or see on film, should be. It appears to me that they have a very capable quarterback (Todd Reesing). I have not watched a quarter of their play. It would be hard for me to tell you where they fit. If we do the things we are capable of and get to the back end of this thing with a chance to play for the national title, which is all that we are trying to get done. We are not trying to pass judgment on any team. We are just looking at Ole Miss and trying to improve. We have one more game, then an SEC Championship game and then we will see where we stand. That is the lay of the land. We can’t fast forward or say ?Will we get there?’ or “Will we do this?’ because it is one step at a time. If you look beyond that, then you can make a mistake.”

On PK Colt David
“He has always been dependable in my eyes. I don’t know that more dependable is the key. If you look at the field goals we have asked him to kick and the distances, you can see that we have confidence in his ability. I think he is having a great year. This team needs him to have that style of a year. He is coming through for them. He outscored our opponent last week. It is nice to have a guy come out on the field and come through for you.”

On the possibility of playing without LB Darry Beckwith
“I felt like Jacob Cutrera had a big game (Louisiana Tech.) He played well, just like we expected. He has played a lot of football and it was nice for him to get a full game under his belt going in to this contest. I would be very comfortable with him if he started in Darry’s spot. I can tell you that Darry is fighting like heck to get back. He will run and work today. It is tough for me to say when and how he will play but I can tell you Darry Beckwith is doing everything he can to get back on the field.”

On how first-year starters Lyle Hitt, Carnell Stewart and Curtis Taylor have done so far…
“Anytime that you turn to a first-time starter, it is important that he not only has the ability but that he continues to improve. Curtis Taylor exemplifies that. He continues to play better and improve. The right side of our line, Carnell Stewart and Lyle Hitt, are the same style. They are coming and we need them to for us to finish the year the way we like.”

On fans using the phrase “Fear the Hat” and when should you fear the hat…
“Only if the hat is coming at you. I have no reason to fear the hat. I put it on my head everyday. I think the hat comes with a pretty quality football team. I don’t think it has a lot to do with the hat.”

On the fans singing him “Happy Birthday” after the game…
 “I have never had people sing me “Happy Birthday” in a stadium. The idea that the student section sang me “Happy Birthday” will be a fond memory for a lifetime.”