Alleva, Miles Address Media on Monday; Watch Now

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Alleva, Miles Address Media on Monday; Watch Now

BATON ROUGE — LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva and Football Head Coach Les Miles each addressed the media on Monday at the football weekly press conference. Alleva spoke about preparations for Hurricane Ike, while Miles previewed this week’s opponent, North Texas.

LSU Football Press Luncheon
September 8, 2008

LSU Director of Athletics Joe Alleva

Opening statement…
“Thanks for being here. First off, our No. 1 priority is to play the game. We want to play the game. No 2, we want to play the game in Tiger Stadium, but that may be out of my control. I’ve become a meteorologist here lately. All I do is watch the Weather Channel and the National Hurricane channel. We have explored other options. We have to do that. We have to look at other venues that are possible for this game. We’ve looked at Dallas. We’ve talked to Shreveport. We’ve talked to Atlanta. We’ve talked to New Orleans, but if this storm is coming (Hurricane Ike), I don’t know if going to New Orleans is a very good idea.

“At this point, those are the options and what we have looked at. I want to reiterate, though, that our No. 1 priority is to try to play the game, and No. 2 is we would like to play it in Tiger Stadium. We will continue to monitor the storm this week. I would hope that by Wednesday we’ll have a decision on where we’re going to play because if we’re not going to play here, we need to let the other venue and the other team know where we’re going. By Wednesday, hopefully we’ll have a decision on where we’re going to play. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Ike dissipates.”

LSU Head Coach Les Miles

Opening Statement…
“I’m glad to be back. I’m glad there is a resemblance of routine. I’m glad to see some familiar faces and that we’re in game week. I hope that personally you guys have electricity and that your families are not dealing with real hardship like what can be a good portion of the state. I’d like to publicly say to our leadership ? Governor Bobby Jindal, Chancellor Dr. Michael Martin and Joe Alleva ? that we understand extraordinary times, and we are with them. Whatever they need us to do, we’ll do. I think it’s important for all of us to understand that. They are making calls that are not necessarily convenient but are safe, and again, I’m for that.

“When you look at the options when it comes to the North Texas game, the key option to that one is to play. I’m very comfortable that our athletic director has that priority in mind and that he is doing everything he can to make sure that happens. I hope that (Hurricane) Ike goes in another direction, certainly not around people, and just kind of fizzles. Lack of that, if it becomes close, I’m certain that we have a quality contingency plan that will allow us to play, and that’s what our team needs. I know this, that our football team missed an opportunity to play a game last Saturday, and the things that we needed to get accomplished were that we needed to continue to advance our football: offense, defense and special teams.

“Our young linebackers needed to make the checks. Our special teams’ guys needed to be put in situations and make plays. Our offense needed to be managed. The clock needed to be managed by our quarterbacks. We did all that Thursday, just so you know. Everything that we could have gotten accomplished in a game, we weren’t able to get as accomplished certainly as a game situation, but we got it accomplished on Thursday. The position that we’re in right now is, in my opinion, a pretty good one. We’re healthy. We’re coming off a week where we’ve taken a weekend off, and our guys have gone home to be with their families and help get their families squared away along with their personal lives. Whatever things they could do to address personal issues, they’ve done.

“Our football coaches spent the weekend home, some of which involved cutting wood, and we have fireplace wood for several winters now. I think, at this point, we’re all looking forward to starting the routine and this being Monday, what would be on the agenda as we prepare for North Texas. I think the time off will get some guys back. I think you’ll look forward to seeing (Defensive tackle) Charles Alexander playing. I think Colt David, who had a little nick in his foot, is back. I think, predominately, our team is healthy with the exception of Danny McCray. With the potential to be back in Tiger Stadium, I look forward to that. I think our football team does as well.

“I can tell you, this North Texas football team, though they’ve lost two times, is a very capable team. Todd Dodge, their coach, made his acquaintance when I was recruiting in that North Texas area and South Lake Carroll (High School). He runs a great program and ran a great program and a very successful program, one that, off-knowledge, won several state championships and two national championships at the high school division. I know that they are really developing a program that the North Texas alumni and fans can be very proud of. I also know that team has won. In the Sunbelt conference, they have won four titles, I recall, from 2001-04 or in that area. Any time that you have a football team that can recruit in North Texas, a very talented area, and any time that you have a football team that has a tradition of winning and understands what winning is all about. Temporary setbacks are certain issues they can overcome, and I promise you that we will be challenged by this team. The key is what they’ve done to a very capable Tulsa team. They put 450 yards on Tulsa offensively. I can tell you that that is a very capable offense. What that will do is challenge our offense to be as capable as offenses that have faced them, and that will be the challenge.

“As we prepare and go forward from here, it won’t make any difference who we’re playing. We have to play four quality quarters of football to develop. Our football team needs to get better, and we’re fortunate to have a game we can look forward to and point to.”

On the hurricane…
“I don’t think that there’s anything that is as distasteful as a natural disaster that hits our area and can become routine. In many ways, the inconvenience and the distress to the state are not routine, but certainly, we’ve been through enough storms here where it’s something you learn about and understand how to operate. I think our team, players and coaches, have benefitted from the (Hurricanes) Rita and Katrina issues. We understand that it’s not a pleasant time, but it is one that we can come together as a team and as a family and enjoy an unusual circumstance and make the best of it. I think we’ve done that in the past, and I think we’ve done that again in the short term here.

“What I did is I took my family to work with me, and they stayed at work with me until Thursday or so. Then, they went home and cleaned up. I went recruiting, and they went to Houston, and I spent the weekend in Houston with them and came back Sunday as did they. They’re off to school today. I don’t know if there were some fun things around the Football Operations building like sleeping on couches and air mattresses that deflated. There were some fun times, to be honest with you. Again, you try to make the best of an unusual situation, but there were four Miles’ on my couch at one time all snoring, so it was unusual.”

On if he has a preference on game sites if the game can’t go in Tiger Stadium…
“I would be for playing in this state in anyway that we could. It is certainly our athletic director’s call, and I know his priorities are mine, so I know that he’s working hard to make it Tiger Stadium or this state.”

On if it’s a benefit to play out of state…
“Certainly, if we’re not allowed to play in the confines of Tiger Stadium or in this state, we would look at boarding a plane and making a like example to do when you go to Auburn. Obviously, that would be the advantage of travel.”

On the challenges of preparing for an undisclosed game site…
“Right now, they (players) are in class, and they should be considering class and doing work academically and pursuing our practice schedule, not worrying about where we play it. The opportunity to board a plane or a bus, a bus on Friday or a plane on Thursday night is something we’ll worry about when we get there. I don’t think that’s an issue. I think that they will be very fundamentally comforted with the idea that there is a game to look forward to at the back end of this week.”

On what he’s learned from past situations in order to prepare for this week…
“It’s interesting. I really believe that the want to play, the ability to play, the ability to take distraction and put it on the back burner, is a positive characteristic of football, and it is one that, in this issue, with a lot to think about on the perimeter like if we play it, where we play it, the next storm, how my family is doing, if we have electricity and what the future brings. When we put that all on the back burner and say, ?Listen, for the next two and a half hours, I’m going to practice football.’ I think there’s a real comfort or an almost spiritual comfort with working hard and preparing for the future and focusing on pursuing excellence. I think our guys have done that, and I think they will continue to do that. I think that is something that is maybe easier done, surrounding a game like this.”

On the benefits of possibly playing in Texas… 
“If we play in Texas, we look forward to that being a home game and therefore, being able to invite prospects from that area to that game. That would obviously be an advantage to us playing in Texas. I think we’ve looked at the fact that we recruit so strongly there, and there are so many families that we have on our team who have natural ties to Texas. I think it’s a great idea. I think Dallas and Houston are both great locations for us to play.”

On who would play in Danny McCray‘s place if he can’t go…
“The rotation is if we have someone trained more at one spot and don’t move other guys. Chad Jones, for instance, is trained very specifically inside in those two substitutions. We may look to play another safety on the high side rather than move somebody out and have to train two new guys. Get Chad ready for that spot and train somebody inside. Let’s keep the same guy inside exactly like he is and really just exchange one for one. It could be Karnell Hatcher or a number of guys.”

On the veterans who were here during 2005 for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita…
“I think this is a little different one, too. I think Rita and Katrina, though it really affected our state and us peripherally and our off-the-field issues were dealing with other concerns and others concerns like those people who were more adversely affected than Baton Rouge. I think this one is dealing with more personal issues like electricity or family’s electricity and those things that surround this school. I think it’s a little more telling, maybe a little more wear on our team than what would be other situations.”

On not being able to keep the momentum going with the missed game…
“Certainly, that would have been the positive about playing last week. I really think that we played, though it was not exactly the same, the situations we put him in were similar to a game. We really touched at both quarterbacks in a much extended scrimmage on Thursday. They went through a number of situations including two minute no huddle and all kind of third down and long and third down and medium. They had to deal with specific the issues of a defense. I agree that ideally you would have liked to play, but that was over. We did the next best thing. We had a very extended scrimmage. I’d say 140 plays total maybe a little bit more including special teams. We teed it up at 2:30 and finished up around 6. It was a very long go. One in which the logistics of setting up game scenarios takes times, but we took it.”

On correcting mistakes and progress of team…
“I promise you there are a lot of things to work on. We need to improve in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. I promise this team understands there’s a lot to be corrected.”

On quarterbacks leaning too much on tight ends…
“We want to throw the ball down the field more than we did. I think it’s something that was not specific to our quarterbacks trying to force the balls. I think it was more specific to the calls, and now I think we’re ready to take the next step and throw the ball down the field.”

On Charles Scott‘s performance as well as other running backs’ performances against Appalachian State…
“I like Charles Scott in that game. I felt like he ran very physical. I feel like he had good vision for cuts. I enjoyed his performance. I liked 26 and 34: Murphy and Ridley. Both of them came onto the field and provided us with some excitement and some plays. (Keiland Williams) as well. I don’t think much has changed to the running back spot. I think more of the same can be expected.” 

On if the travel time would affect preparation for Saturday’s game against North Texas…
“Thursday night, there will be some things that we have to get accomplished, but they’ll be more administrative. How we’re set up is that Thursday night practice is a rehearsal practice. It’s not a strenuous practice, it’s situational. I think we’ll be ready to put the game plan on paper by Thursday night. The issue will be that we will be doing it on the road. That would be the only real issue.”

On what Richard Dickson brings to the tight end position and his leap over an Appalachian St. defender…
“He’s a guy who sees himself making big plays. He’s somebody that, no matter where he is on the field, will have an impact, whether it’s a block or a reception or whatever piece of the pie he can help contribute to; he’s going to be involved fully. He sees himself making plays like hurdling over guys, he sees himself going up in the air and getting that catch. The people who see it that way generally make some fantastic plays. Did he surprise me when he hurdled the guy? Yes it did.”