LSU is off to a 3-0 start, but that doesn’t mean that Miles is ready to say that his team has looked the part of perfect.
“We are not there; we are not in any way happy at the position we are at,” he said.
In their close call against North Carolina, the Tigers left the Georgia Dome knowing that improvement was needed across the board.
The defense gave up 412 yards through the air. The Tigers only passed for 151 yards, and the unit didn’t manage a point beyond the first two quarters. And despite 257 return yards from Patrick Peterson, special teams missed a perfect mark when Josh Jasper couldn’t convert the only field goal he was called upon for.
Two weeks later, improvement is evident. Just not across the board.
The defense, currently ranked among the top-25 in most of the major statistical categories, allowed only a field goal to Vanderbilt and touchdown to Mississippi State. The secondary made their biggest mark with five interceptions against the Bulldogs, and kicker Josh Jasper found redemption from his opening miss by converting on his next seven attempts, including an LSU-record five field goal game last Saturday.
The offense, specifically the passing game, is still searching for their breakout moment.
Jordan Jefferson was 8-of-20 for 96 yards and an interception in the conference opener against the Commodores. On Saturday his passer rating improved, but Jefferson was still short of the 100-yard mark and without a throwing touchdown.
No matter, don’t expect a Jarrett Lee-sighting any time soon. While this team hasn’t truly crafted their offensive identity, it won’t turn into a unit driven by a high-powered passing attack, and Miles is confident Jefferson can handle the job asked of the team’s starting name under center.
On a night when Jefferson was asked to record his fewest number of attempts this season, 10-of-16 passing, 97 yards and no turnovers was enough to help the Tigers get the 22-point SEC win.
“(Jordan) continued to do the things we asked him to do,” Miles said. “We are doing the things that we need to do to ensure victory; we are playing great defense and making sure we are doing the right things with the ball on the offensive side and playing quality special teams.
“If our defense continues to play like that and we continue to get turnovers, our football team will have the kind of year that we will all look forward to.”
LSU gets one of their biggest early-season tests this weekend with West Virginia, a Big East opponent currently ranked No. 22 by the AP and No. 21 by USA Today.
The Mountaineers (3-0) defense has allowed just 12.7 yards through three games, a mark good for ninth-best in the country. On offense, quarterback Geno Smith and running back Noel Devine have helped push the mark for average yards per game over 400.
“Divine is a tremendous running back … you will see that he was one of the best that we have played,” Miles said. “Smith is a very athletic guy and can throw the ball well. He has thrown for 800 yards and seven touchdowns so far in a very short season, so they are very talented.”
The teams are set for an 8 p.m. CST kickoff in Death Valley this Saturday.