LSU coach Les Miles stood in front of the media Tuesday for the first time since an emotional and tense mea culpa three days earlier and juggled the questions and answers that have suddenly consumed his program since an early-morning fight that sent four men to the hospital and four Tigers to meet with Baton Rouge Police Department investigators.
Subdued and careful as he spoke, Miles talked about the investigation hovering over his No. 4-ranked team with the season 11 days away and he also touched on the final scrimmage of pre-season camp.
Here’s a breakdown of what Miles was asked and how he answered in his session with the media.
“I’m aware of today’s developments. I recognize that four players have been interviewed by the police department. Meanwhile they’re cooperating very fully.
“Several players visited with the police about events what happened the other night. The investigation continues, it’s ongoing and we’ll certainly continue to help the process.”
On his concerns about how long the investigation might take:
“There’s a bunch of considerations that we’re not discussing at this point. We want to do justice to any ongoing investigation. We want to make sure our team understands the severity of the issue. We’re concerned about the time frame but I think there’s some other considerations as well as whatever the time frame might be.”
On whether Tuesday’s meeting with the police cleared any of the four players:
“I think that there are some guys that they’re interviewing that are absolutely for information more than if they were really involved.”
On the possibility of other players being asked to speak to police about the incident:
“I don’t know if they’re clearly just witnesses. I’ll certainly let the police determine that. The severity of other people’s involvement is really tough to speculate on at this point. I don’t know really know where that would go.”
On the mood of practice since the fight:
“There’s a little bit more seriousness in our tone. I think light laughter is not something that’s happening too much around the practice field. And that hurts your preparation ultimately. If you like to work hard and smile, it hurts you.”
“We’re trying to go through a process where we’re going to take punishment and talk about punishment, and then at some point and time we’re going to be done with punishment that would be team punishment and then really look at what would be individual circumstances.”
On how the coaches are preparing the team or a different offensive game plan in case any of the four implicated players are suspended:
“We’re preparing to play those guys who would expect to play. We’re preparing as if a happenstance would occur. The information that’s forthcoming will certainly determine our course.”
“We have diversity in our attack and that’s the good news. We’re not really having to reconstruct (a game plan). We’ll maybe just lean on pieces more than others.”
On whether he could suspend players before the legal ramifications are known completely:
“Correct. If I knew specifics that were fundamentally defined, without question I would make my determination before that.”
On Tuesday’s scrimmage:
“I felt like today’s practice was a very good one. Our guys are a little weighed down by this. We all are. They looked forward to today’s practice.”
“Today’s practice was against Oregon and Oregon looks. It was very crisp. We tackled live for half of it, went thud for half of it and got a lot of reps.”
Miles said the offense passed for 277 yards and ran for 250. He didn’t specify stats on the quarterbacks.
On any depth chart changes in the wake of the fight:
“The interesting thing is we’re really in position to have competition at a number of spots and we’re planning to go as we would normally. We have some diversity at several positions and I think that we’ve done that. I think that’s how we’ve always prepared.”
On how the snaps were divided at quarterback between Jefferson and Jarrett Lee:
(Note: He said because it was a scrimmage, those two split the first-team reps.)
“I think (Lee) got half of the first-team reps, and that’s what he would’ve kind of looked forward to anyway.”
On if he worries about this off-field problem being divisive to the community:
“I hope it’s not divisive for the community. All I can tell you is the team is remorseful. There’s a great number of guys in here that did nothing – that were in their beds and doing the right things. And then there are those guys who were really not involved who were there. For that, this team is going to pay a terrible price. Certainly again this is a team that is followed so closely by people that love it. I hope that it does become a divisive piece. I can only tell you that our guys are sick about it and they they’re looking to make restitution as best as they can.”
On freshman offensive lineman La’El Collins:
“He had a nice scrimmage today. He really did. He came off the football well and ran with what the first team in a rotation.”
(He also was non-committal on whether senior left guard Josh Dworaczyk will be ready to play against Oregon.)
On what he’s most disappointed in and how his team will move forward:
“There’s a lot of things that I’m disappointed in.”
“The thing that I take comfort in is that I’ve got a very good group of men, guys that work hard that are a little sick in their stomach right now and will work hard to make amends.”