Week 7: 'Lunch with Les'

Wing's taunt, Chavis' return to Rocky Top, Ford's role are hot topics in Monday's media session

A busy day at the LSU football complex finally wound down with player interviews Monday night as the No. 1-ranked Tigers began prep work for their first road trip to Tennessee since 2006.

 

LSU coach Les Miles kicked the day off with his weekly ‘Lunch with Les’ question-and-answer session and he was in a jovial mood for the occasion.

 

Miles began his session by taking a stab at correcting his latest malapropism – the butchery of the phrase faux pas after Saturday’s 41-11 triumph against Florida.

 

In his postgame media session, Miles turned faux pas into “fu pas,” even trying to spell it by inserting an h.

 

He again transposed the two phrases – the real one and his creation – a few times Monday while trying to self-translate.

 

Then it was on to more serious business and here are some highlights from his half-hour Q&A.

 

Wing rewind

The infamous Brad Wing taunting penalty gained a second life Monday as talking heads around the country sunk their claws into the controversial call that took an LSU touchdown off the scoreboard.

 

Miles maintained his hard-core stance on the flag, but also defended his quirky punter to a degree.

 

“As the coach if the rule is in place I’m going to coach it hard and I do understand why (it was called),” Miles said. “If you look at it from one perspective, how would you feel about it if it were your son when that guy decides to taunt you?

 

“You look at what Brad Wing did. I don’t know if it wasn’t a little more joy than taunting. I’m not certain it was flagrant in any way. That said when you’re an official, you’ve got to make the call for everybody and it’s not just how you would like it officiated. I think he threw the flag at the right time.”

 

Ford’s sudden disappearance

Sophomore Michael Ford had seemed to turn the corner in the first four games with 300 rushing yards and six touchdowns, but he carried the ball only nine times for 22 yards against Kentucky and then got it just once for 2 yards in the rout of Florida.

 


Michael Ford: In his coach's doghouse?

In the UK game, Ford botched a toss play – a major red flag for any back who plays for Miles.

 

Asked about Ford’s sudden drop in playing time, Miles wouldn’t pin it all on the fumble, but he didn’t deny it, either.

 

“I don’t know that that’s the specific reason for Michael Ford in any way,” Miles said. “It’s awfully important to our team that the person that we entrust the responsibility to carry the football return it to the team. Irrespective of the gain or the loss, that’s our ball. It’s a basic responsibility. … It’s not something that escapes us in any day including game day.”

 

Alfred Blue has stepped in as the No. 2 tailback the last two weeks and has fared well, with 30 carries for 145 yards in the two games. Blue is also a better blocker in pass protection and has carved a niche as a special-teams bandit.

 

Good ol’ Rocky Top

LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis will coach at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium for the first time from the opponent sideline Saturday.

 

Chavis played for the Volunteers in the late 1970s and spent 20 years in Knoxville as an assistant coach under Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer.


John Chavis: Back in familiar territory

 

At Chavis’ request, he won’t speak to the media this week about his time at Tennessee. Miles didn’t hesitate, though.

 

“I can tell you that John Chavis is a tremendously loyal person, and a very loyal supporter and advocate of Tennessee,” Miles said. “Certainly he’s maintained relationships back there and roots for them when they’re not playing LSU.

 

“He’ll want to represent his past by being an excellent defensive coordinator against Tennessee this coming Saturday.”

 

No predictability

With senior Jordan Jefferson slowly working his way back into a more prominent role, the LSU offense is starting to resemble a two-quarterback system.

 

If that continues to take root, Miles made it clear there will be a conscious effort to make sure the Tigers don’t become predictable.

 

Jefferson has mostly run the ball himself or handed off in his sporadic playing time the last two games, although he did complete 3-of-4 passes for 61 yards against the Gators.

 

Meanwhile, Lee has two rushing carries to his credit for -15 yards.

 

“We’re going to able to run it or throw it with either quarterback in the game; it doesn’t make any difference,” Miles said. “Certainly our offense is handled well by both quarterbacks. It just means that you can’t gang up on certain skills that Jordan Jefferson has with his feet just because he’s in the game. We’re going to throw the ball and throw the ball with balance like we always have.”

 

Counts the same

Anybody remember how the Tennessee game ended last season? Thought so.

 


Wacky ending last season still counted as a win.

That scab was picked a few times Monday and Miles handled it well until a question came up about whether or not he had been able to enjoy the wacky 16-14 triumph – which was infamously a loss on one snap, a victory on the next.

 

“Victory is victory any way you cut it,” Miles said with emotion. “I can tell you the enjoyment I had after that game was significant with the feel of the victory. I don’t know if there was a bad taste that way in any way. We did the things that we needed to do in unusual circumstances to get victory. And dad gone it if I didn’t enjoy it and I’m going to stay that way.”

 

Quietly effective

Senior safety Brandon Taylor is the least heralded of the Tigers’ talented five-man secondary, but his value isn’t lost on his coach.

 

After recovering from a Lisfranc foot injury suffered last season against Alabama, Taylor came back to fall camp at full speed – perhaps even a little faster – and hasn’t missed a step since.

 

Instead He ranks second on the team with 34 tackles and has swiped two passes and broken up four others.

 

“Nobody forgets about him in our building,” Miles said. “He’s veteran now, he’s seldom out of place and in position to make key plays. He’s not only a very fierce tackler, he’s also a guy who understands how to cover the pass. He’s very important to that secondary.”

 

Lonergan on the mend

Center P.J. Lonergan is questionable for Saturday’s game after he left the win over Florida with assistance with an injury to his left ankle.

 


T-Bob Hebert: Back in the middle of the o-line

Lonergan was in a walking boot Monday when he walked past the gathered media.

 

“I don’t expect him to go (Monday),” Miles said. “I think (Tuesday) or Wednesday is certainly the day. The good news is, it doesn’t appear to be a very, very bad ankle sprain.”

 

Fifth-year senior T-Bob Hebert took over at center in Lonergan’s place after missing the Kentucky game with a sore knee.

 

Not listening, thanks

With most of the college football universe already chattering about a looming No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup when the Tigers travel to Alabama on Nov. 5, Miles isn’t immune to the talk.

 

Last week on a national radio show he asked about the Crimson Tide and playfully chided the host.

 

All kidding aside, though, he said Monday he and his team aren’t thinking about anything but Tennessee this week.

 

“The good news is, nobody has had to really focus our team on anybody but the next opponent,” he said. “That’s the good thing about this conference. All you have to do is show the film and you see we’re facing a quality opponent every week. We know we need to prepare to get victory. I hear the talk, but I promise you, that talk about anybody but the very next opponent doesn’t exist in our building. We talk about the improvements we need to make in order to accomplish our goals against the next opponent. … That buzz doesn’t take place in our building.”



Monday chat transcript

VIDEO: Lee on Tennessee, offensive changes

Week 7: My AP Top 25 ballot

'In Matt we trust'

VIDEO: Dooley at Monday press conference



Tiger Blitz Top Stories

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