Wednesday means it’s time for the SEC coaches teleconference.
Here are some thought and notes from the two coaches.
--- A new week meant more new questions from media outside the LSU program about the Tigers’ quarterback position, especially after Jordan Jefferson provided a spark with his arm in a 41-11 victory against Florida with 61 yards and a touchdown.
No change as far as Miles is concerned, though.
"There's the view of Jarrett Lee is our starter and there are bits and pieces of game plan that Jordan Jefferson is best for,” Miles said. “Kind of depending on the opponent and the situation you might dial his number."
“Both guys are doing a great job. They’re both competing. They both want the opportunity to play all the snaps, and that’s just what you want from a first and second-team guy.”
Dooley was asked if he’d seen anything different in the Tigers’ offense his season. Remember, he has coached against LSU the last two seasons, 2009 when he was at Louisiana Tech and last season in his debut season with the Vols.
Lee was prominent in both games. He made his only start of the 2009 campaign against Tech and struggled, but bounced back to play a key role in LSU’s fourth-quarter rally last season.
“What Jarrett has shown is the value of experience and a lot of repetition,” Dooley said. “I know he was criticized earlier in his career, and I think it’s a real tribute to his character, the perseverance he’s showed and the work ethic he’s showed, and it’s paid off for him because he’s playing great football right now.”
--- The no night SEC games at Tiger Stadium was a theme with Miles as well.
When CBS snared the Auburn game on Oct. 22 for its 2:30 p.m. spot, that assured LSU of no league games at night this season for the first time since 1935.
If ESPN opts to show the Western Kentucky game in an early slot, the Tigers may wind up with only one home night game in 2011.
“We miss it,” Miles said. “We certainly didn’t expect it.
“There’s a lot of magic in that stadium. It’ a night-time environment that’s exciting and it’s special. Not to experience that for the season is a little frustrating.”
As much as Miles and LSU fans might crave a night game, he pointed out that atmosphere is present regardless what time of day it is.
“When you have the environment we had last week (against Florida), it’s a special place day or night,” he said.
--- The John Chavis reunion topic was brought up.
Miles has spoken on Chavis’ behalf this week as the LSU defensive coordinator has declined to comment on his first trip to Neyland with an opponent after spending four years there as a player and 20 an assistant coach.
After speaking in glowing terms of Chavis, saying “He’s really just what we needed,” Miles conceded this will be an emotional week for the Tigers’ DC.
“He really enjoyed his time at Tennessee and this is going to be an emotional game for him,” Miles said.
“I can remember playing against his defenses when I was at LSU and you felt his presence across the field. You just knew he was a big part of any team that he was representing. He took an identity when he wore those colors that he will reminisce about and feel some real strong emotion.”
--- Dooley has been in Chavis’ shoes – a former LSU assistant coming into Tiger Stadium the last seasons.
He was the recruiting coordinator early in Nick Saban’s tenure when the roster that won the 2003 BCS national championship was built. Now Dooley says he sees a lot of the same attributes in the 2011 Tigers.
“Since ’03 LSU has looked the same every year when you turn on the film,” Dooley said. “Just incredible talent across the board. The defense’s speed and physicality is as good as anybody in the country. The playmakers on offense are as good as anybody in the country.
“This looks like one of their best offense that they’ve had, and when you combine an offense like this with the defense that they’ve had, what you get is a team that’s ranked No. 1 in the country.”
--- Tennessee will be without starting quarterback Tyler Bray, who leads the SEC with 315.8 passing yards a game and 14 TD passes.
Bray broke his right thumb against Georgia and is out 4-6 weeks. In his place, senior Matt Simms will get the start and that’s not an unfamiliar site for the Vols or the LSU defense.
“Early on it was certainly a blow to the spirit, any time you lose a guy like we lost,” Dooley said. “But as the days go on you realize that there’s no sense in sticking your head down and feeling sorry for yourself. You have to dust off your pants, you got get up and start being solution-oriented.
“Everybody’s going to rally around Matt and we’re going to go out there and play the best we can that’s all you can do.”
What Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney won’t do is retool the offense with Simms, who started eight games in 2010 and passed for 1,460 yards.
He started against the Tigers last season and completed 12-of-23 passes for 121 yards. He was sacked five times.
“In our situation, the good news is Matt has a lot of experience, and when you’re about to go play the best team in the country, we certainly would rather our No. 2 go in whose got some game experience and been around the block than a new one who’s got to start it out from scratch. Hopefully that will give us a chance and we’ll see how he does.
“We’re going to run our plays. We do what we do just like a lot of teas. We’re not experienced enough to go out there and reshape an entire game plan. We’re going to run our plays and we hope all 11 guys are executing and hopefully that will give us a chance.”
--- Besides Bray, Tennessee’s offense may also have to operate without starting tailback Tauren Pool, who is questionable with a hamstring injury.
Poole leads the Vols with 325 rushing yards, but was slowed against Georgia and gained only 7 yards on seven carries.
Dooley said the senior back is expected to play Saturday, but has been limited in practice. Freshman Marlin Lane would get the starting call if Poole can’t go.
With or without Poole, Tennessee has been held to negative rushing totals by the first two SEC foes it has faced – -9 against Florida on 21 attempts and -20 on 23 tries last week.
The Vols offensive line has an even bigger challenge this week against one of the two ferocious defenses it will face. Not much relief in sight, either, as Tennessee visits Alabama the following week.
“I just want those guys to play with aggression and not think too much, because if you’re thinking against these guys you’re going to get absolutely annihilated at the line of scrimmage,” Dooley said. “This is as quick and as active and as powerful a defensive front as there is out there. They’ve dominated every team they’ve played, so we just gotta go out there and play fast, play to our best and we’ll see if we can hold up.”
--- In the wake of Stephen Garcia’s dismissal from the South Carolina program, Miles was asked how he handled a similar situation with Ryan Perrilloux after the 2007 season.
“It’s a difficult thing because what you continue to hope and communicate effectively is these are the choices you have to make as opposed to those that you have made,” Miles said. “There’s an understanding and a want to correct the path.
“Every coach extends as many opportunities to that player as he possibly can because you see that great potential in him as a player and a person. I have no magic there I promise you. I’m no better equipped to make those decisions long distance than I was here. At some point and time the player is who he is or he adjusts and complies and becomes a greater part of your team.”
Hebert embraces versatile role on OL Looking back helps Tigers move forward Opportunity knocks All about the attitude Miles before Tennessee Defense talks Tennessee Tigers remember 2010 Tennessee game Tigers offense preps for Volunteers Dooley talks LSU Vol assistants go over LSU Wilcox's defense must be ready Hebert embraces versatile role on OL Looking back helps Tigers move forward Opportunity knocks All about the attitude
Looking back helps Tigers move forward Opportunity knocks All about the attitude Miles before Tennessee Defense talks Tennessee Tigers remember 2010 Tennessee game Tigers offense preps for Volunteers Dooley talks LSU Vol assistants go over LSU Wilcox's defense must be ready Hebert embraces versatile role on OL Looking back helps Tigers move forward Opportunity knocks All about the attitude
Opportunity knocks All about the attitude Miles before Tennessee Defense talks Tennessee Tigers remember 2010 Tennessee game Tigers offense preps for Volunteers Dooley talks LSU Vol assistants go over LSU Wilcox's defense must be ready Hebert embraces versatile role on OL Looking back helps Tigers move forward Opportunity knocks All about the attitude
Opportunity knocks All about the attitude
Opportunity knocks All about the attitude
All about the attitude