Miles, Chizik on SEC coaches call

Les Miles and Gene Chizik addressed the media on Wednesday's SEC Coaches Teleconference.

Opening statement from Les Miles

“Coming off the Tennessee experience, again another opportunity for us to be on the road, and our fans and friends traveled so well. We enjoyed the visit, a grand venue in Knoxville. I felt like our team did the things that they needed to do to enjoy victory.

“I felt like the defense played well enough. Certainly Mo Claiborne’s turnover really led to our first score and really got us going, and I felt like we closed the game out late running the football.

“We are looking forward to a very talented Auburn team. You watch them on film, they’re very talented, very capable, well prepared, well coached, and it’s going to be a great matchup. One we’ll look forward to, certainly. It’s another nationally televised game at 2:30, and the last time we were (in Tiger Stadium) at 2:30, it was a magnificent place to play, so we look forward to the day.”


On LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson’s chances of becoming a head coach in the future…

“I think there’s a number of guys on our staff who would make a great head coach. I think Frank Wilson is certainly one of them. He has a tremendous tie in the city of New Orleans. He’s a wonderful man, a family man. I don’t think there’s any question that his name should surface in relationship with very good head coaching jobs.”


On whether it’s unfair to Jarrett Lee to play Jordan Jefferson

“The key is what’s fair to the team and what’s right for the team … this is all about LSU football. As imperfect as I am, that’s going to be my call. It’s not having to do with critics and it’s not going to have to do with personality and what somebody seems is his due. I’ll make those calls and it will be in direct relationship to the team. And Jarrett Lee is very deserving. He’s had a great year and has done everything the team has asked him to do and will be my starter.”


On playing two quarterbacks…

“Everything is so specific to situations. I do recognize how wonderful it would be if you had Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or that great quarterback and you’d love to give him every snap cause he’s an advantage for you in every situation and every down and distance and every personnel group. I’m not ready to say that we have that guy.

“I think the guys that we have are spectacular and have ability in their own right. Certainly we have strengths when those guys are on the field and we’re going to expose those strengths when they go to the field, and I think other coaches deal with the same set of situations. If they have that spectacular quarterback, every coach would like to just turn the ball to one guy. It’s a very simplistic view, and when it’s best, it’s absolutely best. But it may be too simple, not giving your team all of the characteristics and strengths and skills it has to muster for victory. And for me, I’m going to look at that as an opportunity to play a position with advantage.”


On playing a second quarterback in case the first gets injured down the line...

“When you walk a guy out on the field regularly and he knows he’s playing, his preparation is true, and he knows he’s in it and suddenly you have a little more depth at that position. When you turn late in the second quarter or late in the third quarter and you say, ‘Okay here we are. This guy’s got to go in for us.’ How wonderful it is that he’s been prepared, knew that he was going to play and his mind is in it?

“He’s not really fastening his chin strap for the first time, and even in his preparation he’s ready to go into the game and knows what’s needed. I think it’s an advantage. It’s nice to keep your short reliever or your long reliever warmed up in the bullpen.”


Opening statement from Auburn coach Gene Chizik…

“We are excited to go down there and play another great SEC game. Our kids are looking forward to it. We have certainly a huge challenge in front of us with playing the No. 1 team in the country. It ought to be fun for us. We have had a great week of preparation so far and we will be looking forward to the trip.”


On Clint Moseley getting his first career start at quarterback…

“I think he is prepared for it. As far as being prepared mentally and feeling confident, I feel like he is exactly where he needs to be. Until you get in it, you never know what it’s really like. But it will be a great experience for him. We are very confident in him and his teammates are. We think it’s going to be a great first start for him. He’s definitely up to the task. He’s excited about it. The last two or three weeks have been really good weeks of practice. I think it’s going to be a great venue and a great opportunity for him and us.”


On Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s role on offense…

“I think it’s pretty apparent that he’s one of the guys we count on. He’s very versatile in terms of things he can do catching the football. He is a blocking tight end that we move around a lot. He can catch the football coming out of the backfield and catch the football running down the field vertically. He can do everything we need him to do. He can block the perimeter on some of our bubble screen passing game. He really wears a lot of hats. He’s a good football player.”


Would Lutzenkirchen be in conversation for Offensive MVP?

“Absolutely. Without any question. He’s meant a lot to our offense and has been very productive. Case in point South Carolina. He was in on a play that wasn’t designed to go to him. We throw an interception and he makes a tackle and strips the ball and gets the ball back. He’s always there to make a play.”


On running back Michael Dyer’s progress from year one to year two…

“I think he has definitely improved. His pass protection has improved, and he really needed to take that to a new level. I feel like he has become more of a physical runner. There are many times where he has had not much daylight, nowhere to run and hide, and he has hit north and south and gets his pads downhill and run the ball vertically, and that’s been something he has gotten better at. He’s running the ball more physically. It began with his pass protection, and on top of that he’s become a better back.


On leaning on Dyer more this season…

“We are going to do what we have to do to win. We have some other good players back there as well that bring something different to the table, but if he has to carry it 40 times a game, we have no hesitation to do that providing the defense is giving us those opportunities. We feel very confident that he can carry the ball as much as we want him to carry it. He can get the tough yards and he can also break the big ones. He’s becoming a more complete tailback.”


On finding an offensive identity…

“I would say we are still kind of in that mode. You self-evaluate every week. There were some areas we felt like we were strong at, and in the last two or three weeks it hasn’t grown at the rate in terms of production that we hoped it would.

“We are struggling a little bit offensively, there is no question about that. We will continue to look for things we do well. One thing we have to do is throw the ball vertically downfield better than we have. It is apparent people have been loading everyone up front. Hopefully we can do that a little better this week.”


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