Still calm and collect for a man who’s about to coach in the first 1-vs.-2 regular-season showdown in SEC history, Miles touched on several topics.
--- With a battle looming against one of the best defenses in the country, Miles was asked how his offense will manage if/when it gets bogged down and faces some adversity – three-and-outs in particular.
“I can’t imagine they’re not going to play their game,” he said. “Any time you line up against quality defense, you’re going to work to get your yards. We’ve been in enough of those games to understand that’s going to happen. We’re not to going to lose poise. I think they’ll persevere. The key is to not have many of those.”
--- For the first time since the season began, No. 1 LSU heads into a game close to full health.
Miles said defensive end Kendrick Adams is ready to play after missing the Auburn game with a sprained knee. He also said safety Craig Loston is available. Photos of Loston with his wrist in a cast have surfaced recently.
The best news is on the offensive line where center P.J. Lonergan will return to action after missing the last two games.
With Lonergan back, LSU’s offensive line from the season opener is back intact, with T-Bob Hebert poised to start at left guard. If he doesn’t, Will Blackwell will slide to the left side and Josh Williford will start at right guard.
Asked what the starting o-line will be, Miles said “I don’t know. We’re gonna have to see how that all fits. We’ve practiced T-Bob in a lot of spots.”
--- As always, LSU’s power running game will be the main course on the offensive menu, but grinding out yards against a Bama defense allowing opponents only 44.9 yards a game on the ground and 1.7 yards per carry might require a little extra bulk.
So it makes sense that fullbacks James Stampley and J.C. Copeland might be a little busier than usual in two-back sets.
“We’ll operate out of several sub groups,” Miles said. “We’ve been in two-back in every game.”
Miles also said Stampley is still the starter, although Copeland played a much more prominent role against Auburn.
--- Being involved in a historical rivalry is nothing new to Miles.
He was a Michigan guard during the heart of the ‘10-Year War,’ the stretch from the late 1960s to the late 70s when Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler matched wits with Ohio State counterpart Woody Hayes.
Miles said he sees some similarities in what the LSU-Alabama rivalry has become the last five seasons.
“It’s a tremendously competitive game,” he said. “It’s one where our guys and their guys certainly want to play well and come into it with the best intentions and that would be similar to any great rivalry. I suspect that regionally this game is one that is probably celebrated in the South. There’s a lot of people that crossed borders that root for the Tigers and Alabama that will be very, very interested in this game.
--- Not surprisingly, whatever Miles plans on saying to his team before it takes the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium won’t be scripted.
Like most of what Miles does, he’ll shoot from the hip and with his heart.
“I’ll kinda give thought to that when I get to it,” Miles said.