LSU’s focus is on Arkansas, not on rematches or what lies ahead.
That was the message spun throughout LSU coach Les Miles’ answers Monday during his “Lunch with Les.”
And that focus is something Miles is looking forward to – not surprisingly considering how he always seems to approach the high-profile games.
“We’ll enjoy this game,” Miles said. “It’s a game of significance, not unlike some others ones we’ve been involved with. This will be another one. Our team seems to look forward to those kind games.”
While most of the Q&A focused on Arkansas, there were some loose ends from the Tigers’ 52-3 demolition of Ole Miss, some somber moments about two tragedies that indirectly touched Miles and a much lighter one about deep snapper Joel Crappell’s older-than-he is appearance.
Here are some highlights from Miles’ day:
On the death of Arkansas redshirt tight end Garrett Uekman – a former LSU recruit – and the plane crash that killed Oklahoma State women’s coach Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna. Miles said he left a message with Razorbacks’ coach Bobby Petrino:
“I really want to express my condolences in recognition of the death of tight Garrett Uekman, the loss of him to that Arkansas team and to his family.
“I wanted them to know that we share their pain and their grief.”
“I can also tell you that I was remiss not to mention it in the postgame Saturday that Oklahoma State lost two coaches in a plane crash. Those people are special to me that school is very special to me.”
On his decision to have third-string quarterback Zach Mettenberger take a knee four times from the 1-yard-line after Mettenberger ran 25 yards on a naked bootleg sweep with the Tigers ahead 52-3:
“I think Zach really just didn’t get the handoff there and decided that he needed to take it himself, considering that all the blocking was set up to the left. That being said, that put us in a position down in there pretty tight that did not allow us to necessarily just to run plays. The need then to make a decision do we want to score this touchdown or not was imminent on the 1-yard line.
“We had victory, frankly, we did not need to make that point any more. … Once the game’s decided, enough’s enough.”
“I really have given thought only to allowing them to be comfortable in their competition and relax and not have to deal with the scrutiny of the perimeter and really just plan to handle the plays that are called and enjoy the back end of their senior year.
“I’m sure that there will be plenty of time for them to talk in this season, but right now I just want them to focus on the games.”
On pulling freshman safety Ronald Martin’s redshirt 11 games into the season:
“We’re wanting him to have the opportunity to step onto the field and play and really give us some significant reps as we go forward.”
On what makes Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson so effective:
“He gets it out of his hand very quickly, makes real quality decisions, has all the abilities, makes all the throws.”
On the Razorbacks’ receivers:
“There’s a responsibility of the area that you play and certainly the possibility of the man you play. Those things effectively challenge any defense, spread the field and spread you a little thinner. Play your assignment, make sure you tackle crisply and play. I think we’ll be fine.”
On how the secondary will need to adjust if starting free safety Eric Reid and his backup, Craig Loston, are limited by injuries (he said he expects both to play, although he conceded it might take Reid a while):
“We’re certainly concerned about big plays in any secondary. We think that our guys will be back. We’re not lacked about the lack of experience there in any way. We’ve got a numbers of ways to go if we need. We’d like to think Reid will be back in the middle of the secondary.”
On Crappell, the former walk-on who is now on scholarship. Crappell is often teased for looking a little older than his 23 years:
“Joey came in and said ‘I’m just going to compete for this thing. Frankly, let’s go play.’ He stepped in and he was the backup snapper when he first arrived and continued to compete and got better and made the position his.
Miles said the fact that not many people know Crappell’s name is a “wonderful thing because it means he’s doing his job.”
“He will have great success outside of football. He will go to some business some opportunity and do a great job and do better than that employer would have asked him to do it.”
Asked about Crappell’s deceiving looks, Miles said “He looks like a coach – one that’s had a couple of tough seasons. Now I’m going to get some Crappell hate mail.”
On LSU-Alabama-Arkansas being ranked 1-2-3 in the BCS standings:
“Good division huh?”