In a short week with so much on the line, Miles took a different tact Wednesday.
The Tigers’ coach oozed confidence about whatever he talked about – at one point smiling and saying simply, “I like our plan” – and effectively and eloquently dodged the one question that never seems to go completely away: The quarterbacks.
The big news from Miles’ time on the SEC coaches call and later with the local media was that he thinks sophomore safety Eric Reid will be ready to go when No. 1-ranked LSU (11-0, 7-0 SEC) collides with No. 3 Arkansas (10-1, 6-1).
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And even if Reid is limited or can’t go the entire game, his backup – Craig Loston – is ready to go fulltime for the first time in over a month.
Miles said he was optimistic about Reid, who ran Wednesday and has taken a lot of mental reps while he has allowed a quad injury to heal up.
As for Loston – battling his way back from a wrist injury – Miles said he is “certainly prepared to play” and says there’s no question the hard-hitting sophomore will be good to go.
“He has practiced every day,” Miles said. “We wanted to hold him (last week when he didn’t travel to Ole Miss). We wanted to freshen him up. He will definitely play in this game.”
The prognosis isn’t quite as clear on Reid, who has played a major role for LSU’s secondary this season.
“I’m not going to play him unless he’s ready to roll,” Miles said. “We have other players. We have good players. Whoever takes the field for us will be quality and be ready to play and we’re going to ask him to play the responsibility of the position.”
Miles was also non-committal on running back Alfred Blue’s status.
Blue tweaked a hamstring on a 57-yard run against Ole Miss and didn’t return. He said earlier this week he was fine. All Miles would allow was that Blue took snaps Wednesday.
Besides the injuries, Miles touched on several other topics:
On the morale of senior quarterback Jarrett Lee:
“I’m certain that there are things that he’d like to get accomplished, but our focus has not been on any individual’s morale. It’s been on our team’s preparation. I’m probably not been as informed as I should be.”
On why the Tigers have played so well in big games this season
“The thing that this team has done, they’ve always rose to the level of competition and exceeded it. They recognize that the big stage, they’ve been able to translate it into a football game.”
On the seniors playing their final home games:
“They’re going to drop all the tears and stuff because they’re fixing to play a football game. They can hug mom, pass the flowers around and kiss the girl friend, but the reality is they’re getting ready to play.”
On how the quarterback rotation will play out this week:
“I think that we would look forward to playing Jarrett Lee in this game in every quarter.”
On LSU’s success this season without the star power of other teams in the national championship hunt:
“I think we have plenty of star caliber players on this team. The difference is that their focus is not on them It’s on team and their contribution. We’re as talented as any and star-laden as any team just without the developed hoopla.”