LSU head coach Les Miles made his weekly appearance on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning, and he spoke to a number of topics, including the emergence of linebacker Kendell Beckwith and the process of moving him into a starting role this season.
“It’s always that way, many times you get that guy who is going to play in every game but is not necessarily getting all the reps or not necessarily playing a full style of game,” explained Miles. “There were segments of his defense that were not quite on par. As soon as he started getting more reps and playing significantly as a starter, it just made a difference.
“He’s got instinct and is more comfortable. He’s got speed and size and will play a very physical style of play ... We’d expect that he’ll play very well in this one.”
Expanding on Beckwith, and why it took so long for him to supplant D.J. Welter at Mike ‘backer, Miles said, “We would have anticipated that both of those guys were playing extremely well. Not necessarily did we see that he (Beckwith) would grow as fast as he has. You knew that his natural abilities, once he got the reps, would allow him to grow into the style of player that he is. Yeah, we were trying to make that happen as fast as we could.”
Below is a transcript of the rest of Miles' most relevant comments previewing LSU-Alabama. You can also CLICK HERE to read Miles’ take on what he figures will be another nailbiter in this rivalry.
"A very quality work effort to this point in the week. Some enjoyment to prepare against a very quality team in Alabama. Coach Saban has done a great job, and he's got another very dominant team. We're looking forward to hosting him in Tiger Stadium. We think we'll play our best."
"You don't go by experience. You recognize what experience gives you not only makes the quarterback position better, but the other 10 guys on offense better. Both Jennings and Sims give that to their teams."
On sharing Big Ten background with Nick Saban ...
"I think the Big Ten is an elite league. Some of the teams that win their championships can play in any league in the country. With my experience with Michigan and Bo Schembechler as my coach has really been the credential that fueled my career. The experiences I had both playing and coaching with Bo at Michigan have been invaluable to me. It was as great an experience as a young coach could have."
On prepping young QBs to play ...
“What you do is you try to assess what they have and what they bring to the table and where you have to augment their abilities to play. There are many experiences at the quarterback spot -- just the execution of the play call, the situation, a loud stadium, the understanding of stem/motion/check, the conversation that needs to take place. There’s just a lot of curriculum there.
"This guy is a guy that has to function the offense. There’s just a lot to it. It's very difficult to accommodate in a short amount of time many times."