Miles has had a season's worth of headaches packed into a one month period-and it only involved one football game. Hurricane Katrina laid ruin to everything in its path, and along the way it shuffled a football season for the Tigers like a deck of cards at Harrah's Casino.
The opening game against North Texas was rescheduled for October 29, leaving LSU forced to travel to then No. 15 Arizona State for their season opener. Little did anyone know that the closing minutes of that game would go down as one of the most memorable time frames in Tiger football history.
With two weeks until the home opener against Tennessee, Miles had finally slowed down enough to reflect on the victory and his upcoming home debut.
One noticeable difference in the first game was the play of Jamarcus Russell. His play was exemplary and only had one miscue, the fumble deep in Sun Devil territory.
"Other than a ball handling mistake, he was really good," said Miles. "He needs to make sure he keeps his hands dry. We had the first down and called a timeout. We had him on the sidelines and he should have dried his hands. If he would have done that, he would have been fine."
Besides his fumble, Russell was poised enough to lead LSU on some long, sustained drives that usually have coaches in a frenzy. Miles, however, was confident in his offense.
"We got our points. We had three but were playing for seven. I did not think anything bad was going to happen."
Miles also has taken this time to break down film and try to pinpoint the things his team need to fix from the Arizona St. game in order to compete this week.
"I think that the issues that we had to address beyond the game have been addressed and corrected, " said Miles. "But without the playing of games, it is tough to tell. We won't know until we step out on the field and do it."
In order to keep focus on high alert, Miles innovated a new system called The Tiger Club. This distinction helps the players concentrate on each week's upcoming game and reward those practicing the Miles way.
"It is kind of like a sticker on the helmet," said Miles. "It is the style of play that is championship and it is what we need to win. Certainly, the guys that play that way need to understand that we recognize that. It is a through-the-week award that has to be earned each week."
After the special teams performance in Tempe, Miles gave out a full batch.
"This week's was an exceptional number because the two teams that blocked kicks for scores all got them," said Miles.
With the first game in the books, the team will use this week to focus on the little things.
"We will concentrate on focus and refining," said Miles. "We are just getting ready to play, we need another game week."
With Tennessee right around the corner, the players and staff will have just that. Despite the 16-7 loss against Florida, Miles is not taking the Vols or their abilities lightly.
"I think they are a very talented team," said Miles. "They have all the characteristics of a nationally ranked team. They have a big offensive line and a terribly talented tailback and good skill guys and quarterback."
Miles was also quick to point out that the defense contained the trendy spread-option offense of Urban Meyer and the Gators.
"They have a bevy of defensive linemen and mobile and athletic linebackers," said Miles. "They have a quality secondary and good special teams."
Was Miles looking to gain any insight from watching the SEC East match?
"You have a general idea of what they are going to do, but you don't know until you see it," said Miles. "The Florida game will give us a better look of what they will play against us. Game two of a season against a really good opponent, you will see more."
Miles made it clear that the coaching whistle never comes off, even when watching a game in the comforts of his home.
"There is no easy chair(to watch the game in), and if there was, it would not be real easy," Miles quipped. "There is always more to learn and more to watch. I tell you one thing, if the two year old makes noise, it makes it a little more disconcerting."
On Sept. 24, there will be 90,000 plus making noise in Tiger Stadium. But for Miles, this may be the kind of home remedy he needs.
Miles ready for first game in Tiger Stadium
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