Miles, Tigers begin preparations for ULL

Les Miles and the LSU Tigers begin maing preparations for the season opener this Saturday versus the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Miles met with the media today at his weekly press luncheon. The following is what Miles had to say. Stay tuned to TigerRag.com throughout the week leading up to this weekend's season opener

Opening Statement

 

"This marks the first one, the first one of many. I look forward to the fall season. I can't tell you how many coaches I have talked to today just kind of looking forward to game week and playing football.

 

"I am told the Super Chevy dealers are now involved in sponsorship in the LSU Athletic Department. We certainly would like to thank them and enjoy their participation.

 

"It is also a time where tomorrow is a year anniversary of the (Hurricane) Katrina storm coming into Louisiana. I can tell you that we all recognize that there are hardships being lived in a regular basis by many who have not quite gotten their personal life in order just yet. Our team, probably two weeks ago in a goal session, elected unanimously to keep the premise of our season to play for Louisiana, to play for our team and to play for ourselves. That will stay at the top of our goals for yet another season.

 

"We are very excited. We felt like we had a good summer. Our camp went well. There are a couple of guys nicked up with muscle strains, etc. but none that we would consider very serious. We expect to have anybody that we have been counting on in the summer to be healthy and ready to go for ULL. It is fun to look forward to playing somebody other than the guys you have been practicing against. The guys they have been practicing against are pretty good. They line up and play for LSU. Once you get through a two-a-day schedule, you look forward to lining up against an opponent."

 

"I really think that this opponent is a good football team. They are well coached. They return a real strong group of letterwinners. They return 40 letterwinners. They only lose three guys on defense. They return one of the finest rushing teams in the country. Both quarterbacks have played significant football. Jerry Babb and (Michael) Desormeaux are back, very talented guys. They had a freshman tailback get 1,000 yards in his first season. They have a very talented offensive line. They graduated some guys in their skill positions at receiver. They have a number of guys in the wings ready to take up that slack. Offensively, they predict to be as good a team as the conference has. They also are favored to be a conference contender. On defense, they lose three letterwinners -- a guy in the secondary, a linebacker and a guy upfront. Their have a veteran team and they play extremely well. We have great respect for the ULL team that is coming in."

 

 

On contingent plans for another hurricane …

 

"We had summer discussions about possible contingencies if weather hit. We feel as prepared as we can be. We are fortunate that (Hurricane) Ernesto made a right turn and doesn't appear it is going to hit in this region. I only hope it doesn't hit. I know that's not likely. Those things get to swirling out there. You only hope that it doesn't find land."

 

 

On playing for the state again …

 

"It started with an annual goal session. Our unity council, our core leaders, assembled in the team room. The conversation quickly turned to what were existing goals. They had to be looked at and moved on very quickly. That was the first thing that they talked about. It was unanimously voted on by the team to keep. It didn't take much. It was important to everybody in the room."

 

 

On the quarterback situation heading into the season opener …

 

"We are going to play the quarterback that gives us our greatest opportunity at victory. We are going to approach it just that way. As the game unfolds, as the season unfolds, those needs will arise. I would like to think that all three guys would have opportunities in the season to contend and play significant football for us. I am not presupposing that I could get those guys in the game against ULL in our opener."

 

 

On what JaMarcus Russell has done to earn the starting spot on Saturday night …

 

"He's had a really strong summer. He has worked hard. He's in better shape than he has been. He's led the team. He's done those things that you would expect from a quarterback. Both Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux have had really good summers. I can tell you that Matt is a little arm weary. It hasn't hurt his reputation to field the team. We are going in very much like we did a year ago with the difference being that our third quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux, has the opportunity to play."

 

 

On the offensive line heading into the ULL game …

 

"I think they have had a good camp. They have to continue to prepare. If they don't get better on a daily basis, if they don't look at each game as a significant test of itself, then they will not get to the area of execution that we want. I think what they have done is that they put themselves in position today to have a really good group. I think at times at certain things that they do are better than last year's line. It has to continue. It must improve, but we are very optimistic right there."

 

 

On Alley Broussard

 

"Justin Vincent has had a great camp. Jacob Hester has as well. Both of those guys we can count on carrying the football pretty regularly. Charles Scott has practiced very hard and has put himself in position where we know exactly what to expect from him. He is still young but a very talented freshman. We expect him to see the field. Alley Broussard is still coming. He could take some carries in this game. I wouldn't be surprised if he took none. It depends on how the week goes. That's work in progress for him. I think he understands it. Hopefully that will come very quickly. It's based on what the team needs and what he might need to develop."

 

 

On deciding which freshmen running backs will play …

 

"I can tell you that Charles Scott has put himself in a position to play. We are looking at both Keiland Williams and Richard Murphy. Richard has not really hit the ground running. We need to get him on board and get him comfortable. It would be hard for me to envision his playing time. Keiland has been a fast runner. He might be a guy that can play this football, but again that is all in front of us. It is hard for me to speculate on them. I can tell you Charles Scott will (play), and it is likely that either both or the other would."

 

 

On any position on the depth chart up for grabs …

 

"I think that the depth chart was put together with great foresight and a collectively knowledge base by our staff. I think there will be few surprises. If something happens with an injury and someone is called on, it is the readiness of that guy that makes a difference. There's always those surprises. We hope that that guy answers the call and will be ready."

 

 

On the game plan against UL-Lafayette …

 

"They are mostly like Florida. They are a zone read team. They have an opportunity to run a little option. They throw the ball efficiently and spread the field pretty regularly. They have some two-back sets. It is a lot of assignment football, and that is an advantage for them. It is not one that you prepare with in a short week very comfortably. We are fortunate that we have played against Florida and some other teams so that our background is good. I think our kids have accepted the game plan with the idea that we still have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get it right."

 

 

On Jared Mitchell

 

"Jared Mitchell has an opportunity to play professional baseball with the (Minnesota) Twins. He was offered a good sum of money some time ago. If he attends a class, apparently by the Major League Baseball rules and regulations, he cannot be maneuvered now until his junior year. I don't know if he was in class this morning or not. If he didn't go to class, he's in trouble with me. He's supposed to go to class. If doesn't go to class, he will be running tomorrow morning. Unless he is secretly in baseball uniform, I think he went to class. I think Jared Mitchell, Chris Mitchell and Ricky Dixon are all very talented guys. Jared may be more ready to play early than some of those other guys, not that he has more talent just that he is a little bit more mature. He has kind of nicked a thumb most recently but we expect that to get better. When that gets better, it will be easy for him to see the field."

 

 

On whether last season felt like a championship season after so many obstacles … 

 

"I can tell you that playing for a championship is what we all strive for. I think achievement is something that can be measured with improvement. It can be measured with how they play and who they are as people. I think winning the (SEC) West and coming back and playing as well as they did against Miami in the Peach Bowl. The idea that they had to endure two storms that really created a very unusual environment in the perimeter of our athletic department, I don't think there is any question that they have achieved a lot. They did everything that they could considering the position that they were put in. They played for their state and really did the things that we relied on them to do. I look at that year like they were a championship team that they were championship people and they had championship caliber character."

 

 

On Jacob Cutrera

 

"I think Jacob Cutrera is going to be a really fine linebacker. The idea that he went through spring gives him a chance to understand very comfortably what we call it and where to line up. I think Luke Sanders is a little bit better player on certainly more experienced. I wouldn't be unhappy in any way to see Jacob go out there and play for the Tigers on Saturday night."

 

 

On not overlooking the first two games to Auburn

 

"We play a darn good football team that is going to test us this Saturday. We are not looking beyond it. We are going to play hard, and we are looking for a victory. If we do that, that is the best way to prepare us for the next opponent, which is Arizona. The best way to prepare for Auburn is to get two victories and improve along the way."

 

 

On UL-Lafayette's running game …

 

"I think their offensive line blocks. They have nice running backs and a nice scheme. The quarterback reads and gives, disconnects and runs. It is a great test for us. Early season or late, I think they are a very formidable opponent."


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