Miles talks about season opener

LSU head coach Les Miles and the Tigers entered the tail end of their first game week practice schedule Wednesday afternoon as the No. 8 ranked team prepares for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Miles spoke to the media following practice for the last time before his squad takes the field on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

He said his team is still preparing to play, and that summer conditioning is beginning to pay off for some.


"The guys got out today," Miles said. "We got some work done and enjoyed the weather. They practiced hard. It was a Wednesday practice. Still have some work to do with the game plan."


Saturday's contest will mark the second time Miles puts his team up against UL-L head coach Ricky Bustle. In 2003, Miles coached Oklahoma State to a 65-3 victory over the Ragin' Cajuns in Stillwater.


However, as dominant as his team was against UL-L, Miles precedes Saturday night's game with caution.  


"They are a much better football team in all phases," Miles said. "At defense they return eight starters. They have capable guys. On offense they are talented and capable. This is a talented football team. Anytime you come off a five-game winning streak at the back end of the season, it helps for starting the season fast."


Now at LSU, this contest will be different for Miles because of the proximity of the UL-L campus.


"I understand the relationship between the schools," Miles said. "We are going to play a talented team. We want to attack their players and their skills. You want to get the story. You want to know what's going on. You don't want to walk into a game and not know the underlining currents. I was informed."


Miles also said he and his staff will continue to develop the game plan throughout the week.


"I think you can focus on the tempo and you better focus on execution and the things that you do best," Miles said. "I think the clock is important. You can control it buy some of the things you do and how you call plays, but the reality is that you focus on the things you do best. We understand what we want to do. If we are ahead, then we will want to eat the clock. If we are not ahead, then we will want to conserve all the time possible."


Throughout fall camp, health has been a big issue with Miles' squad. Last season the team lost a valuable athlete when Alley Broussard went down for the season with an injured knee. In 2006, there has been no serious injury's thus far, but the coaching staff looks to be airing on the side of caution.


"I know we are healthier than last year," Miles said. "We haven't lost anybody to injury. But one of those injuries we lost last year we haven't got back yet."


Besides injury, the LSU coaching staff also addressed the issue of physical fitness. Because of the additional 12 game against Fresno State, the Tigers will play an extra game in 2006 with one open date.


"I think we are in better shape," Miles said. "They had a better summer and they ran hard. We lessened tackling by one scrimmage. As soon as we went to one-a days apposed to two-a-days, that is just a natural relaxing. Yesterday was a hard practice. It's interesting the first week of school, balancing the new classes, getting through appointments. It's not always easy going through the first day."


Besides health and this week's opponent, Miles updated the injury list for the media.

"I think Buster will be ready to go, and I think Alley health wise, I don't think he will be limited," Miles said.

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