MIles addresses Auburn loss, Tulane

LSU coach Les Miles addressed the media Monday afternoon two days after the Tigers dropped a 7-3 loss to Auburn. Miles talked about that game, his correspondance with the SEC in teh wake of the that game and the upcoming game with Tulane this Saturday.

Opening Statement


"Congratulations to (defensive tackle) Glen Dorsey for having a great start to a year and I would expect for that to continue. I'm going to go over this Auburn thing one more time and I'm done. It was a great football game and our guys played their hearts out.


"I was disappointed in only one phase of this game and that was the score, I f you would have told me that their offense would gain 182 yards and we would gain 311 and there would be one turnover and I would have told you we won by two touchdowns. We didn't. They certainly deserved the victory and we're going to go on and improve. The key is that our football team take from this disappointment the fact that they did give great effort, the fact that they are a strong football team, and the fact that they can take the field as a group of men, but we've got to improve.


"I think the single facet we'd like to improve in the most would be rushing the football and there are other places in each phase that we can improve. We'll work on that but probably the most dramatic improvement needs to take place in running the football. There was probably about 125 yards or so that we would have liked to have had that day in running the football, I felt like the numbers that we had were good. If you want to look at replay you won't find better numbers that that in America. We had opportunities to outnumber our opponent. It was a sputter and a miss, which we can't have, we've got to get that fixed. We would have plenty of yards we would have needed and that game would not have been a game that was so closely decided or it certainly would have put more pressure on our opponents.


"I felt like our defense was superb. Our defense is number one defense in the country over all, number two in pass, number three in scoring. If they continue to play like they're playing and continue to improve, continue to listen to the coaching, this will be a very special defense. Our young guys are meshing very well with the older guys and the leadership of the defense.


"Special teams, I thought we played well enough to win. Colt David had a nice long field goal and showed that he can handle some pressure situations. I felt like our kick off teams really set the tempo for the day. We went down there on a team that's averaging 35 yards a kick and hit them and struck them and they really never could get off their own end of the field even though their punter really was tremendous.


"Offensively, again we must improve on the rush but we threw and caught the ball extremely well. We had two two-minute drives, one before the half and one at the very end of the game that potentially could have won us the game. We executed that phase of our game, not perfectly but well enough to win. In that two minute drive there were some opportunities to conserve some time, and had we done that maybe at the end of the game on the 4 yard line we would have had one or two downs left to play.  


"Again I think there are plenty of positives. As a team we're really strong, guys that played so hard certainly are in pain today with the fact that they finished second in that contest. I think everyone of our guys is very proud of the effort that they put forth and they will go on from here.


"I think there has been a lot of conversation and certainly media speculation on the penalties and lack of penalties. I can tell you that we sent in a long laundry list of which there was six pieces that I wanted confirmation on, really four pieces that involve our red zone possessions. To me they were key to how we may have evaluated this game from the officials stand point. 


"If you have four red zone possessions, its legitimate that the team that scored there 93 percent of the time there last year, may well have affected the score. I can't say that, you just don't know. It may have been the exact same score. I feel like we had our day in court. They looked at the plays, and didn't see the same thing we saw.


"Now, that's over. We're a football team. We've got to do better. There are ways to win that game that we could have controlled to take it out of everybody's hands. We understand the position we're in. We understand that there's somebody ahead of us in the (SEC) West. But there's a lot of football left to play. I like our football team. I'll play it right from here, we'll play it hard. We'll get better and we'll look forward to the remainder of our schedule, including Tulane.


"Tulane had a big win over the weekend. They beat Mississippi State and has proven hat they are a very worthy opponent. Coach Scelfo has done a remarkable job considering the disadvantages they've had based on Katrina and the experiences that Tulane has had in terms of New Orleans and having to reconstruct and repair the campus after the storm. My congratulations to them.


"They've done a great job. I can tell you on offense they run spread, they've got a big tall quarterback, Lester Ricard, a transfer form LSU. He's a very talented, 6'5 guy that throws the ball extremely well. They've got a number of receivers with height and speed that can get down the field. They can run the ball, I think they had a back that had 170 yards last week who is a big, strong, very mobile athlete, Matt Forte, 6'1, 225. So offensively they definitely have weapons. On the defensive side they are very mobile and have a good defensive front. Guys that can play. They've got a punter that averages 46 yards a punt with a net average of 38 (yards). They have good special teams. We understand this is the first of a series of 10 games against Tulane and I appreciate fully this gives our stadium the opportunity to enjoy a great rivalry and then go to theirs and do the same. I can tell you that we look forward to entertaining Tulane this Saturday in Tiger Stadium.



On PK Colt David's field goal…


"He's had a really good camp. By percentage kicks he's really competed really well. On the back end of the week he really came on. In pregame, we just felt like he had the hot hand on that moment. If the ball had been deeper we may well have gone with Chris (Jackson). It just depends on who's hot and the length of the kick."



On the controversial interference call late in the Auburn game…


"The point that was made to me was that the tip, being in advance of the catch was the significant factor. And I gave the point of view that if there had not have been interference our player would have been able to make play on the ball or at the tip, which would have made a possibly different outcome. We did that earlier, Jesse Daniels intercepted the ball and we got called for interference. I made that exact observation. He was correct in that one. We did interfere and prevented him from getting to the ball. Again I think the tip is the point they are hanging on."



On the inefficiency of the running game…


"I think we considered all facets there. I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with who carries the ball. I think it's a number of factors, if it was just as easy as who was carrying the ball, we would have made that determination but there's more to it than just the guy."



On running the ball…


"If we showed up and threw the ball every time, I bet you we would see some different pass rush. The best thing that will allow us to throw the ball effectively is to make the effort run. We're always going to run at them on the ground,  there are certain times in the game you must control the ball on the ground, and we have very good backs, we just have to get them loose and let them make plays for us. I believe too strongly in it and there are places where you have to run the ball."



On the league reviewing officiating in the Auburn game…


"Knowing that the league is reviewing the calls and doing diligence to your appeal is the satisfaction. They're reviewing it with criticism, they're reviewing it with the intent to make it better. You don't necessarily get the ‘We agree with you' but you understand more fully why the call was made and they defend themselves. I think the process is getting better, I think the process is good for evaluating and continually upgrading not only the view of the coaches but stepping up the officials."



On respecting Tulane's team…


"I think, after watching the film, having respect for Tulane is pretty easy to do based on the great game they played against Mississippi State. I don't think there's any question that recognizing they beat an SEC opponent will help us. That will make a point that they are a quality team.  I also think that coming off last Saturday our team will be looking forward to playing a good game."



On passing the ball…


"Right now everybody's focused on really defending the pass against us. So the opportunities to run the ball should gain you some good dividends or a lot of yards either way. If they know what your going to do before you do it, they can defend you a little bit better than if they don't know. They have to defend both the run and the pass on a number of distances and they had difficulty putting them on the right spot."



On TE Keith Zinger…


"He's much better. He's gaining weight, he's much more ready. He'll get work this week and hopefully some playing time."



On LB Darry Beckwith…


"Well we knew that Darry had great ability and that all he needed was time at that position and time in the defense before he became very productive. If you watch the games, he has great speed to the ball and he really has a feel for the play of the game."

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