Miles talks Bama, Pata tragedy

LSU head coach Les Miles addressed the media for the final time on Wednesday before Saturday's conference matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tiger Stadium.

Miles addressed a number of issues during his short press conference, including the recent death of University of Miami football player Bryan Pata. The senior defensive lineman was shot and killed Tuesday night in his apartment complex parking lot located four miles from Miami's campus.


"We're sad for what happened at the University of Miami," Miles said. "We talked about that to our team. It doesn't make a difference how big or strong you are; guns kill you."


According to Miles, Miami natives Ali Highsmith, Dwayne Bowe and Ricky Jean-Francois all knew Pata.


"I am told that he was working hard to do the right things," Miles said. "We're saddened like all of college football. Our condolences go to the University of Miami and [Pata's] family."


Miami's program has experienced several off-field tragedies in recent years.


In April 1996, reserve linebacker Marlin Barnes was murdered in a campus apartment. In 2003, former Miami safety Al Blades was killed in a car accident, about a year after former Miami linebacker Chris Campbell -- who had just completed his eligibility with the Hurricanes -- also died in a crash.


The Hurricanes resumed practice Wednesday and plan to play Saturday against the University of Maryland.


According to the Associated Press, investigators have determined the shooting to be a homicide.


Miles also said Southeastern Conference officials have reviewed the questionable touchback and re-play ruling in LSU's game Saturday against the University of Tennessee and that the conference is split on the call.


"They looked at it as a conference and were divided on the call - divided on whether the ball touched him or not," Miles said. "It's kind of, in my opinion, a little like being pregnant. If you're pregnant, you're pregnant. If the ball touches you, it's going to be our possession."


During this week's practices the LSU coaching staff used its large, outdoor speakers to pipe in extra noise during defensive drills.


Using noise is usually reserved for road-game preparation, but Miles said his defensive players requested the sound themselves for this weekend's home game against the University of Alabama.


"The defense wants to make sure that they can communicate with stems and shifts," Miles said. "It's always a little bit louder when our opponent has the ball than when we have it."


Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. in Tiger Stadium on ESPN.

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