“I have enjoyed the memory of that game and I have said ‘Wow’ to myself many times,” Miles said on Monday at his weekly press luncheon.
Miles acknowledged that the emotions spent the week before in the Tigers’ overtime loss to top-ranked Alabama may have had some effect on his team, along with the way the coaches prepared the team for the contest.
The team came out sluggish against Troy and according to Miles played a little “less inspired” than he would have liked to see.
Miles says that the team still had plenty to play for despite the loss to Alabama and will have more to look forward to with Ole Miss and Arkansas on the horizon.
“The enjoyment of winning and victory is plenty enough for this football team,” said Miles. “I do realize that the opportunity to win the (SEC) West or play for a championship game is certainly something that this program aspires to each year. Football is a great game, and to determine achievement by one venue or championship probably isn’t fair.”
After struggling for two and a half quarters, LSU woke up a little past the midway point of the third quarter and put 37 points on the scoreboard for a 40-31 victory.
“I can tell you that when our quarterback (Jarrett Lee) came to life, and our offense put together a great drive, and the defense, which we asked them to do at halftime, they were the chance we had while we got things fixed on offense, that they would come out and play,” Miles said. “In the second half, we gained 280 yards. Our opponent gained 120 yards, and we got turnovers, and that’s the reason that we came back. That’s the reason that it was a historical turnaround by numbers.”
Prior to Lee catching fire in the second half he completed only two passes and tossed his 15th interception of the year. It was also the seventh pick that was returned for a touchdown this season.
The interception and the score could have demoralized Lee and the Tigers, but Miles said his young signal caller has made too much progress to let that happen.
“Again, he’s getting better,” Miles said. “He’s getting better in the game week. He’s getting better in the games. He did some things on Saturday that he hasn’t done to this point. He’s managing the position better and better.”
The way the Tigers finished Saturday’s game and more importantly, the way Lee finished should be a big confidence booster for the embattled quarterback and the Tigers.
“I liked the momentum of the finish. I like the position of our team,” Miles said. “I think our quarterback comes off that game with great confidence and what he did in the second half when he threw for 220 yards or just under that. I like the position of our team now.”
Miles said that he liked what he saw from true freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson and that he brings some energy to the offense.
He also gives Lee a chance to look at things from a different perspective.
“I think it allows players to kind of reconcile their last series and the ways they might be able to improve or really what’s kind of going on,” Miles said. “I think he’s [Lee] done that and I think he’s the style of guy who always puts his mind in it.
“In other words, he didn’t come to the sideline to rest,” added the headman. “He was thinking it through, what’s going on, how’s the team’s playing and how are our opponents deploying certain formations, and I think he stayed in it the whole time. I think that was a benefit to him when we asked him to return to the field and play.”
The platoon system has worked well for LSU and fans can look for that to continue in these last two games, starting with Ole Miss on Saturday.
“They’re very talented and move the football,” Miles said. “They play good defense and special teams. They are the team that beat Florida in Gainesville. Our football team understands what that means.”
Houston Nutt is 6-4 in his first year with the Rebels and has them bowl eligible for the first time in four years.
There have been a lot of changes to the way Ole Miss did things under Ed Oregon’s watch and one is with the offense and the way Nutt uses the ‘wild rebel’ formation.
“He’s used the wildcat formation in a very like manner like he did at Arkansas,” said Miles. “I think they have a little bit better quarterback in Jevan Snead. I think they enjoy him throwing the football.”
Snead has done a good job directing the Rebels’ offense in his first year at the helm and he’s gotten some help from a running game that averages just under 188 yards a game.
“I think their offensive line is veteran. Michael Oher, one of which is providing great line of scrimmage play, and they are calling the run more,” said Miles. “They are pounding the line of scrimmage and have the ability to run the football with quality tailbacks and a nice scheme.
Saturday will also be senior day and the final game in Tiger Stadium for 20 Tigers, including defensive ends Kirston Pittman and Tyson Jackson.
“You’re looking at guys like Kirston Pittman who has been a part of two national championship teams,” Miles said. “He really suffered severe injury and overcame that injury for this football team and played extremely well and gave us great leadership.
“Tyson Jackson is another one that just really comes to mind as a quality person and just every time he steps on the practice field or goes on the football field for us, he’s everything that is reported … When you get into the backend of every season and you play your last game with some quality guys and guys you turned to and relied on snap after snap, it’s tough to say goodbye to some good men.”