“It was good to get back to the field and play football,” Miles said during his post-practice session with the media. “It looked like a first practice. There is a lot to be reaccomplished and reintroduced. It was an extended first practice.”
Monday marked the Tigers first practice since their loss in the regular season finale against Arkansas. Miles came away from the session pleased with the players’ attitude after a few weeks off.
“I think they worked hard. Their attitude was good. There needs to be more attention to detail. But I think our guys understand the need to rebound even better after today’s practice. I think it’ll round into shape very nicely. I think the want to play is there, but I’ll have to see.”
Two weeks ago Miles made reference to some adjustments that needed to be made before the game. He feels those adjustments began today.
“There was some attitude that needed to be adjusted coming off the last game that we played,” the headman said. “I think we have to understand we need to defend us. We need to play for the conference. We need to show well. Those were introduced today.”
Miles said the Tigers spent the majority of today’s practice preparing for Georgia Tech’s triple option offense.
“We’re really working against offense and defense about 20 minutes of practice,” he said. “A great majority of it is against Georgia Tech. The difference of option offense and how to prepare for it is night and day. We’re servicing our defense offensively, and our defense is serving our offense most periods.”
“A year ago the Ohio State offense was similar in some respects to our own,” Mile continued. “We could line up our defense and go good versus good and have early on, fast paced practices and really get the speed up.”
It’s clear that stopping the Yellow Jackets unique offense is the top priority on the Tigers’ list of things to accomplish heading into the bowl game. Miles feels a key to stopping the triple option will be to not let Georgia Tech dictate how the Tigers play defense.
“We’re obviously attacking them with our calls and what we want to do in our defense,” he said.
Miles feels the versatility used by the Yellow Jackets in their triple option is what makes them so difficult to stop.
“They change dive landmarks pretty routinely,” he said. “They can be under the very direct midline of the center. They can be inside hip of the guard. They can arch block it. They can crack it. They can low block it. They run specialty plays in combination with that in certain situations.”
While their primary focus will be on stopping the run, Miles also realizes the Tigers must respect Georgia Tech’s ability to throw the ball.
“They stay pretty consistent with their mission statement, which is run option and run the football,” Miles said. “But they throw the football pretty effectively. They’ve got that big [WR Demaryius Thomas] 6’3 240-pounder that can really catch the football. So you throw it up in the area, that’s a pretty good receiver to throw it up to.”
Usually bowl game preparation is a chance to get some of the backups and younger players more reps in practice to help further their development, but that is not the case this year for the Tigers.
“I would have to say we would normally look at bowl season with that in mind, but I don’t know that that’s the issue,” Miles said. “I think the issue here is first to accomplish quality scout teams for our defensive unit. That’s the first order of business. Our view of preparing young guys for next season is secondary to that.”
Andrew Hatch is still not back at practice, so Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee took all the reps at quarterback on Monday.
At this point, Miles does not expect any player on the team to have academic problems heading into the bowl game.
Another issue that was addressed was the rumors of Bradley Dale Peveto becoming the next head coach at Northwestern State.
“I’m not concerning myself with that all,” Miles said of the rumors. “If that’s something he wants to do, certainly we’ll back him fully. But I know that his attention is towards defending this option and finishing the season.”