Making the Pieces Fit

After a 13-3 loss at the hands of the nation's top-ranked team, LSU head coach Les Miles said that the Tigers are still headed in the right direction. Improvement, he maintained, is the focus.

Through five games, Florida is the best defense in college football. LSU found that out on Saturday.

The Gators have allowed an average of 202 yards per game. Their pass defense has allowed an average of 115.2 yards – the best in the country. The rush defense has allowed an average of 87.4 yards – 11th best in the country.

In a battle between two top-five teams, the Tiger running game, led by Charles Scott’s 53 yards on 13 carries, went for only 66 total yards.

Jordan Jefferson and the passing attack did not fare much better. Jefferson completed 11-of-17 passes for 96 yards and an interception.

After a win in Georgia that became a sign that the offense was moving forward with their improvements, the unit has stalled once more.

“Certainly the offense bears a want to play better,” Miles said. “You look at each piece and see what is best, and what pieces are not shining for us. What pieces do we need to shine the light on?

“There are some things we have to do, things by strategy and preparation that may not appear a major overhaul, but will allow us to execute headed forward.”

Despite the loss, Miles called for the LSU fan base to have patience with the play of the Tigers’ sophomore quarterback, who has made eight starts during his two seasons with the program.

“There is a piece of evolution with every young quarterback where he gets to a point in his read and he goes to the other side and makes a quick throw, or he pulls it down and scoots and gets you some yards – which Jordan has done on times and it has advantaged our team,” he said.

“There is certainly that piece that we are trying to get to with Jordan, but he’s a young quarterback, and we lose sight of that. He is getting better. In today’s practice he got better.”

While battles within the depth chart remain at each position, Miles said that the starting eleven on both sides is in place. Instead of new faces, the game plan headed forward will focus on getting the ball to familiar names.

“Guys that are making big plays and have made big plays should get the opportunity to do that again,” he said. “We are looking at pieces of the game that another guy should be involved in.”

Miles praised the play of the defense, which held the nation’s seventh-best scoring offense, which is averaging 39 points per game, to 13 points.

Getting the offense to find that same sort of effectiveness is what practice between here and next weekend’s Auburn game will be about.

“We are focusing on ourselves,” he said. “We are playing and practicing against ourselves. Today’s practice was 1’s vs. 2’s. It was fun, good speed. [Wednesday] is a similar focus, with more pieces of the Auburn game plan going in. Thursday, it is mostly the Auburn game plan.”

Though the Gators are in the rearview, the opportunity lost left Miles with hopes for a rematch.

“If we do what we are capable, it would be wonderful to see that team again.”

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