“You have to go onto the field to play with an intensity, a want, a fire, and if you don’t do that, you can play any team that wants it, and it can be a very, very, dicey situation.”
At halftime against a 3-6 Louisiana Tech side, LSU found themselves in one of those dicey situations - trailing 13-10 on the scoreboard and behind in most statistical production categories.
“I thought the defense played with a ‘somebody else will make that play’ mentality,” Miles said. “I think the opponent gained 220 yards in the first half, and in the second half, they gained 100 yards. It was really a tale of two halves, but when they turned it on, they played like the defense we are used to seeing.”
The offense, operating without starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, was another story.
Sophomore Jarrett Lee, making his first start since the back end of the 2008 season, was 7-for-22 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown.
“We’d certainly like to have some of those plays in the air back, and certainly Jarrett would to,” Miles said. “It would have distanced ourselves from our opponent.”
After fans booed Lee’s performance in the second half, Miles took to his post-game press conference with a message of disgust. On Monday, he offered up much of the same.
“Point to any example where [booing] is a significant factor in anything, then I’m for you,” he said. “I just can’t imagine what would possess people to do that – to root negatively. Look it up. I guess there is a spot in there where there is a negative piece to rooting or cheering. I don’t know why there would be, personally.”
With Lee’s struggles, the Tigers rested their hopes on the ground game. Operating without starting running back Charles Scott, senior Keiland Williams, in his first extended action of the season, made the most of his night on center stage - carrying the ball 15 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns, including a 9-yard scoring scamper that put the game out of reach with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“The key is how bright you shine,” said Miles of Williams’ remaining two games. “His efforts were very good Saturday night. He made some extra effort runs and pounded the line of scrimmage very well. I look forward to how he finishes his career.
“He has plenty of time here to distinguish himself and his career.”
Headed into a Western Division match up with Ole Miss this Saturday, Miles expects Jefferson, who was sidelined with an ankle injury this past weekend, to be back under center.
“I think he hates missing a game, and he is looking forward to getting back,” Miles said. “I kind of look forward to him getting back too.”
With senior tight end Richard Dickson also expected back into the lineup, the Tigers are at full strength for the first time in weeks.
And after being held off the field by an undermanned Louisiana Tech defense, the focus against the Rebels is simple: keep the chains moving and ball in the hands of Jefferson and the offense.
“Time of possession is certainly an important piece to me,” Miles said. “I think we ran the ball better this weekend. We got behind in the chains throwing the football, so efficiency is the issue.”