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August 25, 2010

The First Les Miles Show of the Season

It is 8p.m., Wednesday, August 25 and the first Les Miles Radio Show has just ended.  The show had some technical difficulties that limited questions from callers.  This allowed a couple of extra questions from LSU Football's Facebook followers.  In total I counted about 15 questions.  The following are my notes of those questions and answers: 

(These are not the exact questions and are not Miles exact words, except for when I use quotation marks.)

1. What differences can we expect when you compare this years' team to the past two years' teams?
This team has a very strong work ethic.  They are unhappy with the overall results of last season. There is a hunger this year.  This years' team is extremely youthful and very talented.

2. What has the team improved upon the most?
Rushing the football.  And being able to rush the passer well even without a blitz being called.

3. What effect do negative fans have on the team and how do they handle that negativity?
The negativity really has to be strong for it to even become an issue that our players have to deal with at all.
Expectations are high at LSU.  Our fans have high expectations and so do we (coaches and players).
Being negative when it becomes hoping that something bad happens to us is wrong and does nothing to help us improve.
Translation - If you have high expectations, great we all do.  Any other negativity while it may not be exactly counterproductive, is not going to help us win games or even get better.  

4.  Give us an overview of the defense.
We have a super fast pair of corners ( Patrick Peterson and Mo Claiborne) and some really fast defensive ends.
At linebacker we have an outstanding linebacker, Kelvin Shepard. Shepard is surrounded by some young but talented linebackers.
The whole defense has a great attitude.
Kelvin Shepard is the only SEC defensive player named to the Sporting News All-American team. 
And it is curious but I don't have any notes about defensive tackles.  I could have just missed it.

5. How has Billy Gonzales improved the play of the offense, particularly quarterback play?
Our wide receivers are getting much better.  The quarterbacks are really getting to know where the receivers are going to be.  As a result the accuracy of our quarterbacks is really improving.
Our new tight ends coach Steve Ensminger is really doing a great job of making our young and talented tight ends comfortable with playing in the LSU system.
Frank Wilson, LSU's new running backs coach, is likewise doing a great job of getting solid steady development out of our running backs.

6. Give us a breakdown of special teams.
Josh Jasper, Derek Helton, our veterans, are really doing great.  Brad Wing our new punter from Australia is doing great as well.  Wing punted a 67 yarder the other day that had a great hang time also.  Our punt return guy had a hard time fielding that punt.  That sort of punt can really give you an advantage in a game.
Patrick Peterson, Ron Brooks, Morris Claiborne and Russell Shepard will all serve as return men this year.
We have a young very speedy kickoff coverage team that ought to really help us out.

7.  Will we see the best 11 players on the field regardless of seniority?
Seniority has never been a factor in determining who plays in the past but we have more young players than in the past.  So yes, you can expect to see more young players.

8. How many touches will Russell Shepard get in LSU's opener?
[sort of jokingly]  Three to thirteen. We want to work Shepard into the game as need dictates but we have several talented play makers.

9. Evil Twin regular audience member  stood up and said that a UNC fan named John had said in an online forum that the Tarheels have leaders and that they are going to embarrass LSU in the kickoff classic. Evil Twin's response was essentially that this is not going to be a basketball game so UNC will be in the show but the Tigers will be the stars.
Evil Twin's question was - With projected starting linebacker Ryan Baker out, what are the plans?
Baker's jaw was broken in four places and even though the fractures were small he will not participate in the North Carolina game.
Kelvin Shepard can play any linebacker position and so there will be packages where he plays different linebacker positions.
Luke Muncie and D.J. Welter were mention by name as potential linebackers to fill in the void left by Baker.

10. How do you prepare for North Carolina or really any major opener?
A key is lots of film study.  We have studied every piece of film that we have gotten our hands on. We know our opponent as well as possible.  We have prepare our team to play LSU football. Now we are focused on how to play LSU football against UNC specifically.  UNC is a very good team but
"Our team will scrap you.  They will dig and claw and fight like hell!"

11.  What are the takeaways you hope to get from the UNC game?
[Jokingly] Hope they fumble the ball . . . and we recover. Hope they pass the ball and we take those away too.
[more seriously] Ball control is key.  We have to win the turnover margin.  With only 60-70 plays a game total, games are getting shorter.  A takeaway or two limits the number of possessions of your opponent and that is key.

12. Give us an overview of the offense.
Quarterback play has really seen improvement.  Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee are really competing well. Jefferson is playing better and has improved.  Jefferson's chemistry with the receivers is good.
We will run the ball on our opponents.  Expect big plays and really physical play.
Will Blackwell and Alex Hurst our new right guard and right tackle are big and physical.  Both are over 300lbs. Hurst is about 335lbs. and really light on his feet.  Patrick Lonergan and T-Bob Hebert are really competing well for center. (sounded like Lonergan is ahead)  Our veterans on the left side of the line are really well prepared, big, strong and physical. Chris Faulk and Josh Williford were mentioned as very capable backups on the o-line.

13. Dow Chemical caller of the week Mike from Pensacola first confirmed that senior WR Chris Tolliver would indeed be out of commission for the UNC game. Miles said that he did not know when to expect Tolliver back.  Mike asked if any freshmen might get a chance to play wide receiver.
Yes, we have freshmen in backup wide receiver slots.  James Wright has really done well to distinguish himself as a real possibility as a fourth receiver. We have a lot of very good backup receivers.

14. What goes through your mind as you step out onto the field in Tiger Stadium?
I enjoy the moment.  Tiger stadium is beautiful.  There may not be a place to play on a grander scale. It fills my heart with joy.
Taking the field you have this strong feeling that you must achieve a victory.  That you have to go like hell.

15. How do you feel about back-to-back games on the road?
Playing the first road game will help us prepare better to open conference play on the road.
We really respond to seeing a sea of purple on the road.  We are very fortunate to have so many Tiger fans that travel to see us play.


joe said...

appreciate the recap. great for fans who missed the show. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Coach-speak translation:

Like I've been telling anyone that would listen all this year. We're gonna run the ball, or lose trying. We're gonna put pressure on the quarter back with only our d-line, or lose trying. Our qb's are 'improving', ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies. And in the end, what you've seen is what you'll get again, just that this yr its gonna work. Cause this year, we're really physical.

Question: "Coach, isnt every other team in the SEC physical? And if this yr were 'physical' as you say, why weren't we trying to be physical last yr? And if we were trying then too, why is this year going to be any different if like you said, you're gonna run the same offense you ran last and every other year here?

Just askin

Coach Speak Translation:

Negativity is not productive.

Anonymous said...

I am going to enjoy this LSU football season,coach Miles is told me, What I WANTED TO KNOW..OUR FOOTBALL TEAM SHOULD PLAY BETTER.
I ask for nothing more then that,give it your best shot,and lets play ball.

Anonymous said...

When you hear Les Miles talk,do not walk away..Run.

Anonymous said...

Les Miles seems to always say nothing,a lot of hot air.
Sometimes he sounds like a goof ball..What can the LSU fans do with that?

Anonymous said...

Les Miles seems to always say nothing,a lot of hot air.
Sometimes he even sounds like a goof ball..What can the LSU fans do with that?

Anonymous said...

Les Miles is lifting all the way to the bank,LSU is what they always were,lolly-pop.
Good luck suckers!

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