Coach Les Miles Q & A
Afternoon. I think we're a football team that is developing, and
I like the position that we're in. We've had a quality
week. We went five acclimatization days, and four of which we
split the team and we took what we had really maximum reps, if you
will. The fact that the first team would play in the a.m., and
the second team would play in the p.m. against each other, and really,
we took the time to introduce our football and really to get maximum
reps and maximum repetition on our offense, defense, and special teams.
So, again, I like where we're at. I think we're improving.
We've had seven really, really good weeks. So I should say seven
really good practices. So, questions?
Q. If you would, could you elaborate a little bit on Josh
Williford's injury, and what happened to him?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I think it's wise for me not to talk about
injuries at this time, And Mike will prepare something and release it
all at once. But if you have an injury question, just hold it.
Q. But just how it happened in practice?
COACH MILES: It's football. Coincidentally contact, and we
were in shoulder pads and helmets, so...
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: Yeah, we've moved Vadal over to right side from the
right side to the left guard. Really, it's really benefited
us. We really think that Hawkins has had as quality a camp to
this point as anybody. He may well be one of those very, very
talented offensive linemen that can really play. So the advantage
then, if you take Vadal and you move him into the left guard spot where
Williford was, it will really give us some real power at that left side
with he and La'el Collins.
Q. Some of the new guys, new arrivals, that have kind of asserted
themselves that are pushing for the second, third unit or any position?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I want you to know something, I think Duke
Riley is coming here really with speed and enthusiasm. I think
he's going to have a great career further. I think there's been a
number of guys. I think Jeryl Brazil with his speed has some real
ability there. I like Rickey Jefferson. I think Rickey
Jefferson's going to be a real quality addition to the secondary.
Melvin Jones, a talented guy and Kendell Beckwith, I think ‑‑ I think
our line backing core, generally, is just much improved.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: You know what? He's paid a tremendous price in
his preparation, you can tell. He's hard working, he's big,
strong, physical, and yet he's a quiet leader. He's a guy who
leads by example and really when he talks everybody listens.
He's had a very, very quality opinion on everything that we've done
here really since I've been here. He's been a leader that was
many times not overtly vocal, but kind of in the back of the scenes
going this is what's right. I think he's really earned the
spot. 18 is a chemistry. It's a program guy that's kind of
developed and kind of reflects on how he treats other people and really
what kind of person he is. I just think it was a great pick.
Q. Coach, in the middle. You mentioned Rickey Jefferson,
what characteristics have you seen from him that will lead to some
early playing time?
COACH MILES: Well, he can really cover. He's a very
physical player. So he's going to have to get comfortable in the
secondary and understand his responsibilities as it fits into the
scheme and the call. But we think he'll have real success.
Q. Just talk about the offense and the changes that you've seen
just in the short time that Coach Cameron's been here? We've
talked to the guys and they said it's harder to figure out for the
opposing defense, but your defense understands after seeing it in
practice every day what's going on.
COACH MILES: There is an opportunity for us to call multiple
plays from different, as you say, a select group of plays from many,
what would be variant personnel groups and implementations. So
what appears to be something new for our opponent will not necessarily
be new for our guys. That is really the major piece.
The fact that Cam has real understanding of different aspects and
places on the field and where and how to attack, we're not there
yet. Certainly we're not ready to play, but his influence, we're
going to be better.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I think there is an opportunity it be more
balanced offensively, and that's certainly what we want.
Q. How much competition has Anthony Jennings provided to Stephen
Rivers, and where does that No. 2 quarterback position shake out as of
COACH MILES: Anthony Jennings is really improving. I like
how he's coming. Really, Stephen Rivers is also really improving
as well. I think Anthony Jennings has certainly a leg‑up on that
second spot, but they continue to compete.
Q. How did you do in the Michigan version of the big cat drill?
COACH MILES: Oh, I'd be in trouble, I think. The one thing
that we did at Michigan was that we came out of chutes every day I had
respect for that. It was pretty routine. I certainly would
have enjoyed the competition.
Q. I was wondering how the place kicking battle was coming
together between number 30 and number 30 and number 30?
COACH MILES: We're going to have to change those numbers, you
know? The problem with it is the NCAA has come up with a new rule
that the people at the same position can't share the same number, so
we're going to have to come up with 3, 0, and 30, and just kind of put
tape over the appropriate number so that we can send them on to the
I think Colby Delahoussaye is certainly in front there as our field
goal guy and really is kicking well. He had a really nice
camp. Though I think James Hairston as well and Trent Dominique
are really providing competition. Trent gives us not only a
back‑up with a long field goal, but also a really quality punter if he
can step in and punt the ball. So he's going to give us that.
James is still our kickoff guy and can be a long field goal guy.
So I think Colby is certainly the advantage at this point just simply
at field goal.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: Yeah, my input's going to be as kind of as needed,
if you will. I don't see it being significantly different.
I just see the menu being executed in a real strong, effective
fashion. I'm certainly going to have my say, but I think it's ‑‑
again, I like the direction we're going. And I think what Cam's
doing is very, very good.
Q. Can you talk about the defensive end who jumped out at you
this week? Did Lewis Neal improve his chances of starting after
the first week?
COACH MILES: I think the veterans have really jumped out at
me. I think Jordan Allen is a guy that really has two years left
to play and he's really prepared. He's having a nice start.
I think Danielle Hunter is going to be a guy that's going to play a lot
of football. I think Lewis Neal as well as Tashawn Bower, as well
as Frank Herron are guys that can really step in and play. I
think we're going to have real quality end play.
M.J. Patterson, for that matter, there are some real fast, athletic,
big men there at the end for us. So we'll look forward to putting
them on the field.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: No, shouldn't be. Rasco had his shoulder
operated on really kind of the back end of spring ball, and he's really
practiced every day and looks really, really good.
Q. In light of the rules being more clearly defined, I guess, in
terms of launching and high hits, et cetera, and defenseless players
and the penalties being much more costly, has that factored into
coaching at all?
COACH MILES: Absolutely. I think every defensive coach will
have the opportunity to teach a little lower framework on his
tackle. You're really looking at places where they're defenseless
players. In other words, a receiver that's going up for a ball
who is really defenseless except that he's receiving the ball.
They also pointed at what would be a kicker after the kick.
They also pointed at a quarterback after change of possession.
So, defenseless player is a big deal. Give you an example ‑ on a
punt return, a guy that's running to make the tackle who doesn't see
the blocker, that blocker cannot just waylay the guy.
Now all of those spots being discussed, here's the key piece:
Launch with intent to be above the shoulders, whether it's your helmet,
your shoulder pad, your forearm, period. From the shoulders or
above, if you launch, then, in fact, this is going to be a 15‑yard
penalty and a game suspension.
Now, if given that opportunity, you're wrapping and you stay low and if
it becomes incidental, it's much different. In other words, you
can say it was not by intent. And in a tight scrimmage in the
in‑line play, that's not going to be called.
But it's those defenseless players that you cannot target with the
helmet. You can't target above the shoulders. Yes, at this
think it's going to be coached well. I think the guys that coach
it well and coach it best will have an advantage come game day.
Those plays that were described as real impacting hits have to be
removed from the game. That's really what's happening. So
we can be tough, and they're going to be great hits and it's going to
be a physical game. But it's not going to be intentional above
Q. Over these next few weeks getting closer and closer to the
start of the season, what are your greatest points of emphasis overall
in terms of getting this team game ready?
COACH MILES: What we're doing is going through all of the
situations that we go through yearly at this time. We're talking
red zone, tight zone now. We'll talk coming out, backed up.
We'll talk four‑minute, four‑minute is kind of a sore point for
me. I want to practice it significantly in these next couple of
Other than that it will be offense, defense and special teams, and
really getting the guys in the right spots. There are a number of
very talented guys that have just arrived. We want to make sure
we get them in the right spots to get them on the field.
Q. Can you reference four‑minutes?
COACH MILES: Four‑minute is the back end of the game where you
have the lead and/or defensively you don't have the lead and you have
to get the ball back. It's a piece of time where the defense is
more likely to take chances, be zero, all coverage, down low.
It's a place too if we're good at it, we win two more ballgames, so
that's the emphasis.
Q. Other than kind of forcing TCU to have to prepare for the
possibility of Jeremy Hill playing, what is not telling us and not
announcing it, what else does that accomplish? Are there other
benefits to it and how does the team respond not knowing if he'll be
there or not?
COACH MILES: The idea that you have a discipline that is
reflective of in‑house, it's team in nature, and it doesn't reflect
outside opinion. Outside opinion can be self‑serving, depending
on the location that you live in. It's really egregious or it's
not that bad at all.
So what we're going to do is talk about our culture, and punishment
will be dealt in an appropriate fashion.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: I'm not to that point yet. We're so far away
from TCU; I can't tell you.
Q. You guys are a little bit of an underdog as far as outside
expectations in this room, but you have thrived from that in years
past. Next question, your large group of juniors made their foray
onto the field this weekend, many of them having an impact, and
specifically what Tyrann was able to do after a year away from the game?
COACH MILES: Tyrann is obviously playing very well at Arizona,
Peterson also and Minter so Arizona might be LSU West. So we'll
look forward to kind of following guys. Telling me that Bennie
Logan had a sack and really that Matt Flynn played pretty well at
Oakland. Yeah, it's fun. I don't watch Sunday football
because I don't have the opportunity, but when I get to the channels or
the news comes on and I'm about ready to close my eyes, it's nice to
see a Tiger playing in a professional league and having success.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: Again, it's not something that's affected us.
We have always felt we need to earn our position, and we understand
that that people have an opinion that would not necessarily reflect the
hard work, effort and energy of the people in this room. So we
like us we like us and we like us in every game.
Q. If you would, Coach, maybe some impressions of Travin Dural so
far in camp, and what's he bring this year that you didn't have a year
COACH MILES: Travin's playing better, he's got great speed and
the ability to go up and get the ball. He's developing really
well, and I would expect to see him on the field in the game.
Q. Where's your chain that used to be over there?
COACH MILES: The chain?
Q. Yeah, the big chain.
COACH MILES: It's coming. It's being prepared. What
happens is it's claimed and a new coat of paint is put over the
top. So this year's team, once they recommit to this room, this
team will sign on top. So every year that we sign, there is that
signature still on that chain within the layer, if you will.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH MILES: I can't answer that question. There are a
multitude of guys that are forthcoming, outgoing, gregarious, big
smiles. From Anthony Johnson to ‑‑ pick one.
Q. Coach, would you talk about Kenny Hill and what kind of year
COACH MILES: Kenny is coming lighter, faster. Looking for
an opportunity to play significant football with four tailbacks.
He's certainly going to be a guy that's carried and will be relied on
to carry his share of the balls.
Q. What makes Dallas an attractive destination for you to keep
coming back to?
COACH MILES: It's a place that I'm comfortable with. I used
to live over there in Hackberry Creek. It's always fun to go by
the Anatole, and certainly the place that we're playing. It's
spectacular. We have enough people in the Dallas area that we're
recruiting, it's close enough so that the LSU faithful can get
there. We enjoy that neck of the woods.
Q. If Josh Williford is not able to play at some point in this
season, you'll have potentially an offensive starting unit without a
senior for the first time in a long time, if my memory's correct.
How's that unit coming together?
COACH MILES: I really kind of like what our offensive line
is. I think Hawkins may be an undersung, very dominant player at
the right side. I think you're looking at a center spot with both
Porter and Ethan Pocic that will give you what you want. Trai
Turner at the right guard, and then side, Vadal over there has given us
real power besides La'el Collins. I think they're coming together
First of all, the knowledge that Alexander brings to the left side, you
play as much football as he has, even as a young player, he brings over
a lot of knowledge, and those two men beside each other, you know,
they're going to give us a real push.
I like the center combination, Ethan Pocic is coming. He showed
up here in spring of the year, and he's played and competed.
Elliott Porter, to me, is in position to have a great fall, so I like
Q. My question was exactly about the battle between Porter and
Pocic. If Pocic does start, and I know you can't make a
determination, I think he'll be the first true freshman to start at LSU
on the offensive line since Alan Faneca did many years ago. Is
that still too close to call on who will start at center?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I think both guys will play significant
football. It would be hard for me to say in every game, but I
would have to say routinely throughout the season.
I can't tell you who exactly is going to be the guy. I wouldn't
be surprised if Elliott Porter held it down the entire year.
We'll have to see how it goes.
Q. Not a question, but an observation. Last year I did an
analysis of the players from the different schools in the NFL.
LSU was third behind USC and Ohio State this year. I haven't done
a complete analysis, but LSU was up three players with 48 on the pre ‑‑
season rosters and Alabama had 32. Care to comment on that?
COACH MILES: Well, I can tell you that we're doing a great job
evaluating our players as we recruit them. It's a very honest
opportunity at the end of play here. Our guys successfully go on
to the NFL.
Spencer Wares looked like he had about five yards a carry and several
receptions. It's going to be nice to watch games on Sunday as
well, won't it?
Q. Coach, we just talked about Pocic and Jefferson and
Beckwith. Can you, as a whole, generalize this group of true
freshmen and what kind of an impact they're going to have on this
COACH MILES: We've counted on them to have real strong impact
considering we've graduated 11 of our juniors on to the NFL
early. Our guys leave this room to the NFL and we have to have
impact from our young team. That freshman class, those newcomers
that arrive in this room. I think we recruited to that. I
think it was an opportunity that these guys saw and seized.
I think that they look forward to coming into this room and being like
others that have played here and had impact as really as true freshmen
or as newcomers.
Q. Can you kind of speak to what's been the trademark of your
offense, the power running game, and the backs you have combined with
the offensive line this year? Your confidence to be able to
lineup and run it like you have in the past?
COACH MILES: Well, I think our fullbacks, our offensive line, I
think Dillon Gordon at the tight end spot is a big, strong, powerful
man. I think that the opportunity to rush the football as we have
in the past is certainly there now. Combine that with play action
and the things that Cam would bring.
I think the advantages are to keep the strength that we've had, but
build on it with the ability to throw the football in like situations,
in like formations, so the defense cannot determine whether it's run or