BLOG: Monday with Miles
Coach hopeful for short recovery for Copeland; will reassess at end of week
The time for messing around is over.
It’s go time. Or geaux time as people around these parts might call it.
Either way, the Tigers are about to begin a eight-week, seven-game SEC gauntlet - the first five of which currently hold a combined record of 21-1. It all starts this week at Florida.
That means the Bayou Bengals better improve in a hurry from the way they played in a two-point win over Auburn (despite being favored by nearly three touchdowns) and a 16-point win over Towson (where they would have been favored by about 40-45 had there been a line).
But the reaction to LSU’s sudden downfall and Florida’s sudden rise has been overstated in this town, but not in Vegas, where LSU has opened up as a 2.5 or three point favorite. It’s a far cry from the Tigers’ previous lines, but it at least shows that LSU is indeed a better team than Florida.
With game week set to begin for the Tigers’ first 2:30 p.m. CBS kickoff of the year, LSU head coach Les Miles will take the podium at 12:30 for his weekly meeting with the media.
I’d expect the headman to be quite stern (as he was following the Towson game) and continue lamenting the fact that his team needs to be more disciplined and focused this Saturday than it was in the past two Saturdays.
Also look for the coach to address the injury prognosis of fullback J.C. Copeland, who left the Towson game with an apparent knee injury. If he’s out for an extended period of time, that’s a devastating blow to LSU’s rushing attack.
The Tigers had lineup switches at offensive tackle and Sam linebacker, giving a pair of Alexander’s, Vadal and Kwon, their first career starts. Will Miles stick with the freshmen or go back to veterans Josh Dworaczyk and Luke Muncie?
Stay tuned to find out.
12:33 p.m. Update
Miles says the Towson team earned their respect in Tiger Stadium. I sure hope so. He reiterates that he didn’t get the point across to his team about Towson being a conference-championship team
-Miles says, “I’m glad they’re getting them out of the way early,” in regard to the turnovers. We’ll see if that proves true. He says he’ll mention ball security every day this week. “We’re not happy with the penalties. We will not take the turnovers.”
-Coach laments Mett for trying to extend plays too much. He wants him to get the ball out of his hands quicker.
-Coach is struggling with missed tackles (many by guys who shouldn’t miss them, he says). Again says he must not have gotten the message across.
12:39 p.m. Update
-He says game was eye-opening as they look forward to Florida
-Miles is asked to address the offensive line’s pass protection. He mention’s the freshman (referring to Vadal Alexander) and says he needs to gain experience and Zach Mettenbegrer needs to get rid of the ball quicker. He concedes that it may result in more punts, but it will also decease the negative plays.
-”We’re hopeful for a short recovery,” in regard to J.C. Copeland. He said they’ll get to the back end of the week and reassess, and he’s optimistic there. He said all players with nicks should play this weekend with the exception of Copeland. I’m assuming he forgot to mention Blue, because I doubt he’ll play this weekend.
Miles said Kwon played extremely well for a young guy. Not perfect, but it will come quickly. On Vadal, he said that he doesn’t know that his immediate play will be in the same that Kwon’s was. I’d assume that RT is a much more difficult position to play than SLB.
-Miles says that Dworaczyk will be in better position to play Saturday. He didn’t play against Towson. Miles will make decision on starters at tackles as they get closer to game time.
-Miles agrees with assertions by OBJ and Mett that a lot of the playbook hasn’t been tapped into yet, but he says that it was part of the plan anyway (to show it later in the season). The players expressed frustration with vanilla play calling after the Towson game. They also expressed lack of trust between receivers and the quarterback as well as players and coaches. Miles did not address that part.
-Miles mentions Kenny Hilliard, Jeremy Hill and Connor Neighbors as backup options at fullback. He says Neighbors would be a great way to go. The biggest loss in Copeland is that he was capable of running the ball and blocking. You’re not getting both out of the three backup options, so LSU becomes much more predictable offensively.
-The coach is asked if it’s a relief to not have to worry about getting his team up this week, and he chuckles. He kinda admits it without saying it. He adds that there’s no factor in LSU having a weaker-early-season slate in terms of his team being slower to get the intensity up in 2012
-Miles says Luke Muncie might well play more significant snaps this Saturday. He had a virus last week and played only special teams versus Towson. Miles said Spencer Ware leaving the Towson game favoring his shoulder was no different than any player leaving a game with bumps and bruises after playing a quality game. That’s good news there.
-Miles again says Mett needs to have an internal clock and stop trying to stretch out plays. He wants him to have more awareness there and really seems to want his QB to throw the ball away more. Miles says Zach shares in but is not the reason for the ineffectiveness in the passing game. Also places blame on RBs, WRs and OL. Again says they will improve. We’ve heard that before. We’ll see this weekend at Florida.