SEC TELECONFERENCE: Les Miles
Tiger coach proud of his team’s reaction to Alabama loss
LSU won’t quickly forget November 3.
The Tigers’ 21-17 loss to Alabama, who grabbed a late lead from seemingly nowhere and held on, will remain a painful memory.
Rather than forget that game, head coach Les Miles wants to use it.
“In a game where you play extremely hard, give everything you have — you carry that with you,” Miles said in his weekly teleconference with the SEC media. “The extent that you didn’t get victory, theres an absence.”
Abstract as that might sound, Miles conveyed a sense of motivation in his team.
“Our football team is first and foremost a very capable club,” he said. “They want victory. It’s a weekly need.”
That want has been reflected on the practice field, Miles said, an important note ahead of Saturday’s vital home set with No. 22 Mississippi State.
“Our practices have been good,” he said. “They continue to improve, and that’s what we require from them. If they continue to do that, we’ll finish this season strong.”
State enters on the heels of two losses in two weeks, one at the hand of Alabama and another to Texas A&M. But Miles said his team isn’t fooled: the Bulldogs can play.
“We’re fortunate that it’s a very quality opponent beyond the Alabama game because our team needs to play a team with ability,” he said. “They’re a talented team. They have great concepts on offense, defense, and special teams, and [State head coach] Dan Mullen has done a great job there.”
Mullen’s main weapons are running back LaDarius Perkins — third in the SEC in rushing yards per game — and quarterback Tyler Russell, who has thrown 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions all season. Seven of those scores have gone to senior WR Chad Bumphis, who now holds State’s all-time touchdown receptions record.
“[Russell] a very capable passer, a guy that really has a nice scheme for them,” Miles said. “They get the ball to a more veteran, more established wide receiver group. Chad Bumphis is a very talented guy. What they’re doing is using their talent very effectively.”
As to using his own talent more effectively, Miles said he’s looking to get his senior WR Russell Shepard more involved in the game plan going forward. Shepard is averaging 12.9 yards per touch but has only seen the ball 17 times all season (11 rushes, six receptions).
“We expect to get him more involved,” Miles said. “There’s a number of snaps that Russell Shepard can play for us. We have enjoyed in him that he’s a tremendously willing participant to do anything we ask him to do. He’s a very good leader for us. He’s important in every game plan.”
Miles will address the media next tonight at 6:30 p.m. following LSU’s practice, before heading to T.J. Ribs for his weekly radio show.