Inside: Miles on idea Leonard Fournette has struggled, Purdue quarterbacks in the SEC
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
It’s fair to say LSU’s coaching staff and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele have a fairly good read on one another. After all, Steele held that same position at LSU last season before making a lateral move from one SEC West rival to another back in December.
That being said, Les Miles doesn’t think that familiarity favors one side or the other heading into Saturday’s meeting at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“He probably knows more about us than we would like him to,” Miles said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning. “We probably know a little bit more about him than he would like us to. So I don’t know that there’s going to be a significant difference there. Certainly no advantage.
“Again, when the guy knows your thoughts, you know that’s probably the most indicative advantage that you can have.”
Miles has said repeatedly that there’s no hard feelings for Steele despite an abrupt departure that the head coach admittedly never saw coming. He was hired after John Chavis bolted the offseason prior to yet another SEC West rival, Texas A&M.
“He’s always run a very quality defense,” Miles said. “He’s been very organized. He was a great coordinator for me and I surely enjoyed his contributions to our program and the things that he did.”
For what it’s worth, Steele’s replacement, Dave Aranda, found himself in a similar situation to his predecessor when LSU fell to Wisconsin, his employer for three seasons, 16-14 at Lambeau Field in the season opener.
Here’s some more notes and quotes from Miles’ time on the Teleconference:
– Former Purdue transfers Danny Etling and Austin Appleby will start in for SEC schools LSU and Florida this week. Miles, a former Big 10 man in his own right, was asked about that: “It’s an unusual set of circumstances. We are kind of glad we have our Purdue guy.”
– One caller asked Miles about the perception that Leonard Fournette has “struggled out of the gate,” to which Miles pointed out the All-American has averaged 143 rushing yards per game despite an ankle injury: “I don’t call that struggling,” Miles said.
– Miles on former starting quarterback Brandon Harris: “He continues to work hard and prepare and do the things we need him to do, preparing as the starter as a backup. He still has a tremendous skill set. We’re watching him improve. We enjoy the fact he’s taking the opportunity to improve his abilities and work hard as opposed to another route in another direction.”
– Miles on former Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig as his receivers coach: “It makes the route combinations come to life.”