Miles spoke on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Les Miles acknowledged his punter had an up-and-down debut at Lambeau Field Saturday, but it doesn’t sound like he’s anywhere near ready to give up on his newest Aussie boot.
Miles, speaking on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning, indicated he’ll stick with Josh Growden as his punter moving forward, at least for now.
“We did not punt consistently,” Miles said. “There’s some things that we did extremely well, but there’s some things, hitting the ball, we did not punt consistently. If we can get that going, we really like our coverage. We like our scheme. We like where we’re going there.”
Growden, a 23-year-old redshirt freshman and LSU’s third consecutive Australian punter, punted seven times for an average of 32.4 yards Saturday with a long of 41 yards.
There were some highlights, namely his two kicks downed inside the 20-yard line, but there were definitely some shanks as well. He booted consecutive punts of 25 and 30 yards in the third quarter. The former set up Wisconsin’s lone touchdown drive.
“I thought Josh Growden, in his first starting assignment, didn’t hit it like he wanted,” Miles said, “but I think there’s a likelihood that he can be much more consistent as we move forward.”
The only other two punters on LSU’s roster are also freshmen, though one, like Growden, is older than your typical rookie: Zach Von Rosenberg, the former star pitcher from Zachary, and Bailey Raborn.
Here’s some other notes and tidbits from Miles on the teleconference:
– Miles was asked if he felt any pressure to win big Saturday against FCS foe Jacksonville State in order to impress the CFP Committee. Miles, mentioning that he once kneeled out the clock from an opponent’s 5-yard line, said he wasn’t interested in going for style points. “Frankly, we’ll have an opportunity to impress the committee later,” he said. “What we need to do is execute the play that’s called and do so in a matter that we need to and we’ll like the score. I don’t know that there’s any pressure on us to finish and win by any number. First of all, let’s secure victory.”
– Miles harped on the idea of shifting his team’s focus from Wisconsin to Jacksonville State: “We need to turn the page quickly because, frankly, Jacksonville State is a very good football team … We need to come off the experience we just had with a challenge.”
– Miles on the debut of nose tackle Travonte Valentine: “He played well. Very sticky against the run. Very powerful pushing pocket.”