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|Weekly 'Lunch with Les'|
LSU football coach Les Miles addressed the media on Monday for his weekly "Lunch with Les."
The following are a few comments from Miles about the upcoming game against Louisiana-Lafayette this Saturday as well as thoughts on individual players performance so far.
What improvements has Louisiana-Lafayette made since LSU played them in 2006?
"The only thing that comes to mind is that they are probably a better offensive team than the team we just played. Defensively, they play very physical. It's a very capable defense, and I believe that they are playing with a real confidence. Obviously, coming off the Kansas State victory, that was a big win for that program, and I know Kansas State is a very quality football team, so we see the improvement really in all three phases."
Is ULL is better than Vanderbilt?
"I think that they are a better offensive team than the team that we just played."
How does the depth chart change with Richard Murphy's injury?
"I think the three guys that will carry the ball a lot for us as we go forward will be Keiland Williams, Charles Scott and Trindon Holliday and not in that order. I think there is an ability that Charles Scott has that wants me and this team needs to play a little at fullback. I think that will happen really for the rest of the season."
Is the offensive line getting a consistent push?
"I think they are blocking it well. I don't know that we're really putting them in position at this point to really pile up the yards. I think we're getting there. Again, it's improvement that needs to take place across the board, and I think that's coming."
On R.J. Jackson's game...
"He's just become so reliable to do exactly the right thing, and he sees himself making the plays that we need him to make. He made a big play in that game. He went up for a ball that was contested, made a great catch and put us in position to make that late field goal at the end of the half. I guess what I'm saying is that we expect him to make those plays again and again, and he becomes a guy like Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver, a guy that we really count on to make plays."
Did the team improve from Week 1 to Week 2?
"I think that there is probably a strong improvement in special teams and in a number of spots. I want it to be a regular improvement on offense and defense that's visible week after week. I think the best teams make that improvement and play their best football at the end, and certainly, that's the goal."
Is ULL's offensive scheme better than Vanderbilt's or are the players are better?
"I just think their quarterback is a really good thrower. I think that they have ability to maybe do a few more things offensively than Vanderbilt did. Any time that you get beyond a team with victory, it's much easier to discount their abilities because frankly, you won that, and Lord, I'm thankful that we did. It just appears that the next opponent is pretty talented."
On DE Rahim Alemů
"I think he is playing with a veteran feel to him and a passion that he's always had that allows him to understand more fully what's expected of him. Instead of just coming off the football, he's recognizing back-field sets and much more what the opponent is doing and how it will affect his technique. I think that they need to concern themselves with him. He comes to the line of scrimmage pretty strong. I think he's seen some attention there, but I don't know that it's undue attention because frankly, there are some other players out there that they have to concern themselves with as well."
Will QB Russell Shepard get more opportunities with Murphy's injury?
"I think what Russell Shepard did in the game, certainly with his vision, let you know that he's very talented and can do some of those things. He needs to also mature a little bit and make sure he takes care of that ball. I think it's certainly a goal of ours to get him on the field and get him more touches as we go forward in the season."
On RB Charles Scott's willingness to play the fullback position...
"He's a team guy. He has always been. I enjoy it. One thing about Charles is that he's a guy that doesn't lack for confidence and wants to be on the field. He also pursues special teams on a pretty regular basis, so he's just a guy who wants to play."
On safeties Brandon Taylor and Karnell Hatcher...
"I like both of those young players. Brandon Taylor is going to be, in my opinion, a tremendous player over time. I think he's still learning, but one thing he does is he personally interprets his position with a great deal of contact. He loves to play the game. He'll tackle it, and he has great ball skills, so I think that we'll look forward to him being on the field a lot. I think Karnell Hatcher is also a guy that is again, a physical player and again, learning the position but again, should have a very strong career."
On Trindon Holliday's work as a punt returner...
"I think we are much improved in that position. He mishandled one punt, and the reason he did was that he lined up a little bit too shallow. He had to back pedal and made it a much more difficult punt. He needs to understand that we need to give these guys a chance to punt it. We have at times employed two returners, and all he has to do is field that deep punt. That's the one we want him to field, so I think he'll be fine there. What he's done in his ball skills over the time that we've had him is markedly improve. He's just a guy that, in my opinion, can make some plays for us. The return he had late in the fourth quarter certainly was a big play for us."
On the pass blocking and giving Jordan Jefferson more opportunities to stretch the field passing...
"We called some deep balls. We didn't necessarily hit them. That's always a part of the process. We want to throw the ball down the field certainly at times. I think our pass protection overall has really been pretty good. We do a lot of things with our pass protection and try to get the matchups that we want up front. I think that we are doing a good job with that. I think that our guys are pretty capable that way."
Is this team hungry for a dominant performance?
"We talk that way. That's what the focus is and where we are heading. It's a position that this team must understand that is that's all we're really about here. We want to have a great year. We want to have the opportunity to play for a championship, and with that in mind, it must continue to develop. It must play dominant football. Dominant football is what LSU has been about and will be about as we go forward."
On Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton's influence on Jordan Jefferson's maturity...
"I think coach Crowton is a great mentor and tutor of quarterbacks. He certainly has all the experience and the abilities that he can draw upon. I think it helps Jordan Jefferson tremendously. I think when you turn to a guy who has great experience and knows just how to bring a guy along, I think that is a tremendous advantage, and I think you see with each week that Jordan Jefferson is getting better."
On the defensive end position opposite of Rahim Alem...
"I think Pep (Lazarius Levingston) is ahead of schedule. I think it would maybe be a little hurried to suggest that he might be ready for this Saturday, but I think by Mississippi State, he'll be ready. I think that position is coming along. I really do. I think that spot behind Pep is being developed. I like Chancey Aghayere. I like Lavar Edwards. I like all those guys, and I think we'll have good defensive ends as we go forward."
On Brandon LaFell's game...
"Again, he's a veteran guy who has real athletic ability. It wouldn't be unusual for us to try to get a playmaker like him the ball. It appeared to me he carried the ball pretty well, and I'd like to get him some more touches on the perimeter."