LSU coach Les Miles is king of the bizarre press conference (remember this and this). He had another Monday night, refusing to be directly quoted but telling a large group of reporters of his non-interest in the Michigan job.
In non-Michigan discussion, Miles spoke about a variety of news-worthy things, which are all here for you in this notebook. What’s not in there are a couple of items the coach spoke on: his quarterbacks and next year’s team.
The topic everyone wants to know about, right? LSU’s unsteady QB position is under evaluation, Miles said last week. Starter Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris are competing, as they have all season.
“Looking at competition at several spots, giving some other guys opportunities to step forward and see what they have. Brandon Harris is being groomed in a like fashion,” Miles said.
Miles suggested that LSU coaches this season have had plans to get Harris into the game with scripted plays to start games. Because of the momentum of the game, Miles said, he deviated from the script and left Jennings behind center.
“We’re so ready to go with Brandon Harris plays it’s not funny,” Miles said. “We just enjoyed where we’re at and what we were doing and how the game was going. I did not want to change the momentum at that point.”
Does Miles wish he had more competition at the QB spot? He paused and then answered.
“I think the guys that we have are pretty good players,” he said. “I think we’ll look forward to the guys that will be coming in. Again, the two that we have, (if) they continue to improve, we’ll like where they end up.”
The notion of LSU bringing in a junior college quarterback seemed to end with East Mississippi Community College QB Chad Kelly committing to Ole Miss, but Miles was asked Monday about the proposition of bringing in a midyear junior college QB.
It’s “more likely” that it won’t happen, the coach said.
A look to 2015
The 2015 season first starts with decisions from underclassmen. LSU has lost 18 redshirt sophomores or juniors to the NFL Draft the last two years.
As we reported in this notebook, five LSU players requested grades from the NFL College Advisory Committee. That’s the maximum number allowed for each team, a new limitation being imposed this year.
LSU is petitioning the committee to allow more than five, Miles said. The coach hinted that “eight or nine” players want a grade from the committee.
The five with grades already in likely come from this group: DE Danielle Hunter, OL Vadal Alexander, OL Jerald Hawkins, LB Kwon Alexander, CB Jalen Mills and CB Jalen Collins.
Miles and his coaches have started the annual process of speaking with underclassmen about their decisions.
“The conversations are informal until we get back the advice from the NFL,” Miles said. “When the NFL comes back and says when it is that’s likely they be drafted then things become … there’s more information to deal with, decisions can be made more effectively. I think there’s some telling points that can be made now. Those are quick, very brief conversations that allow us to broach the subject but not make any final decision.”
And, now, we turn to 2015. Miles suggested that his sales pitch in getting underclassmen to return involves LSU’s possibility of success next season in the SEC.
Here’s his quote about that:
“It’s basically revealing statistics and observations about conference opponents, guys going to have senior quarterbacks and teams going to lose this and lose that where we’re pretty much in good shape should we return our junior class,” Miles said.
Later in the press conference, the coach again hinted that LSU could be a championship-caliber team if juniors return for their senior seasons.
“I think that this team has the potential to play in championships,” he said. “Should the juniors recognize how close we are to being in the tournament that, frankly, this could be a great class for quite some time and a great team for quite some time.”