LSU coach Les Miles says he thinks his young defensive backs are looking forward to the challenge of facing Washington’s passing offense Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
True freshmen cornerback Jalen Mills and redshirt freshman Jalen Collins made their college debut in a 41-14 victory against North Texas in the season opener last Saturday. They figure to be tested more by the Huskies (1-0) and their record-setting quarterback, Keith Price.
“They have a very good receiving corps and a very, very talented quarterback,” Miles said Wednesday morning during the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. “I think our guys see it as a challenge and they’re looking forward to it. I think they want to contribute and show their skill in Tiger Stadium instead of just 7-on-7 (drills) in the backyard.”
Miles said the defensive backs work against the Tigers wide receivers in practice will be good preparation for Washington.
“(The wide receivers) are going to line up against our defense and in some instances they will run the plays that the Washington team would run,” Miles said. “We need to prepare our secondary and the wide receivers understand that.”
Continuing with the theme of young players, Miles was asked about his young linebackers. LSU has six true freshman linebackers, four of whom played in the opener, most notably Deion Jones, who made a tackle for a 7-yard loss on his first play, and Kwon Alexander, who recovered a fumble late in the game.
“You see some youth, some raw ability,” Miles said. “Any time you play a young player you like a lot of the things that he does and you try to get him to not do some things.”
A week earlier Miles participated in the call while Hurricane Isaac was headed toward Baton Rouge, leading Miles to cancel that day’s practice. He said that’s the only time in his career as a head coach that he had to cancel a Wednesday practice.
The Tigers had 10 penalties and were sloppy at times during the opener.
“I think our players understood that (canceling practice) was the right thing to do,” Miles said. “As a coach I hate to forego a practice, but I’m not sure some players (did). There’s some wear and tear on your team when you’re laying low and hunkered down, but I’m not sure that what you saw Saturday had anything to do with the storm.”