Monday With Les: Talking Texas, schooners (the boats!), Jennings, Iowa and more!

LSU coach Les Miles’ name has found its way on more than one list of candidates for the opening at Texas, where Mack Brown is stepping down.

Mack Brown was shown the door. Les Miles weighed in on that. (AP)

After the Tigers’ first of 12 bowl practices Monday, Miles was told that his name has been “kicked around” and then was asked about his thoughts on that.

“Oh please,” he began. “Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around.”

That won’t stop some from speculating and keeping Miles’ names on their lists. He’s been mentioned by ESPN, on air, as a candidate along with several websites.

Miles received a salary increase from $3.7 million to $4.3 million after last season and a two-year extension through the 2019 season.

Asked specifically about Brown’s departure, Miles said, “I think he’s done a great job there. I think that both he and Texas enjoyed the relationship. I wish both very well.”

And, now, for some nuggets from the rest of the post-practice presser with Miles:

Jennings

  • Miles on true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings’ first practice as the starter: “Anthony had a good practice today. One thing about it, he’s getting a little bit more reps. He’s going to come of age quickly. … We should expect to see him play well.”
  • On LSU’s offense with Jennings under center: “I haven’t seen much of it to be honest with you. It appeared to be very efficient with big-play potential in the last drive against Arkansas. Basically, it’s the same offense.”
  • More on Jennings and his teammates: “I think the veteran wide receivers are enjoying him because he’s working hard to get them the ball and doing a good job. I think there’s some get-after in supporting.”
  • Is Jennings “shaky” on any part of the playbook? “There’s not going to be any pieces of what we do that he won’t be able to do.”

Schooner Talk

Schooner, ship … whatever.

  • How’d Miles get to talking about schooners? He referenced Raymond James Stadium, site of the Outback Bowl, as having a “pirate schooner” in one end zone. As normal folk would say, it has a pirate ship (<—- see photo).
  • “They got the pirate schooner in there… I think it’s a great place to play. I’ve played there several times. I really enjoyed it so …”
  • A reporter asked what a schooner was (for the record, I’m from the coast and had already known what a schooner was; we have lots of them) and Miles really nailed the definition: “It’s a sailing ship with a significant hull being propelled by wind speed. I think I’m right. Somebody, Google that please!”
  • Wouldn’t you know that someone did and Miles spent 30 more seconds reading the definition. “Heeey, dadgonnit, I hit it pretty close didn’t I!” he exclaimed upon reading the definition from a reporter’s phone. He then read it aloud: “A sailing ship with two more more masts, typically the foremast smaller than the main mast and having a gaff-rigged lower mast or a tall beer glass. I think it was the previous. That was pretty good. With that, I’ll leave.”

The Hawkeyes

  • Who does Iowa remind Miles of among SEC tams? Glad you asked: Alabama, he said. “There are similarities between the Alabama team and Iowa.” Some of Iowa’s plays “they run” and the “style of throws that they throw” remind him of Bama.
  • Miles on Iowa’s defense, now that he’s had time to peruse the film: “I really enjoy their defense. It’s a very, very disciplined, physical group. They play extremely hard. I think they’re giving up 309 yards, something ridiculous. They tackle well. They’re physical. Very, very quality Big 10 defense.” The Hawkeyes D is ranked seventh nationally.
  • Miles called Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock “tremendously efficient. Can make all the throws. Gets his team in the right checks. Get’s out of his hand fast. Good player.”
  • Miles overall on the game: “It’s going to be a very competitive game. Fight, fight. Get to the end and decide the game.”
  • Miles was asked about getting his team fired up for a game against Iowa, a squad that had a ho-hum Big Ten season a year after missing a bowl game. He got a little loud here: “I want you to know one thing – if they don’t get fired up about playing in a quality bowl game against an opponent like Iowa, there’s something wrong with them. They’re not getting that from me, I promise you.”
  • How can Miles get their attention on the Hawkeyes? “Looking at film,” he said. Miles went on to say that Iowa is “exactly what” LSU needs at the end of the season, “a real challenge.”

Zach Mettenberger is around, Les Miles said. (AP)

Mett, the juniors and ticket sales

  • Miles on injured QB Zach Mettenberger: “He’s healing and he’s around. He’s out at practice. He’s still very much involved.”
  • Miles has met with a few of the juniors about leaving early for the NFL draft (11 left last season). Miles said he thinks there will be “a likelihood that there will be a greater reception to staying and being a part than leaving.” LSU has as many as six or seven junior who could leave early.
  • Miles said his team handled well the losses of 11 junior to the draft last season. The Tigers were “six plays away from playing in that final game,” he said, referencing, likely, the SEC championship game. “I think we’re awfully close to being that team.”
  • LSU has sold just 6,000 of an allotted 12,000 Outback Bowl tickets. Miles was asked about what he wants to tell those who haven’t bought tickets: “They’re going to miss a heck of a game. I promise you this – these Tigers are going to have to fight for victory. It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful competitive contest.”

Some non-Les nuggets:

  • QB Zach Mettenberger and safety Craig Loston were both invited to the Senior Bowl, team spokesman Michael Bonnette said. Loston will complete in the Jan. 25 all-star game in Mobile. Mettenberger, who suffered a season-ending injury against Arkansas, will not go to the Senior Bowl to participate in activities outside of the game, Bonnette said. He will instead spend it rehabbing.
  • LSU will practice, while in Tampa, at the University of Tampa. The team will practice five days in Tampa and seven days in Baton Rouge.