Tag Archives: #Les Miles

LSU Camp Review: Week 1

Les Miles and LSU head into Week 2 of fall camp Monday.

Les Miles and LSU head into Week 2 of fall camp Monday.

CAMP REVIEW

Where They Stand

LSU completed its first week of fall practice on Saturday with the team’s first two-a-days (both practices were completely closed to reporters). The Tigers are one-quarter of the way through preseason practices and will have their first scrimmage (closed) Saturday.

Three Questions Answered

Jamal Adams got the best of Malachi Dupre during the Big Cat drill.

Jamal Adams got the best of Malachi Dupre during the Big Cat drill.

  • Who has the edge at right guard? It appears that senior Hoko Fanaika has, at least, a slight edge in the battle with Evan Washington for the starting right guard spot. Still, there’s a way to go with this competition.
  • How much will freshman WR Malachi Dupre be involved in the offense? A lot. We’ve seen Dupre working with the veterans/starters during the first four days of split-squad scrimmages. He’s impressed teammates and coaches.
  • Who among the young defensive tackles will step up? Frank Herron. Coach Les Miles called Herron a “beast” earlier this week, and players have raved about Herron’s non-stop motor. He appears to be the favorite to take over for injured Quentin Thomas.
Leonard Fournette was the No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation.

Leonard Fournette was the No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation.

Three Questions Unanswered

  • Who will replace Odell Beckham Jr. as the return man? Miles would not reveal any names when asked this week, and reporters aren’t privy to those portions of practice. Travin Dural and Terrence Magee are listed on the depth chart, but that’s not in stone.
  • Is Leonard Fournette living up to the hype? The No. 1 question fans want answered. Stop asking. We might not know until Aug. 30. Reporters have only seen him for a brief time in full pads. One thing’s clear – he’s a big guy, especially in pads.

Best Of Week 1

  • Mills returns: Jalen Mills, booked on a felony, was charged for misdemeanor simple battery. That was enough for Miles. He allowed Mills to return to a D that needs him. He knows every position, is expected to start at safety and be the secondary’s signal-caller.

Worst Of Week 1

Quentin Thomas, the day before his season-ending injury. (BILL FEIG)

Quentin Thomas, the day before his season-ending injury. (BILL FEIG)

  • Thomas out: Projected starting defensive tackle Quentin Thomas tore his biceps and is out for the season. A redshirt junior, Thomas leaves the tackle position low on experience. The Tigers have just one other tackle who’s played meaningful game snaps.

Trending Down

  • Defensive line: Thomas’ injury is a hit to the depth and experience at tackle.
  • Offense: Miles said earlier this week that the D is head of the O. Time to get it in gear.

Trending Up

  • Leonard Fournette: His pure size is enough to have fans drooling about the prospects.
  • Linebackers: This deep, strong unit is full of experience and talent.

Summer Scouting: New Mexico State

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: Sept. 27 (time TBA)
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: vs. MississippiState and at Auburn

Team glance

  • Coach (year): Doug Martin (2nd year)
  • 2013 record: 2-10 (independent)
  • 2013 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 11
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 9th in Sun Belt

SPRING STORYLINE

Passing game: Tyler Rogers, a dual-threat QB who transferred from Arizona Western, has been a central figure in the off season in Las Cruces. He passed for 1,832 yards and 14 touchdowns (seven interceptions) last season as a freshman in junior college. He also ran for 364 yards and a team-best 10 scores. New MexicoState lost its top receiver, Austin Franklin, early to the NFL. Franklin’s 670 yards receiving last year was 366 more than the next guy.

BIGGEST THREAT

Offensive line: The Aggies lose their top receiver and running back, but they return a whopping four starters on the offensive line, including three upperclassmen. Senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a 6-2, 295-pounder from Texas who has drawn the eyes of NFL scouts. He was one of 64 centers on the 2014 Remington Trophy watch list released last month.

WEAK SPOT

The defense: This unit lost a whopping seven starters, but that might not be a negative. Last year’s defense finished 124th out of 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense. The Aggies allowed 549 yards a game. That was the worst by nearly 20 yards. Nine opponents in 2013 scored 40 or more points against New MexicoState and one put up 66. That unit lost four starters among the front seven and three defensive backs.

Summer Scouting: Louisiana-Monroe

Pete Thomas is on his third school after transferring to Louisiana-Monroe this spring. (AP)

Pete Thomas is on his third school after transferring to Louisiana-Monroe this spring. (AP)

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: 6 p.m., Sept. 13
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: vs. Sam Houston State and vs. Mississippi State

Louisiana-Monroe at a glance

  • Coach (year): Todd Berry (5th)
  • 2013 record: 6-6 (4-3, t3rd Sun Belt)
  • 2013 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 13
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 3rd in Sun Belt

SPRING STORYLINE

Third time charm: Quarterback Pete Thomas transferred from Colorado State to North Carolina State and, now, to Louisiana-Monroe in May. He missed spring practice with the Warhawks, but the California native is expected to be the favorite to claim the starting job. Thomas was a former four-star rated recruit by Rivals.com. Because of coaching changes at Colorado State and NC State, he’s in Louisiana. Thomas will have to win the job in fall camp over junior Brayle Brown. In 30 career games with both Colorado State and NC State, Thomas has thrown for 5,936 yards, 22 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

BIGGEST THREAT

WR Rashon Ceasar: The speedster from Clinton caught 65 passes for 964 yards a year ago. He led the Warhawks receiving corps in yards by nearly 600 and had 23 more catches than the next guy. An All-Sun Belt second team member last season, Ceasar also doubles as a punt returner. He took one 88 yards for a score last season.

WEAK SPOT

Offensive line: The Warhawks have to replace two starters on a front that really struggled a year ago. UL-Monroe was toward the bottom in the Sun Belt in sacks allowed and rushing yards a game, stats that point to a weak O-line. The team has shifted a few of its returning starters to different spots on the front. The Warhawks hope that – and the fact that the line will include five seniors – will improve the unit.

Previous posts

Summer Scouting: Wisconsin

Melvin Gordon is a preseason Heisman favorite. (espn.com)

Melvin Gordon is a preseason Heisman favorite. (espn.com)

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: 8 p.m. Aug. 30
  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
  • Early spread: LSU -7
  • Who’s before and after: Season opener and vs. Sam Houston State

Wisconsin at a glance

  • Coach (year): Gary Anderson (2nd)
  • 2013 record: 9-4 (6-2, 2nd Big Ten Leaders)
  • 2013 postseason: Lost 34-24 to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl
  • Returning starters: 11
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 2nd in Big Ten West; 19th nationally
Joel Stave was Wisconsin's starting quarterback in 2013, but he might have to fight for the spot in fall camp. (badgerherald.com)

Joel Stave was Wisconsin’s starting quarterback in 2013, but he might have to fight for the spot in fall camp. (badgerherald.com)

SPRING STORYLINE

Pro-style vs. dual-threat: A quarterback battled revved up for Wisconsin during spring practice, and it shows no signs of dying until deep into fall camp. The 2013 starter, pocket-passing Joel Stave, missed most of spring drills with a lingering shoulder injury suffered in the bowl game. That cracked the door for safety-turned-QB Tanner McEvoy. He pushed it open. McEvoy gives the Badgers a running threat behind center, something coach Gary Anderson hasn’t been shy about wanting. Stave appears to have returned to full strength. He joined the team this month as summer workouts began.

BIGGEST THREAT

RB Melvin Gordon: The 207-pound Gordon, in a No. 2 role, ran for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. The junior running back averaged 7.8 yards a pop and looks to be even more threatening now with 2013 senior starter James White gone. Many outlets have Gordon as one of the preseason favorites for the Heisman Trophy. Sporting News has him at No. 9 among its top 10 Hesiman candidates, and he’s 16 to 1 to win the big award according to Bovada.

WEAK SPOT

Front seven: Wisconsin doesn’t return a player on its front seven who started at least six games last season, and the Badgers could be relying upon a redshirt freshman to start at defensive end. In all, the seven projected starters in Wisconsin’s 3-4 front started a combined 10 games last year. The Badgers will replenish a unit that served as a strength a year ago. Wisconsin’s 2013 defense finished seventh nationally, allowing just 305 yards a game.

Alleva: Still crickets from Texas on the Les Miles front

From left to right, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, Kathy Miles, LSU coach Les Miles and Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay before the Outback team welcome dinner Thursday.

TAMPA, Fla. – LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said Monday he not received any contact from officials at Texas asking for permission to speak to coach Les Miles about their vacant head coaching position, and that he expects Miles to be with the Tigers for the foreseeable future.

“He has five years left on his contract and I expect him to be our coach for a long time to come,” said Alleva, here with the LSU traveling party as the Tigers prepare to take on Iowa in Wednesday’s Outback Bowl (noon CST, ESPN).

Texas coach Mack Brown is stepping down following Monday night’s Alamo Bowl against Oregon (5:45 p.m. CST, ESPN).

It must be said schools are not required to notify another school if they wish to speak to their coach about a job vacancy, but it is considered a professional courtesy.

Miles, who publicly has twice been considered for the job at Michigan (his alma mater) and once at Arkansas during his nine-year tenure at LSU, has been mentioned in some national media reports as a potential candidate for Texas, but there has been little about Miles and the Longhorns that seems more serious than that.

Miles himself brushed off any such talk at a pre-bowl media session in Baton Rouge.

“Oh, please, let’s not kick my name around,” he said.

Miles, 60, is 94-24 at LSU, with a BCS national championship and two Southeastern Conference titles. He has led the Tigers to a bowl all nine seasons in Baton Rouge and will likely have them in the final polls for the eighth time following this bowl game.

Bowl Chatter: Miles talks dodging Michigan, QBs, old bowl memories and more

Over the last few days, Les Miles says he began to see LSU’s bowl destination clearing up. That means he knew the chances of his current team playing that team were somewhat high.

Remember Les Miles’ impromptu press conference before the 2007 SEC championship game? It was about Michigan. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Several projections had LSU in the Gator Bowl against … that team: Michigan, Miles’ beloved alma mater and a team he refuses to schedule because of his deep passion for the Wolverines.

Crisis averted as the Outback picked LSU and Iowa.

“I think it would have been probably harder on me to play Michigan than it would have been our team. I think our team would have enjoyed the competition,” Miles said Sunday night after bowls were announced. “I have a very strong spot, favorite spot, in my heart for that team. It’d be hard for me to kind of gear up, but I certainly think that as we got closer to the game the need for competition (would take) over.”

Here are a few more nuggets from Miles’ Sunday night post-bowl announcement chat with reporters, first starting with the QB situation:

  • Zach Mettenberger, as you read in our story (linked above), will “be around” the program during his rehab from knee surgery and may travel with the team to Tampa. Players can help Mettenberger, Miles said, by rallying behind his backup, Anthony Jennings, who will start the bowl game. “I think our guys will kind of enjoy supporting Mettenberger by supporting the new quarterback,” the coach said. “Let’s surround the new QB with … making sure you’re in the right spots for the routes and that his preparation will go in a very comfortable directive way.”
  • Miles touched more on Mettenberger’s injury but wouldn’t reveal specifics (he’s set to have surgery over the next two weeks): “He, beyond rehabilitation, will be 100 percent. There’s no really long-term significant damage to the knee. It appears to be a simple repair. I think that it’s a little bit hard to predict before the surgery. I think it’s the kind of injury that certainly in a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, he’ll be ready to play.”

    Anthony Jennings will get his first career start in the Outback Bowl. (Bill Feig | The Advocate)

  • Miles was clear about one thing: LSU’s not changing the offense with Jennings under center: “We’re not in a position where we have to change a lot. We’ll run our offense just the way it is. That’ll benefit him,” Miles said. “His skill set is one that really he’s a very accurate thrower and I think he fits the offense that Zach was running so I don’t know that we’re adding” different plays.
  • Jennings will get double the amount of reps in practice than he’s had this season, Miles said, and Stephen Rivers will be LSU’s backup QB. “I think we’ll just turn and elevate the guys that were behind Zach,” Miles said.

Enough about QBs, right? After all, they’re not that important. Let’s hop on Memory Lane with Les:

  • As you probably read some in our story, Miles watched some of LSU’s last-second loss to Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. News broke hours after that game that Miles, then-Oklahoma State’s head coach, would replace Nick Saban. “I think (I was) at a bowl site myself to be honest with you,” Miles said. “I was kind of following it because there was some preliminary conversation had been made (with LSU about the job). I wanted to know how that (game) had finished. I recall a corner(back) came off a coverage late in the game and led to an Iowa victory.”
  • Miles has coached in the Outback Bowl previously. He was in the first year of his second stint as an assistant at Michigan in 1988 when the Wolverines came back to beat Alabama 28-24. He remembers the exact defense Alabama ran against Michigan (the Wolverines scored on a TD pass on a fourth-and-3 in the final seconds): “They played a double eagle cover zero.”
  • The late Joe Paterno hugs Les Miles after Penn State’s Capital One Bowl win in 2010 on a sloppy surface. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

    While we’re talking about old games in Florida … LSU last played in a bowl game in that state in the 2010 Capital One Bowl, a 19-17 loss to Penn State in rainy, sloppy conditions. On a muddy field, players’ jerseys were soaked and stained and solid footing was tough to come by. Miles knows things can’t be worse on Trip No. 2 to Florida. “I know that the surface will be a lot better,” he said. “I know that we’ll look forward to having a fast track as opposed to a place where a dogsled could have easily gotten us where we needed to go.”

Odds and ins:

  • Miles will follow his normal bowl practice plans. The starters will face each other early on during bowl practice before the specific game plan on Iowa is installed. “We’ve always done a good versus good to get the speed of the game up,” Miles said. “And not necessarily going to practice against the specifics of Iowa. Getting our legs back underneath us. That’s always been the fastest way for us to get back. Then kind of the … institute the piece of theIowagame plan.”
  • Miles will begin talking to juniors about their decisions in declaring for the NFL Draft after next week (finals week), he said. It’s a time of year that’s annually “set up in the calendar,” Miles said.
  • Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered what Miles said was a “significant bruise” to his hip and will be healthy and available for the bowl game. Miles said Beckham could have played if LSU had a game Sunday. Meanwhile, safety Corey Thompson suffered a season-ending knee injury against Texas A&M and will be out for the bowl game, as we reported last week.
  • University High meets John Curtis on Thursday in the LHSAA Division II state title game. Les’ son, Manny, quarterbacks U-High. So, yeah, that was a topic of discussion at the media session. Miles will not be in a suite to watch the game but among the common folk at the dome, he said. This will be a rarity for Miles. He normally does not watch the LHSAA state championship games – many of them full of prospects – because it would burn an “in-home” visit with a recruit. But Thursday, he’s there as a dad. Well, maybe. “This year because of my status being the father, I’m allowed to sit and watch at least one of those games. Get in there early enough to get my seat,” a smiling Miles said, as if he might happen to watch parts of other games.

Miles speaks; We listen

Les Miles speaks with the media every Monday before that week’s game. We bring the interesting nuggets to you here.

  • Miles opened by paying tribute to the late Joe Dean, LSU’s former athletic director and basketball star. “The path we’re on here is based on, in part, his vision.”
  • Miles watched the wacky weekend of college football over the weekend during the bye. “If there’s anything better than college football, I haven’t found it.”
  • Miles on Manziel: “If there’s a better player in college football, I’d like to know who he is.”
  • LSU hasn’t played in Tiger Stadium in a month. “We’re looking forward to” that. “Can’t wait,” he said.
  • Miles touched on how Manziel is a more “capable” passer than last season. “Seems to be stronger and (have) the ability to throw it.” Miles said A&M has a better offense than last season. “Certainly, they’re better.”
  • How to defend Johnny? “Some of the things we used a year ago we’ll use, some we’ll not. … I think we have a nice scheme, a variety of ways to pressure him. Disguise some coverage. Get in the backfield. Move him when we can.”
  • Miles on holding possession and keeping the ball away from Manziel and the offense. “What we’re looking to do it maintain the ball and drive the length of the field. But you have to get seven points too.”
  • LSU slowed Manziel down last season. How? “We played our defense. … You have to be smart enough to make adjustments. We’re going to do similar things. Not necessarily what we exactly did a year ago.”
  • Miles on WR Mike Evans, A&M’s lead wideout: “He’s going to be a great challenge for us. Our guys are looking forward to it.”
  • Miles on Odell Beckham Jr.: “Impossible to cover him one on one.”
  • Miles on Mettenberger’s healthy (the QB said he sprained his ankle against Alabama: ”He’s going to practice. He practiced all three (practiced) last week.” Miles said Mettenberger had more of a contusion, not sprain.
  • Miles on Manziel’s elusiveness: “It’s an amazing thing.” Manziel often carries the ball with one hand has he’s galloping around. “It’s the darnest thing I’ve seen.”
  • Miles on what chasing Manziel means to the depth/fatigue of a D: “We’re going to play at least two deep and in some spots three.”
  • Miles says LSU is “interested in that style of quarterback,” referring to Manziel. “We look forward to the guy who can throw it and run it.” Miles, though, said LSU will still hand it off to a RB. LSU has two dual-threat QBs in Anthony Jennings and new signee Brandon Harris. It’s “the future of college football.”
  • Miles says he’s “not looking forward” to a shootout this Saturday. “I want the defense to stop them. I like my defense. I think they’ll be a challenge to A&M.”
  • Miles on the end of the Georgia-Auburn game: “I did the first thing very much like the fan, as the receiver … the Lord blessed that man.” … Said Miles: “That’s college football.”
  • Miles on recruiting  battles with A&M lately, since they joined the SEC. “We’ve run across them at times. We recognize some of the guys they have there.”
  • Miles on fake punt again Bama and having the D out there: “We didn’t attack line of scrimmage. The linebackers went running away with the counter.” Saban said he ran the fake punt because LSU put its D back on the field after the timeout. “If he’s telling me he wants to run fake punts against our defensive alignments, I’ll listen and be ready next time.”

Miles calls QB Harris ‘a future’ and more links

LSU coach Les Miles, during an unusual November in-home visit, called Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris “kind of a future for us,” the Shreveport Times reported Monday.

Les Miles and Cam Cameron exit LSU’s private plane for their visit to QB Brandon Harris (Douglas Collier | Shreveport Times).

Harris, a four-star rated prospect, used a new NCAA policy last week when he signed an Institutional Financial Aid Agreement to play for the Tigers. The NCAA legislation – which binds LSU to Harris and not Harris to the school – gives high school seniors who are on schedule to graduate at mid-year and who plan to enroll in college in spring an opportunity to sign early.

Coaches can then have access to these high school senior signees during what normally is considered a quiet period, time in which coaches cannot make contact. Miles used the legislation, visiting Harris on Monday along with LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

The most interesting nugget? Miles suggested that Harris could be the Tigers’ future at QB and would get every chance to win the job in the spring.

“Tremendous quarterback,” he told the Shreveport Times. “Kind of a future for us.”

There isn’t necessarily an heir apparent to senior starter Zach Mettenberger, Miles said. Freshman Anthony Jennings has seen limited time.

Said Miles of Harris: “He’ll be in in the spring. He’ll have an opportunity to compete and learn the offense. There’s not necessarily the next guy on campus. We’ll let competition make its way.”

And, now, for some links…

The Advocate

The Other Side (Texas A&M beat)

The Aftermath (Alabama-LSU)

 

Les Miles

LSU football coach Les Miles was a guest on the Tim Brando Show on Wednesday.

Miles talks about wanting an eight-game SEC schedule, the dominance of the SEC in national championship games and other subjects.

Here is the interview.

Highlights of the Les Miles’ interview on ESPN

LSU football coach Les Miles was interviewed by ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit today as part of the network’s spring football series.

Here are some of the highlights of what Miles said:

On the pairing of quarterback Zach Mettenberger with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron:

“I think it’s going very well.”

On LSU’s offense for the upcoming season

“We will always be able to do certain things…throw it, ball security and run it when we need to.”

On can LSU compete in the SEC West

“We really have not operated ever in this building to what is the view and potential view of the outside. We have a group of guys that are working like heck to get better. The great thing about the spring is that young players show for the first time: ‘Wow, he’s really, he’s improved, he’s matured, he’s stronger, he’s faster and now he has the capacity to take coaching. he’s better’ And we’re finding that our guys, that might not be household names for those people that meet those rosters, they’re still good players. They are LSU players.”

On the loss of players to the NFL

“It’s an interesting thing. In this program, the first time I lost a senior class I went: ‘WOW, how are we going to, how are we going to repair that void.” Because we always felt like we have great leadership here. The way we’ve matured as a program. Those young guys know that it’s not just the seniors that have to lead….”

On the Tigers schedule, which has some SEC Eastern division powers

“Certainly, I think they are putting us in a position to play in either division. We’re playing certainly the toughest schedule in the West and they’re picking the best teams that they can to get us out of the East.”

On if he were in an NFL room would he draft Tyrann Mathieu

“Yes, I would. Yes, I would. I see him as an immediate starter on special teams as a returner, kick, punt, spectacular ball skills. He’s been a great teammate. I would expect that, and certainly I think he can play in the secondary as well.”