Tag Archives: #LSU

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.”

LSU goes for ninth win in a row against Alcorn State

LSU will go for its ninth win in a row in tonight’s 6:30 p.m. game with Alcorn State at Alex Box Stadium.

The second-ranked Tigers (26-2) will also be trying to get within one win of matching the school’s all-time best start, which was a 28-2 mark by the 1986 team.

Here are the starting lineups:

Alcorn State (6-26)

1. 3B Cedric Walker (.345)

2. LF Shane Brown (.256)

3. SS Angel Rose (.333)

4. RF Josh Powell (.259)

5. CF Alvin Jackson  (.248)

6. DH Cedric Bell (.333)

7. 2B Ryant Piper (.189)

8. 1B Ashton Lewis (.233)

9. C Angel Polo (.167)

SP — RH Mundo Sanchez (0-1, 5.66)

LSU (26-2)

1. RF Jared Foster (.429)

2. CF Mark Laird (.337)

3. SS Alex Bregman (.442)

4. LF Raph Rhymes (.327)

5. 1B Mason Katz (.419)

6. 3B Christian Ibarra (.341)

7. DH Alex Edward (.174)

8. C Chris Chinea (.207)

9. 2B Casey Yocom (.333)

SP — RH Russell Reynolds (1-0, 0.53)

For in-game updates, follow @MickleAdvocate on Twitter.

Les Miles to work as NFL Network draft analyst

Having 13 underclassmen in the NFL Draft will pay dividends for LSU football coach Les Miles.

Miles, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Stanford coach David Shaw and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will be working as draft analysts for the NFL Network. All four coaches will be at the NFL Network set in New York City.

This will be the second straight year Miles has been asked to work as a draft analyst for the NFL Network.

Bowers’ return changes dynamic for Mizzou vs. LSU

Click here for audio: Missouri coah Frank Haith talks LSU

Laurence Bowers could only slam his palms together after plopping down in a folding chair on theMissouribench late in a victory againstAlabama.

With roughly four minutes left on Jan.8, the forward’s right knee crumpled after point guard Phil Pressey landed on it beneath the Missouri basket, leaving the Tigers’ senior forward and leading scorer with a right MCL sprain.

Expected to miss only two games, Bowers, who averages roughly 17 points and 7 rebounds per game, has sat out the past five for No. 17 MU (15-4, 4-2 SEC), which visits LSU (10-7, 1-5) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the PMAC.

Bowers’ absence was also clearly felt, depriving the Tigers of their best low-post scoring option, shifting the onus in the process to senior Connecticut transfer Alex Oriahki. Without Bowers, MU’s offense sputtered four days later in a 15-point loss at Ole Miss, and a week later when then-No. 10Floridatrounced the Tigers in an 83-52 victory inGainesville.

On Monday, coach Frank Haith told the MU press corps his team is poised to potentially get Bowers back in some form on Wednesday. Yet Haith, in his second season at the helm in Columbia, put a caveat in place: Any decision is based on how Bowers handles going full tilt in practice.

“It’s going to come down to my confidence and seeing him take a hit,” Haith said. “He’ll practice the next two days and see how his reaction is getting back out there to see if he’ll be able to play Wednesday.”

If Bowers is able to go, it will add a key match-up in the lane, presumably, against LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant, who has seemingly regained form after being slowed this season by a left calf strain and a high right ankle sprain. O’Bryant has averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds his past three games after a slow start in SEC play.

And it will present a tweaked challenge to LSU, coach Johnny Jones said Monday.

“He’s inside-outside, can play both so he gives them a different dimension that they don’t have right now on a consistent basis and something that they look to,” Jones said of Bowers. “He’s a very important piece to their team.”

Of course, grappling a knee injury is not new for Bowers, who missed last season with a torn ACL in his left knee. It left Missouri relying on a four-guard line-up, with now-graduated big man Ricardo Ratliffe working inside.

Yet, the set-up worked, with MU rolling to a 30-5 season and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before being bounced by No.15-seeded Norfolk(Va.) State in the first round.

But what made the experiment work for Missouri last season was four of its guards each carried at least two years of experience, paced by seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English and junior Michael Dixon.

Those three upperclassmen rated between No. 15 and No. 68 nationally in offensive efficiency, while Ratliffe led the nation in true shooting percentage — which accounts for the extra value of a 3-pointer — at 69.3 percent, according to kenpom.com.

Oh, and there was the orchestration efforts of then-sophomore point guard Phil Pressey.

In other words, MU, which ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency, compensated ably without Bowers with its chemistry and experience in the backcourt.

But this season, Haith has imported four transfers — former Auburn guard Earnest Ross, former Pepperdine scorer Keion Bell,Oregon guard Jabari Brown and Oriahki — toColumbiato fill the void. A talented core? Yes. However, it’s been an exercise in trying to formulate chemistry — a challenge that was suppose to be eased by having a veteran in Pressey running the show and Bowers inside.

Now,Missouristill ranks No. 25 in offensive efficiency, and its defense has improved markedly, rising from No. 117 to No. 71, according to KenPom.com. A closer look, though, shows the Tigers benefit from pounding the offensive boards, snaring 40.1 percent of their own misses for second possessions.

Here’s a key stat: Last season,Missourishot a 58.0 effective field goal percentage, tops in the country. This season? It’s at 50 percent, or No. 109 nationally. And Bowers, a 6-8, 227-pound power forward, is the key cog with MU pumping 28.7 percent of its shots through him when he’s on the floor.

Without him, the offense can become an exercise in Pressey turning a corner to get dribble penetration before kicking out to Ross,Belland Brown on the perimeter.

As Florida showed, though, and experienced team sound its rotation can contest those looks, holdingMissourito galling 6 of 24 (or half of its shots) from behind the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, the Tigers front line gimped to a 4 of 16 (25 percent) day from the floor.

“You take a great player out of your lineup, the focal point of what you do and you’ve got to get adjusted,” Haith said. “It took us a couple games for us to get adjusted, and, obviously, I thought we got better without him being there.”

In Bowers’ stead, Oriahki was, obviously, expected to provide a portion of the scoring inside — a struggle in his first three games against Ole Miss, Georgia and Florida by averaging just 7 points. Granted Oriahki has scored 18 points the past two games, victories against South Carolin aand Vanderbilt.

“Without Laurence in the lineup, he’s been our focal point in the low post,” Haith said. “I only think that makes us a better team when Laurence does come back to form. We’ve asked him to be a guy that can score in the paint for us, and be a presence inside-out, and I think he’s just gotten better and better as the year (has) gone on with that with that roll.”

Yet it’s a stark change from Oriahki’s role at UConn, where he was supplanted last season by freshman and NBA Draft pick Andre Drummond: Rebounding and screening. Frustrated at being relegated to the bench after being a key player in the Huskies run to a 2011 national title, Oriahki, who had already graduated, transferred to MU to play immediately alongside former AAU teammate Pressey.

Oriahki appears happier his minutes have returned by Haith said it’s still a dogged effort to convince him he can be an offensive threat.

“He’s a Looney Toon,” Haith said. “He says, ‘My best offense is when I rebound.’ We want him to score, too.”

But there’s the clear hope, too, that Oriahki has grown comfortable with an expanded scoring role as a traditional front-line player, allowing Bowers to work away from the rim in face-up situations while still providing a steady rebounding presence. Collapsing defenses on post-entry plays also presents the Tigers front-line with the ability to feed the ball to shooters, and take some pressure off Pressey.

“He’s a force to be dealt with inside,” Jones said of Oriahki. “He gives them definitely a strong option down there on the block. He’s one of those guys that you have to really be concerned about because if he’s down there one-on-one he’s shown that he’s a very capable scorer.”

LSU football finishes 12th, 14th in final polls

The LSU Tigers finished No. 12 in the final USA Today coaches’ poll and No. 14 in the final Associated Press Top 25.

Both rankings were released Tuesday morning following Alabama’s 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.

LSU (10-3) went into the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl ranked No. 7 in the coaches’ poll and No. 9 in the AP, but a last-second 25-24 loss to Clemson cost LSU a shot at a third straight top-10 finish.

It is the fifth straight year the Tigers have finished in the polls, tying the second-longest streak in school history. LSU finished in the polls six straight years from 1968-73.

LSU was the highest-ranked three-loss team in either poll.

Alabama finished a unanimous No. 1 in both polls, while previous No. 1 Notre Dame dropped to No. 3 in the coaches’ poll and No. 4 in the AP.

Seven SEC teams finished in the rankings as follows:

Alabama, 13-1: No. 1, both polls.

Georgia, 12-2: No. 4 coaches, No. 5 AP (tied with Texas A&M)

Texas A&M, 11-2: No. 5 coaches, No. 5 AP (tied with Georgia)

South Carolina, 11-2: No. 7 coaches, No. 8 AP

Florida, 11-2: No. 9 AP, No. 10 coaches

LSU, 10-3: No. 12 coaches, No. 14 AP

Vanderbilt (9-4): No. 20 coaches, No. 23 AP

To see the complete polls, CLICK HERE.

 

Tigers need help from the team they love to hate

If you’re an LSU, fan you should consider cheering up Lane Kiffin with a cookie bouquet, or sending Matt Barkley a “hang in there” tweet.

If you think LSU still has a shot at playing for the national championship, the Tigers will need help in a big way from the team Tiger fans love to hate the most – next to Alabama.

Despite being “buried” at No. 5 in this week’s BCS standings behind four undefeated teams – Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon – the Fighting Tigers still have a fighting chance at playing in the BCS National Championship Game.

Those hopes hinge on two key things:

1. Running the table, which means beating No. 1 Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas and now probably Georgia in the SEC Championship Game

2. Getting an double helping of an assist from Southern California.

USC dropped to 6-2 Saturday with a 39-36 loss at Arizona, and has hardly looked the part of a preseason No. 1 team on the road as it has in losses to the Wildcats and earlier this season at Stanford.

But the Trojans are better at home, and that is where they will have No. 4 Oregon this Saturday and No. 3 Notre Dame to wrap up the regular season on Nov. 24.

USC may look a bit shaky at the moment, but it still has the superb pass-and-catch combo of Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee, and still has a lot to play for itself. It can win the Pac-12 South and still go to the Rose Bowl. And of course beating Notre Dame is always an added bonus.

LSU fans love to cheer loudly in Tiger Stadium when the Trojans lose, but they’ll need to be cheering them on this Saturday night if they want to enhance their team’s chances of reaching the BCS top two.

Of course, beating Alabama is the top and toughest priority. LSU is a 9.5-point underdog against the Crimson Tide, a huge number for a home team that has won an NCAA-best 22 straight home games (longest active streak).

If LSU doesn’t win, it doesn’t matter one bit what USC does against the Ducks and the Irish. The big point spread speaks to the excellence with which Alabama has played this season and LSU’s offensive struggles.

It will be a difficult task for LSU, though not impossible, especially with the home crowd on its side.

ESPN going ‘inside’ LSU Tuesday

ESPN will go “Inside the Program” Tuesday with the LSU football team as the Tigers continue their preparations for Alabama.

ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown will conduct interviews with Miles, defensive coordinator John Chavis, Mettenberger, defensive end Barkevious Mingo and safety Eric Reid.

Tuesday’s schedule is just part of ESPN’s blanket coverage of the LSU-Alabama game.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” TV show will air live from LSU’s campus Saturday morning, while the “College GameDay” radio show will broadcast nearby.

ESPN the Magazine is also devoting an entire upcoming issue to the LSU-Alabama game.

The ESPN schedule Tuesday is as follows:

7 a.m.: Brown rides to work with Miles
8 a.m.: Brown live open for SportsCenter
9 a.m.: Miles interview (live)
10 a.m.: Chavis interview (live)
11 a.m.: Mettenberger interview (live)
Noon: Brown tour of LSU football operations building
1 p.m.: Mingo and Reid interview (live)
1:25 p.m.: Mingo and Reid (ESPNU)
2 p.m.: Brown on SportsCenter (Live)
2:30 p.m.: Brown on College Football Live

 

Healthy Gamecocks head to LSU on a roll

No. 3 South Carolina is healthy and on a roll as it prepares to play No. 9 LSU on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

The Gamecocks are 6-0 and 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference after a 35-7 thrashing of then-No. 6 Georgia last Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

“Our team is very healthy for the seventh game of the season,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday morning on the SEC coaches weekly teleconference. “We had a little flu bug early in the week, but hopefully that will be gone by Saturday.”

Spurrier said running back Marcus Lattimore, who missed much of last season because of a knee injury, is “very, very close to 100 percent.”

Lattimore is averaging 91.5 yards per game, 4.7 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns.

“We try to give the ball to him as much as we can, but we know we can’t give it to him every play,” Spurrier said. “We’ve got to mix in the throws and this, that and the other.”

Quarterback Connor Shaw has done a good job of mixing in all that other stuff. He’s the Gamecocks’ second-leading rusher and he tops the SEC in passing efficiency.

South Carolina is playing a Top 10 team for the second consecutive week, and the Gamecocks go to Florida next week. The Gators are ranked No. 4 after beating LSU 14-6 last week in Gainesville, Fla. In two weeks South Carolina plays host to Tennessee in what will be its second-to-last SEC game even though it will be just Oct. 27.

“It’s difficult, but we knew what it was in advance,” Spurrier said of the Gamecocks’ midseason gauntlet. “We were able to look ahead a little bit. At the beginning of the season we looked at it and we knew we had four straight against Georgia, LSU, Florida and Tennessee, which would make or break our season. So we tried our best to get ready to play all of them and here we are with number two in that stretch.”

Spurrier said it’s “very, very difficult” to go undefeated in the regular season and praised LSU for going 13-0 last season despite playing eight ranked teams.

“You’ve got to admire what LSU did last year in going undefeated, and they had a very difficult out-of-conference schedule,” he said. “What they did last year was truly an amazing run.”

 

 

Miles says Tigers still confident

LSU coach Les Miles said his team remains confident as it works to avoid just the second set of back-to-back losses in his eight seasons.

The ninth-ranked Tigers lost at Florida 14-6 last week and meet No. 3 South Carolina on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

“I think our players recognize that nobody is going to get this corrected but us,” Miles said Wednesday morning during the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. “Practice has been very good. We’ve not changed. It’s the same course, to improve. They have the right attitude and they’re responding well. We’ve had a loss or two here. We know how to respond.”

LSU is especially focused on improving its offensive production. Against the Gators, the Tigers did not score touchdown, were shut out in the second half and had just 42 yards and one first down running the football.

“It’s the thought process you have when you wake up with and it’s the thought process you have when you go to bed,” Miles said. “I think our coaching staff is doing exactly what it needs to do. We’re working at it, there’s great effort at practice. The offense wants to contribute and we hope to get it fixed so it can.”

Miles said the players don’t have any less belief in their ability to succeed.

“Our team has not lost confidence,” he said. “I don’t know if a loss of confidence is something that happens after one game. Confidence is something you have to have. You have to play with your stinger, if you will.”

The loss last week was the Tigers’ first regular-season loss since a defeat against Arkansas in the last game of the 2010 regular season.

“We’re looking forward to getting back on track,” Miles said. “It has been a long time since this program has lost a game in the regular season. There is a sting that is felt and a real want to redirect and get back on track.”

It will be a challenge to get back on track against the 6-0 Gamecocks, who have one of the most balanced teams in the SEC. Like LSU, South Carolina has two of the best defensive ends in the country.

A spotlight will be on Carolina’s tandem of Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor and LSU’s tandem of Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo.

“I think their defensive ends are as talented as any in the country,” Miles said. “I certainly would compare their ability with the very best defensive ends in the country.”

The Gamecocks have one of the most productive running backs in the country in Marcus Lattimore, and Connor Shaw leads the SEC in passing efficiency and he’s his team’s second-leading rusher.

“(Shaw) gets the ball in the hands of the guys who make it work,” Miles said. “He’s a very, very mobile quarterback. That opens things up for him to do the things he needs to do. With Marcus Lattimore and the many talented guys around him it just makes it work.

“He makes good decisions and gets the ball out of his hand. He’s not going to stay in the pocket for any length of time. If it doesn’t look like the play is opening up in a timely fashion he’s going to get out of there. He moves the chains.”

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier seems to have his most serious SEC title contender in his eight seasons.

“What he’s done at South Carolina is really recruit well,” Miles said. “They struggled early on (in Spurrier’s tenure) with their quarterback, but now that they’ve ironed that out they’re a much improved football ream. They’re as talented as the best teams we’ve played.”