When it comes to coachspeak, Les Miles remains in a class by himself.
Miles leads his undefeated, No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers into the Georgia Dome this Saturday. Their anticipated victory over Georgia? Merely the penultimate step en route to college football’s mythical championship.
Miles visited Atlanta on Sunday, appearing with Georgia coach Mark Richt at the official SEC Championship Game Preview Press Conference.
If you needed any clarification of LSU’s ability, status as the nation’s best team, game plan for Georgia, or reflections on the 12 games just played, Miles obliged.
I’m sure that after reading his remarks, you, too, will have a solid grasp on the reasons why LSU heads into Atlanta on top of the college football world. The transcript of his remarks was provided by asapsports.com.
In his opening comment, Miles gave the obligatory credit to Georgia: “Mark Richt has done a great job there. I can tell you that our football team is looking forward to competing against them. The opportunity to get through the regular season and get to a game that is representative of the conference championship is really the goal of our football team.”
Miles then spoke about the fabulous runs his team went on this season. They spotted Arkansas 14 points, and then outscored them, 41-3. They led Auburn 7-3 in the second quarter, and led 42-3 just 20 minutes later: “There’s a real competitive energy. It’s one of those things that you can feel a want and a desire. I think it’s the mark of a very good football team. I think, when you’re called upon to raise your level of performance, not to exceed that of your opponent to win the game, that’s competition, and I think our football team does that.”
Miles then spoke about the program’s dip after winning the 2007 national championship: “There’s an entitlement and want and expected to and all those things that really take in some way away from your competitiveness. I think there’s a piece that happens there that I didn’t do a great job with in the ’08 year and the ’09 year.”
Miles then moved on to his team’s resurgence last fall: “I felt like during the season last year our football team was really, really catching speed. I think the guys that we recruited in the youth of the secondary was really evaporating in the experience and the good plays and the confidence were coming of age.”
Next, Miles considered whether Georgia resembled any team that LSU played this year: “I think that these teams that we play are all different, and I think there’s—you look at them, and you see strengths, and you see how your match-ups are going to go. You look at where you would think there might be a vulnerability, and I don’t necessarily see any of that in Georgia. They kind of use their personnel in a different and kind of productive way. I think they’re similar in design but not necessarily that style of team by personnel. So making alike another team, I just haven’t been able to put that on there.”
Then Miles commented on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray: “He’s the kind of guy that you have to make sure you’re responsible. Your coverage, you have to focus your eyes and make sure you’re over the top. The guy can move the ball around to as many receivers as he gets it to; you have to have the ability to play coverage and certainly play coverage with the ability to get some pressure on that quarterback without necessarily calling extra guys in the rush.”
Miles also addressed the big games played on big stages by LSU this season: “It’s interesting, I’ve always heard it said that you only have so many of those games, per season, but what’s happened to us is that we started that way. We’ve had six games on the road. It’s been the kind of experience for us. I remember we were a little dead getting off the plane in West Virginia, and I remember we walked in the stadium, and it was just live, I mean, it was a big time environment and a wonderful night. Our guys just had come to life. To me, it’s been real — I guess what I’m saying is we’re used to playing in that environment. We’re used to being on the big stage. I think our guys translate the glare of the lights to making plays in the game. I think that they did that against Oregon in Dallas, and they’ve really done it right on through including Alabama at Alabama. So, we’re kind of comfortable in Domes, and we’ll look forward to seeing if we can do the exact same thing this Saturday.”
Miles then turned his analysis on the Georgia defense: “They deploy extremely well. You can seldom get an advantage in not having them in alignment that would benefit you. You’re going to have to get what you earn.”
What about continuing to rotate your running backs against the Georgia defense? “We’re going to do the things that we do, and we’re going to challenge that very capable Georgia defense. The need to have a variety of backs allows a fresh ball carrier.”
And now, for the summation: “Let’s hope we don’t have any more need for a coach to have to speak to the media before he plays a championship game. I don’t think there’s anything the coach needs to say to put a stamp on the season that would be any better than come to go Atlanta and playing great football and playing for the championship of our conference.
“I think most coaches, me included, are more comfortable with letting his football team speak for him rather than he speak for them.”