Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Big 3: Miles praises resurgent offense
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Improvement in the offense and bowl games were both big topics when LSU coach Les Miles spoke with the media Wednesday in the SEC's weekly teleconference. The Tigers (8-2), ranked No. 7 in the BCS, play their last home game Saturday against Ole Miss (5-5).
1. Offense has arrived: Asked about his teams improved offense in the last two games, Miles praised his offense.
"This is us," he said. "We're going to line up and make teams defend the run and the pass on the same down and distance."
The Tigers have improved drastically since the bye week, especially quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the passing game. The Tigers have thrown for 571 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in their last two games, against Alabama and Mississippi State. LSU has averaged 413.5 yards in those two games, despite playing against an Alabama defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country.
In the eight games before the bye -- a stretch that included three "guarantee" game opponents -- the Tigers averaged just 387.5 yards per game.
2. Going bowling: Miles had two comments about the postseason.
First, he said the SEC champion should receive "tremendous consideration" to play in the BCS National Championship game, even if some other teams go undefeated. The SEC lacks an undefeated team after Texas A&M's upset of Alabama, which is one of three one-loss SEC teams along with Georgia and Florida.
Georgia has already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Alabama could clinch a spot with an Iron Bowl win over Auburn. If each team takes care of its remaining game, the SEC champion will be 12-1.
Of his own team's bowl future, Miles said his team is "vaguely looking at what could be the landscape" of college football.
By winning out, LSU could end up in the SEC championship game, given the unlikely possibility of an Auburn upset of Alabama, or earn an at-large spot in a BCS bowl. On the other hand, the Tigers could win out and finish as one of six SEC teams with at least 10 wins (along with, potentially, Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) and wind up slipping all the way to the Chick-fil-A Bowl if bowls find the other 10-win teams more compelling in their matchups.
There's so much that might happen, Miles said there was one thing LSU can do to help its potential scenarios:
"We have to win this week," he said.
3. Williford working back: Ever since he was knocked out of the Florida game with a head injury Oct. 6, offensive guard Josh Williford has not played a down. Miles suggested he's still struggling with the injury, though he's hopeful the junior could return.
"He's progressing," Miles said. He added that Williford could be back for the regular-season finale against Arkansas.
Since Williford was hurt, redshirt freshman Trai Turner has replaced him and played well in four starts.