In advance of LSU’s conference-opening contest against Mississippi State this weekend at Tiger Stadium, LSU coach Les Miles spent Wednesday night fielding questions from fans on his radio show from Baton Rouge’s T.J. Ribs restaurant. SEC Country was there to listen in. Here are the highlights of what Les Miles had to say:
- Not unlike every other time Miles has spoken this week, the biggest question on the callers’ minds related to the quarterback competition between Week 1 starter Brandon Harris and Week 2 finisher Danny Etling. Miles stuck to the script on this one, saying that he isn’t going to name a starter, but he expects Etling to open the game at quarterback. Miles added that one thing that differentiates Etling in the win over Jacksonville State was his ability to work tight ends and running backs into the game, saying:
“Danny used the width of the offense and got the ball to a number of people, got the ball to the guy who was open,” Miles said. “I think that allowed for us to have success not only scoring, but also running the football.”
Les just compared Harris to a batter in a slump and changing his spot in the batting order. Seems determined to play him at some point.
— Alex Hickey (@bigahickey) September 15, 2016
- Sticking with that theme, Miles had nothing but praise for his tight ends.
“Really the tight ends group for us has turned out to be a real bright spot for us,” Miles said. “Guys who can catch but also run block for us. Those are all things that are going to continue to be a part of our offense.”
- Given the recent stagnation of the LSU offense, it seems like an eternity ago that Zach Mettenberger, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry were leading an electric LSU offensive attack. But to Miles, the competition between Etling and Harris is an attempt to get back to that.
“That’s certainly the plan,” Miles said. “We have a couple of ways to attack through the air. We always have a balance and certainly we’re going to call the game along those lines as it reflect the ability of our quarterback to execute. I think Danny will be great, but I also look forward to the competition from Brandon.”
- One way the Tigers have already tried to return to their better offenses of the recent past was by sending offensive coordinator Cam Cameron back up to the booth instead of keeping him on the field as they did in the 2015 Texas Bowl and in the season opener against Wisconsin. To Miles, this helped Cameron call a more effective game.
“We felt like we were not getting as much as we could’ve if he had the glimpse of the field as well as the ability to change the call,” Miles said. “Really, it was that kind of decision making. If a guy can see the field and no one needs to tell them how it looks.”
- Between weeks one and two, LSU had to prepare for about as different of offensive schemes as possible between the conservative Wisconsin Badgers and the more spread-out Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Luckily for LSU, Mississippi State’s offense doesn’t look that different from Jacksonville State’s, something Miles said may play in the Tigers’ favor.
“We’re going against a mobile, dual threat quarterback. He can play-fake and zone-read. It takes a lot to defend. This team we’re playing is different than that, but certainly good at it as well.”