Head Coach Press Conference
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
How would you say your team improved as a unit throughout the season?
Kliff Kingsbury: “For us, I felt we started the season fairly strong, 3-0 in non-conference, played Baylor and TCU going into conference when they were hot and playing very well and then battled through, but by the end, I think the last two games, played our best football and felt like that is what we wanted to do and have a month to continue to try to get better and play one of the best teams we will have played all year. I like where we are at, but know that it is a big challenge ahead of us.”
Les Miles: “We are a team that has some youth and we started a couple of young freshman on the offensive line. I felt like they developed all year long. I think it’s an interesting thing, we have lost some guys at midstream and we were 7-0 and in really good position and we find ourselves starting guys in key contests that just didn’t have a lot of experience, the good news is they have grown up, they may have been playing as freshman then, but there are certainly sophomores or juniors today and we feel like we are in position as well to play our best football.”
What’s the benefit of playing in a bowl game or a neutral site game in Houston?
Les Miles: “We recruit here. I have to be very honest with you, I got off the plane today and realized it was a press conference. I knew I was going to go recruiting here. That happens after we leave. We have a tremendous fan base here. I can’t tell you how many energy, petroleum industry executives that LSU has right here in Houston and not only our fan base, but we draw a lot of students from Houston, so this will be a very nice trip for us, certainly the venue, the NRG Stadium, the AdvoCare Texas bowl, is exactly the style of bowl we would want to be in. It is right directly in the mainstream of our recruiting and fan base and the population that comes to our school. We are thrilled to have been here before, recognize the hospitality that (Chairman of the Board of Directors for the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl) Chris Hanslik and that staff will be a part of. We are excited and this is a tremendous opponent, talented football team, second in the nation offensively, talented quarterback, great running back and defense that plays very sound and over the top, so we recognize really in short order that Coach Kingsbury has done a great job and we are going to have to play well.”
Kliff Kingsbury: “Yeah, very similar, incredible recruiting base here as well as huge alumni base here, to play a top 20 team from the SEC, a premiere program like LSU has been under Coach Miles is a huge
What’s the one thing you guys take away from these extra bowl practices?
Kliff Kingsbury: “For us, just like any other college, I think your young guys that have red-shirted, that have really been doing scout team type duties and repping other people’s plays, now you get to coach them. Now you get to get them started moving into spring football with your terminology, how you coach, how you work, so those are invaluable practices and having not gone to a bowl game last year, it’s huge for us to get back, get our young guys developed and continue to move them forward.”
Les Miles: “The opportunity to practice some of those guys, in what we call young guys go, where they can line up against each other and get after it and run our plays, just puts them in great position for, if you look at it, spring ball is 15 practices and you are basically, you are not quite 15 practices here, but very close, so it’s an added spring. It’s very important to us and we are very fortunate to have the ability to be there annually.”
How much can having a bowl game in a fertile recruiting ground do for your recruiting?
Les Miles: “It’s not a place you, we won’t leave the stadium and go into somebody’s home, because it will be a dead period. It will be followed by local media and it will be followed by, I would not be surprised if some guys got tickets and came to the game. Certainly we feel like this information disseminates quickest from Houston.”
How will it affect them when recruits get a first-hand experience with the team?
Les Miles: “Yeah. Again, they would have to get to the stadiums themselves. We are not allowed to provide tickets and we don’t. It’s more the perimeter, the day in and day out press coverage of the event, really kind of saturates Houston and allows us to be really on the tips of people’s tongue a ton.”
Is the spread offense more dominant now in college football than the wishbone or veer was?
Kliff Kingsbury: “I don’t know much about the veer or wishbone so I’ll let you take that.”
Les Miles: “That’s the advantage of youth, right. You were young for some of those. I can tell you this, that there’s a lot of similarities. Basically it’s an option. This quarterback has an opportunity to read a down lineman and not block him and run an option. I think obviously Coach Kingsbury played in a prolific passing attack and I think that that comes along with a spread piece and there’s some traditionalists that would certainly want to cry if they said ‘wishbone’ and some of these traditional ways of attacking. Yes, I think by far the way of the spread is overtaking. I think it’s certainly the trend in high school, college, it’s not gotten to the NFL often. You look at an NFL game and occasionally it’ll get there, but it’s not gotten there often.”
Do you see anyone in high school running anything but the spread?
Kliff Kingsbury: “In high school football not a lot, not a lot. I think that that’s with the prevalence of seven-on-seven, particularly in our state, that’s where teams are going. It gives you all those extra practices throughout the summer to throw and get good at it, so yeah. I don’t see much on the recruiting tape, I see of anything other than true spread.”
Les Miles: “I can tell you this, that we just occasionally look for it, a big strong blocking back and you don’t find them. You have to go find and make that guy. It’s an undersized tight end, it’s a h-back that’s got physicality, the fullback position, it’s not even in our conference as an all-conference position.”
How have defensive lines also changed in college football over the years?
Kliff Kingsbury: “Yeah I think the d-line that Coach Miles has can face any offense from what I’ve seen. I think more than anything during weeks of practice or training camp, and he knows this, going against a tempo of spread, the conditioning comes into play and having enough bodies to rotate guys through is more important than it ever has been. You can’t leave guys out there six, seven plays where teams are tempo-ing and playing fast. Having depth at that defensive line position is more crucial than it ever has been in college football.”