LSU’s 7-0 season has quickly turned into what coach Les Miles dubbed a “crisis.”
After back-to-back Southeastern Conference losses, the latest a 31-14 drubbing at the hands of Arkansas, the Tigers are out of SEC West and College Football Playoff Contention. Things don’t get much easier for No. 17 LSU, which travels to Oxford, Mississippi, for a ranked showdown with No. 25 Ole Miss.
“Our guys understand crisis,” Miles said Monday at his weekly press luncheon. “They understand finishing second in a ball game and what you need to do. …We have character on our football team, leadership and great guys that care. I expect when I see them today that they’ll be ready to turn the page.”
Here are more news nuggets from Miles’ presser:
- Injury update: Junior left tackle Jerald Hawkins “probably will not practice today” after exiting the Arkansas game with an ankle injury, Miles said. The coach was hopeful Hawkins will return to practice Tuesday. Junior tight end DeSean Smith underwent an MRI, which Miles said “does not appear to be series at this point,” and should be able to practice soon. Smith went through warmups Saturday night but did not dress out, leaving the Tigers with only two tight ends.
- There’s no ‘I': Since losing sophomore fullback JD Moore for the season, LSU has used more singleback and shotgun formations with true freshman Bry’Kiethon Mouton filling in. Miles said he believes his offense can function out of a spread formation and his more traditional I-formation. “I think we want to have the ability to push them about a little with two backs and tight ends and a little bit more physical brand of football as well as use the finesse and ability to throw and pop some good runs,” he said.
- Three’s company: The Tigers frequently rotated junior Dwayne Thomas and true freshmen Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson at cornerback opposite junior Tre’Davious White against Arkansas. Thomas and Toliver held down that spot for most of the season, and Miles didn’t elaborate on his decision to add another player to the rotation. “That group that threesome right there, I’m good with those guys,” Miles said.
- The wrong time: The Tigers have had a penchant for committing costly penalties this season, and yet another one occurred early in the second quarter against Arkansas. Past midfield and in need of a score to cut into the Razorbacks’ 14-0 lead, LSU’s drive was essentially killed when senior right tackle Vadal Alexander grabbed his man’s facemask “It was a very momentary grasp. I get that. I understand how that happens,” Miles said. “It just doesn’t need to happen at that time. “
- French tribute: Hawkins ran onto the field Saturday holding the French flag in a sign of support for the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. Miles said the team made the decision to carry out the flag “late in the pregame” and that he needed to be talked into it. “The wisdom of connecting with people that are disadvantaged and have suffered terrible tragedy in terrorism, which is not only a national but an international issue, I felt like it was the right thing,” Miles said.
- Film Room: Arkansas 31, LSU 14
- Les Miles, LSU players adamant loss at Alabama is not connected to Saturday’s 31-14 defeat against Arkansas
- Losing the line of scrimmage: LSU’s offensive and defensive lines struggled in double-digit losses to Alabama and Arkansas
- LSU-TAMU set for night kickoff