Lunch with Les: Miles OK with Leonard Fournette seeking out contact, says LSU addressing penalties, special teams problems _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) leaps over Syracuse safety Rodney Williams (6) while running the ball during the first half Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in the Carrier Dome.

LSU returns from its trip to the east coast to face Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium. After an 11 a.m. kickoff at Syracuse last weekend, Miles said “it’s good to be back” in Baton Rouge.

Here are more news nuggets from Miles’ press conference:

  • Leonard Fournette often seeks out contact, and Miles said he doesn’t discourage the sophomore running back from doing so. “I think what he has been doing naturally with his eyes and the cut that makes have been awfully successful for him to this point,” the coach said. “I don’t know if I would want to change his style any way. He knows what his body can do, and I wouldn’t want him to listen to me and change the recipe some way.” Fournette is currently the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and has pulled in three straight SEC Offensive Player of the Week awards.
  • Miles was confident the Tigers will eliminate the rash of penalties that have plagued them this season. LSU committed 14 infractions for 120 yards during its 34-24 win against Syracuse and has averaged 86 penalty yards per game. “Some of it was technique work. Some of it was an environment so loud you could not hear,” Miles said. “I think it stands to reason we can pare down these things pretty comfortably with some technique work, some awareness and some help of the team.”
  • If LSU has shown a weakness so far, it has been on special teams. The Tigers rank 13th in the SEC in yards per punt and yards per kickoff return and last in kickoff coverage. Miles said senior punter Jamie Keehn will “get comfortable and handle (his duties) better,” and he stressed the kickoff team needs to “limit the return.” LSU, however, received a big special teams play against Syracuse on junior cornerback Tre’Davious White’s punt return touchdown.
  • Miles began his press conference by mentioning Southern receiver Devon Gales, who suffered several neck fractures and was stretchered off the field against Georgia last Saturday. Gales, who attended Central High School in Baton Rouge, had successful surgery at Athens Regional Hospital on Sunday. “He’s in our prayers,” Miles said. “It certainly hits home when it’s one of the local high school football players.”

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