DESTIN, Fla. – LSU’s Les Miles met with the media for about 20 minutes Wednesday after Southeastern Conference football coaches wrapped up their talks with SEC athletic directors here at the SEC Spring Meeting. Here are the highlights of what he said:
Has quarterback Brandon Harris struggled with his confidence?
No. Have you ever lined up in your first start against Auburn? On the road? Did you ever do that? I have to be real honest with you, you’d have a problem with that. “Oh my God, cadence … oh, man … shoot, just get it out of my hand.” Imagine the thoughts that would go through your mind.
Have you tried to keep other schools out of satellite camps in Louisiana?
If I could we’d hoist small caliber weapons. To be honest I don’t think that’s possible.
How has new wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig helped the offense?
He’s got a quarterback’s mentality. He’s trained to lift that position. He’s special. I think he’s a (offensive) coordinator and soon to be a head coach at some point.
What do you think about the SEC collaborative replay plan?
I think it’s very doable. He makes the point of an official on site trying to make a very difficult decision with a stadium in the background when you have three experts who can get in his ear. I think it’ll be the best practice. It’ll be an improvement.
Is everyone in the SEC going to stay on board with satellite camps?
There’s so much at play: how it reflects the calendar, what risk do you take when you walk onto another campus. It’s going to give us a little different geography to look at.
Nick Saban talked about creating better communication between schools and the NFL. Has that been a problem?
There are tremendous people who are agents. But if this prospect whose going to the NFL signs with me (an agent), I’m going to make him more money than if he doesn’t sign with me. So why would I ever propose that he go back to school? I should say to him, “You’re going to be a No. 1 draft pick” and eventually make it in the NFL. What Nick’s in favor of is getting as much information as you can from the NFL to have an underclassman pro day where you can time them and interview them, give them as much information as you can. So when you get to that junior year the NFL’s returning a piece of information that’s very accurate.
There were 96 people who elected for the draft this year. Thirty of them went undrafted. We’re searching for better ways to communicate with our players. I think it’s an individual institution’s decision, but I think it’s a pretty good idea. You don’t want to give them misinformation. You don’t want to think they’re going to draft you in the second round and they end up drafting you in the seventh.
You guys had a concussion expert speak to you Tuesday. What was the tone of that?
We took it extremely serious. They made a bunch of very significant statements that were true. Every coach that was in that meeting is very positive as they look to the guidelines and recommendations. The stuff we’re doing is so in line with the recommendations it’s not going to be as significant as people might think – practice recommendations, contact days, etc.
How much discussion was there on student-athlete conduct?
Those people involved in serious misconduct who want to transfer to your institution need not to play in the SEC. I think that’s a straightforward consistent theme. We were unanimous as coaches on that piece. You’re responsible to check his background, ask simple questions. If you didn’t, the conference could then step in. But we can find out enough information to make a quality decision.
Are the majority of SEC coaches for satellite camps?
I think in this league there’s more concern with your team, being on campus, having a team meeting, describing academics and life skills. I think there’s a very consistent theme in this conference that we have a very lucrative recruiting area. We don’t have to traipse all across the country to get quality players. We just want to serve them best.
What are your concerns about third parties involved in satellite camps?
Third-party people running camps in my opinion should be taken out of the recommendation for college business. They should be OK for camps – “You want to come run a 40-yard dash, catch a ball, show your skills?” – that’s one thing. But to have them in a vice grip, being peddled, being in the position of, “This is a school you ought to go to,” that makes no sense. I’ve only seen high schools and colleges and the NFL offer sites. None of those places are a problem in any way. But I’m told high schools can rent their facilities for as much as $50,000. That may be excessive if there’s a prospect at that school.
Through this round of satellite camps there’s going to be a lot of information gathered. We’re going do it right. We’re not going to cheat. It’ll be interesting to see beyond this time frame what transpires.
So it’s all systems go in terms of coaches? plans?
I think it’s by institution. There are some head coaches who will not travel, some who will travel minimally and some who will travel more excessively.
What kind of coach, what kind of man, is new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda?
He loves to tell players why you do this. He’s a tremendous technician. And he enjoys people. He has a smile on his face most of the time. I think our players will enjoy being coached by him.
He’s going to implement some 3-4 defense. How has that transition gone?
I think it’s been great. We have a very fast team. We can put a fast linebacker in, a fast defensive back and should have plenty of speed on the flanks to rush the passer. It appears to me to be a very positive transition.
Is it unfair for Alabama to be such a big game every year?
If you’re playing in the SEC West you’re playing in the finest division in the world. This is very competitive just the way it is.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.