I missed Les Miles’ weekly news conference Monday flying back from Phoenix for the Saints-Cardinals game.
We are still checking the rumor the Saints’ flight home came up short and landed in Baton Rouge, where they were forced to kick a field goal.
I decided to peruse the Miles’ transcript and see what I could learn leading into this week’s Auburn game. To tweak a line from the late, genteel Barbara Billingsley, “Stewardess, I speak Miles.”
Here’s what Miles said and what he really meant:
Question: Would you label the offensive game plan from Saturday as conservative?
Miles: I would say that we labeled the game plan Saturday as imperfect. Certainly, things that we like to get accomplished that we called that we didn’t get accomplished. But if you think about 200 yards that were taken away by penalties and 17 points. … I think if we had 200 more yards on our offense and a position of 17 more points, nobody would be arguing about the offense at all. So the key to it is not change the offense. Let’s make sure we execute what we call and not hold or have an infraction.
Translation: We have all the modern stuff in our playbook. Five wides. Hurry up. Spread option. We scored a touchdown with a direct snap to Leonard Fournette, we ran a couple of jet sweeps, and Brandon Harris threw it 14 times. Get it? Rinse. Repeat.
Question: Only three receivers played in the Mississippi State game: (John) Diarse, (Travin) Dural and (Malachi) Dupre. What went into not playing guys like (D.J.) Chark and (Trey) Quinn?
Miles: The guys that did not play in this game will have an opportunity to play in others. I don’t think there’s any question that those guys will step onto the field here pretty quick.
Translation: They may see the field soon, but you didn’t ask if we will actually throw them the ball, did you?
Question: Does it make it easier for your defense because Jeremy Johnson is not Cam Newton as a runner? Like you said, he’s not a guy who’s going to run it 20 times a game.
Miles: Yeah, but he’ll still pull it and make some yards, so you’re going to have to take the responsibility there anyway. His abilities are more in the throwing game. They’ll still have a nice tailback and some receivers to throw it to. So it’s still very much a formidable offense, it’s just not the same Cam Newton style of runner.
Translation: This isn’t going to be a repeat of Cam Newton in the 2010 Auburn game. We’ve got a plan to contain Mr. Johnson and force him to throw. Did you know he’s thrown more interceptions than any big five quarterback?
Question: Who do you expect to start at both of your guard spots this Saturday?
Miles: It would be one of three guys. It would be Maea Teuhema, Will Clapp or big Josh Boutte.
Translation: Not going to tell you.
Question: Do you have an injury update on Jalen Mills?
Miles: The last time I described him in depth was very positive. I think he’s really in the position where he’s running on a treadmill, even though it’s water, and this thing is progressing very quickly.
Question: Any timetable?
Miles: I would be guessing.
Translation: Guessing I won’t be telling you. I’d almost rather lose a game than talk about injuries.
Question: Trent Domingue is your kicker right now?
Miles: You betcha.
Translation: That’s Upper Midwestern for, “Mais, oui.”
Question: Coach, a 2:30 p.m. kickoff this week. What are your concerns about hydration and your team being ready to play in the heat and the elements? It could be around 90 degrees or so for the game.
Miles: Yeah, hydrating at the cellular level is the new buzz word, right? In other words, you don’t want to just get it in your stomach, you want to make sure that your body can get it to the different sections. So hydrate at a cellular level, that means start early and drink plenty.
Translation: I like sweet tea. We didn’t have that on the training table at Michigan. And I like grits. Bo came to stay with coach McClendon and his wife once and he said they had grits and they were fantastic. I wonder if he had sweat tea with the grits at breakfast?