POST GAME LSU PRESS CONFERENCE
COACH LES MILES
THE MODERATOR: We’ll have Coach Miles make an opening statement and we’ll take your questions. We’ve also been joined by cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and safety Eric Reid. Coach.
COACH MILES: Obviously I told my team we didn’t get it going offensively at all. Defense was on the field a long time.
I give credit to our opponent. Great playing. They kept the ball and it became very difficult to get first downs. And with time, certainly, it spoke to victory for them.
I told my team that it should hurt. Quality people. We fight like hell. And we finished second. It’s not it’s supposed to be painful.
And the good news is that there will be more resolve. We’ve had a nice run here. We won a lot of games. We’ve got to the back end of the season and won Bowl games and won championships.
And you cannot enjoy it any more than we have. In the same vein, it was painful as anything we’ve been through.
So these two guys were kind enough to come out here. They’re heartsick. They played extremely hard from start to finish. Never once winced.
And they represent a very, very sad locker room right now. So the locker room has a very, very capable, very talented, very a team that’s won a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, did you ever consider bringing in Jarrett Lee, considering that you weren’t taking any chances on the field? Now, I know Alabama’s defense is dominant. But, come on, that’s ridiculous, five first downs. I mean, so it’s almost an approach, I’ll tell from you the fans’ standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in Jarrett Lee? So what if you get a pick six. It seems like the game plan that not pushing the ball down the field, considering it’s like a Rueben Randle or Odell Beckham, Jr. I know the pass rush of Alabama, but there’s no reason why in five first downs you have a great defense, LSU is a great defense, but that’s ridiculous.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have a question?
Q. That’s the question. Do you think you should have pushed the football more down field?
COACH MILES: I think if you watch our calls that we did throw the football down the field. We didn’t necessarily get the football down the field.
And I can tell you that the pass rush we did consider Jarrett Lee. But we felt like with the pass rush that we were getting that we needed a guy that could move the seat and not sustain that pass rush.
Q. What made it so difficult to get first downs and move the ball?
COACH MILES: To start the game out, we had a difficult time communicating. There was a number of missteps by our offensive line, a number of miscommunications.
And we really did not handle the noise at the start. Now, we practiced against it extremely really for weeks. And so we felt like we were prepared, but obviously we were not.
Q. Coach, I guess the consolation of this game, as good as this team was, you beat them earlier this season. Can you talk about whether this rivalry is in your mind starting to resemble some of the other great conference rivalries of history: Michigan State, Oklahoma, Nebraska?
COACH MILES: I can tell you that we will look forward to taking the field against that team yet again and that we understand that they won the last round. We got that one figured out. So we’ll respond.
Q. Coach, when you’re so close to the precipice of greatness and you fall short in a game like this, how bitter of a pill is this to swallow?
COACH MILES: I told my team I did not see it coming. And that’s my fault. I wish I could have done something to help them. But for my players that worked their tails off, they started in their career to put themselves in position to win a game like that. To them I owe a lot.
We have to be better.
Q. Eric, can you talk about Eric and Tyrann, can you talk about the play of AJ McCarron tonight? What did he do to be more effective in this game?
ERIC REID: He made smart decisions, didn’t take any chances to turn the ball over, did the things he had to do to get points on the board. As a defense, we just didn’t do quite enough to stop it.
TYRANN MATHIEU: Yeah, I think AJ did a good job of managing the game and getting out of the pocket. It was pressure on him. He definitely extended a couple of plays. And we wish we could have had those plays back.
But I think we did a good job on defense, but they played a good game today.
Q. Coach, the offensive adjustments from November 5th until tonight, it seemed like there was some plays that were run with the option, but not more of a pass and run game. What was the offensive philosophy coming into tonight’s game?
COACH MILES: Well, we left a lot of calls that were, in my opinion, a very quality game plan uncalled because we just could not sustain the run. And we couldn’t run for first downs. And suddenly you were completely behind in the change.
And, frankly, when you line up and throw balls against that defense when it’s an obvious passing situation, they come to the line of scrimmage, they come to the passer.
And then with the score, you know, when it got to 9 points and then 15, was a very significant score in that game. And it really kind of took us out of how we really move the football.
So I don’t know that the adjustments we made since November 5th were the right ones.
Q. Coach, I assume you’ve already addressed why you didn’t put in Jarrett Lee. But would it have mattered who you put in at quarterback the way Alabama’s defense was playing tonight and the plan that they had?
COACH MILES: I thought they played very well. And I really felt like it was as much as I would have liked to have put Jarrett Lee in because the program owes him a lot, he really did a great job for us in the beginning of the year and really throughout his career, I felt like it would be unfair to him with the pass rush that he would sustain to put him in late in that game and considering that Jefferson, in my opinion, threw in a could throw in a like fashion but could avoid the pass rush.
So that was my call.
Q. Coach, is there anything that you can put a handle on that you saw that Alabama did differently than when you played on November 5th in terms of defense? Was there anything specific?
COACH MILES: There was some few adjustments they made and I thought were timely, but not so significantly that it should not have stopped our offense, is what I’m saying. I thought that they played very, very well and made plays within the scheme of their defense. I don’t know that the defensive calls were any different.
Q. Coach, you didn’t want to address this before about whether or not you might deserve an AP title. You won the division. You won the conference. Do you think there’s a case that your team could make as 131 for AP votes, or would you consider Alabama unanimous national champion now?
COACH MILES: Well, the only thing I can tell you is we think we had a great year; that this football team had as quality a run as there is in this country. Played eight nationally ranked teams. Played in six stadiums before the SEC championship game, which we won as well.
I think this team accomplished a lot. I think that’s for the voters to figure.
Q. Tyrann, this year the punt coverage has been so great for you. What went wrong on the one punt return early in the game?
COACH MILES: We lost leverage, and it will be one of those things that I’ll look at again.
Q. Tyrann and Eric, all year defensively you’ve had a knack to make plays that could change a game. Are you almost a little bit stunned that nothing like that was able to happen today?
ERIC REID: You could give credit to Alabama. They knew coming into this game they didn’t want to make any decisions to allow us to make big plays, and they did a good job of keeping the ball and not making any turnovers.
So I guess you can say we didn’t execute good enough to get the ball on the ground, and try better next year.
TYRANN MATHIEU: Yeah, I think Alabama did a good job of not really taking chances down the field. Definitely didn’t give our playmakers on defense a chance at the ball.
When he did put the ball in the air, it was a good ball. It was tight coverage and he threw a good ball. It was a great catch. So credit to those guys for watching film and being prepared for us.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.