10/1/15 5:45 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
As promised, today I have a new interview with College Football & NFL Analyst Mike Detillier on the topic of LSU football to share with you, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. In today’s segment (part 1-of-2), Mike comments on whether this LSU team is a playoff contender and on a wide variety of topics related to LSU’s offense. These include the improvement of Brandon Harris, the need for balance, and, of course, Leonard Fournette. And since a hot topic of discussion among the media yesterday was an article by Mike Florio of NBC Sports that suggested Fournette should skip his junior season to avoid injury (an idea that Kirk Herbrstreit called “a bunch of crap”), I asked Mike to chime in on that as well. Tomorrow I’ll conclude the Q&A with Mike’s thoughts on LSU’s defense and special teams.
Part 1 of 2: Mike Detillier’s Thoughts on LSU’s Offense
Before moving on with our normal order of business, I want to pass along the news of LSU’s game against Syracuse being the most watched game on ESPN last week. More than 3.5 million people watched the game and saw Fournette rack up 244 rushing yards, and that kind of exposure will undoubtedly prove valuable to Fournette’s Heisman candidacy and to LSU in general. Here is a brief press release by LSU on the topic, and what strikes me in it is the statement about the increase in online viewers compared to last year. As Lyn Rollins stated in the guest article he wrote for this site back in July, The Times They Are A Changin’.
As he does each Wednesday, Coach Miles held his weekly radio talk show to discuss last week’s win over Syracuse and this weekend’s game in Syracuse. Below is a summary of what was said.
Before taking any calls, Coach Miles and Jim Hawthorne talked about last week’s game and ended up on the topic of penalties - in particular the one called against Lewis Neal for continuing to play once his helmet came off. Miles said after the play Neal told him, “I'm not gonna let that guy stay in bounds, coach. It’s just not in me.” Miles reiterated to him the importance of the rule and said that if he wouldn’t have pursued the player out of bounds the most he would have gotten was three yards, but because of the penalty he got 15. He said he made his point clearly and that Neal gets it.
The first caller of the night was Sadie, who asked about the dropped passes in the game. Her question was whether the coaches work with the players who drop passes individually or in groups. Miles said they do both – first individually and then as a group.
Rickey from Birmingham asked whether Syracuse’s long TD pass was due to a well designed play or busted coverage. Miles said in very direct terms that it was due to busted coverage, and that a defensive back was looking in the backfield instead of taking responsibility for his man.
The next caller, Deuce, very firmly reprimanded Coach Miles for the team’s problem with penalties. He said penalties show a lack of discipline, and used the aforementioned statement by Lewis Neal (“I'm not gonna let that guy stay in bounds, coach. It's just not in me”) as an example. Miles calmly and politely told the caller that sometimes you have to understand the nature of the man, and that in Neal’s case he needed that to happen to him personally before he could ever fully understand why he shouldn’t do that. He then added, “I’ll eat that one. I’ll take the blame.”
Lucy from the live audience asked Coach Miles what his favorite way to celebrate after winning a game is. Miles answered, “Spending time with my kids and my wife.” He also said he likes to watch SportsCenter after his team has already secured its victory and others are out their scrapping for their own.
Jimmy asked Coach Miles his opinion about Herschel Walker saying today that Leonard Fournette is better than he was. Miles said that was a tremendous compliment coming from a man of his magnitude, and described Fournette as unspoiled, sincere, hard-working and humble. Miles then said that Fournette is still very much defining who he is, and that “we’re still on the front end of it.”
After giving his weekly comedic spiel, the Evil Twin asked about the status of two injured players - defensive end Tashawn Bower and safety Jalen Mills. Miles said Bower practiced Wednesday and that they expect him to play in Saturday’s game, although he might be a little limited. As for Mills, Miles said, “He is working constantly, running now and cutting. We’re gonna put a date on it here pretty quick.” He also said that tight end Dillon Gordon could be back in action pretty soon and that he’s “day-to-day” at this point.
A little later, Ron asked about the officiating crew that worked the Syracuse game (the same crew that worked the Bama game last year) and pointed out that several calls against LSU were bogus and several could have been called against Syracuse that were not. He asked Miles what can be done to make sure that crew can’t officiate a big game like the upcoming one against Alabama where we need it to be an 11-versus-11 contest. Miles said he has never felt like there was an official or group of officials who were intentionally out to get them, and he doesn’t believe that was the case last Saturday. He did concede, however, that there were a disproportionate number of calls made against LSU, but said he and the players take the blame for that.
The next caller, after hearing all the talk yesterday about Fournette possibly not playing next year, asked what it all meant and whether Fournette would be back. Miles dismissed all that talk and said the people who say things things like that are just trying to stir the pot. “What if he’s got goals, what if he really enjoys his teammates and being a part of the college atmosphere, what if he has a financial position that offsets injury? The reality is Leonard is a squared away guy who will do the right thing,” said Miles.
The last caller of the night asked about LSU dropping in the AP poll because of the margin of victory against Syracuse. Miles said something like, “I sat on the ball at the end. 10 or 17 points makes no difference to me. I wanted the victory. When we get to backend of the season, margin of victory will not matter. Only victory will matter.”
Continuing with our normal Thursday morning business, here are my weekly football predictions. Last week I went 8-3 straight-up, and on the season my record is 42-9 (.824). Here we go…
Georgia 31 Alabama 30
Tennessee 35 Arkansas 31
Texas A&M 42 Mississipi State 38
Ole Miss 33 Florida 27
South Carolina 31 Missouri 27
Vanderbilt 17 Middle Tennessee 14
Auburn 42 San Jose State 17
LA Tech 38 UL-Lafayette 27
Georgia Southern 27 UL-Monroe 21
Northwestern State 30 Incarnate Word 24
LSU 48 Eastern Michigan 13
Last but not least, don’t forget that the deadline for making your picks in this week’s Louisiana High School Football Pickem is today at 5 p.m. The contest is fun and free and I hope a lot of you will join in and test your knowledge of LA prep football.
Oh, and I’ve updated out Ticket Echange with several new listings.