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December 28, 2015

Les Miles

Kliff Kingsbury

Houston, Texas

An Interview With:



THE MODERATOR: Questions for coaches?

Q. Les, would you talk about just the offensive game plans and maybe the struggles you had with your season, and what you've been able to do to correct them and why you're optimistic pushing forward?
COACH MILES: Well, the key is to being balanced certainly and spending a little more time on the passing game. It seems to have paid dividends to have a couple extra practices going into game week. And we're kind of looking forward to seeing how it looks Tuesday night.

Q. Do you think you two could be any more different?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think there are a lot of similarities going on, actually. Just getting to know him and being around him. I've known him a long time since I used to play against Oklahoma State. I've always been a big fan of the way he carries himself. I know a lot of coaches that worked for him speak highly of him and the way he does things. So there are a lot more similarities than you think.

COACH MILES: To be very honest with you, I think (indiscernible). I think he represents coaching like he did as a player. Yeah, except for being tall and having a lot more hair, I think there are a lot of similarities.

Q. Do you think your approaches could be more different?
COACH MILES: Now that's a good question (laughing). To be honest with you, I think what we've done at LSU, what we've done really year after year is looked at the style of personnel that we have and tried to maximize it.

I think that anybody that has success, offense, defense or special teams, that's what you do. I think you can come with a bias -- in other words, offensively or defensively -- and something that you want to play with.

But I think ultimately it's about the players that you have and making them successful within your scheme.

Q. Can you answer that, Kliff?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I agree. Like I said, when he was in the Big 12 he ran a more open-style, spread-type attack, and he's now at LSU has an incredible defensive line, great secondary, so he's playing to his strengths and adapting to his personnel. That's a sign of a great coach.

Q. Les, (indiscernible)?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I think this is the first time.

COACH KINGSBURY: He's saying you're getting old.

COACH MILES: I'm old, yeah, exactly.

Q. Coach, how much did taking on Arkansas give you a feeling for the personnel that you'll see? Is it what you've seen in conference?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think I'm not big on comparables when you talk about games, particularly that was in September. So, so much happens over a season with injuries and players getting better, players not playing as well at certain times.

So we don't take much away from that. We watched the film. We know how talented this team is. A couple tough breaks here or there and they're right in the National Championship picture. That's not lost upon us.

So our hands will be full. We'll have to play our best game to hang in there.

Q. How much do you anticipate (indiscernible) game to try to keep your offense off the field?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I'm not sure. Like you mentioned, they have tremendous wide receivers out there. I think their quarterback is a player that's developed over the season and has had some really good moments.

So they've got a lot of great players they're going to try to give the football to. So I don't know about ball control and things of that nature, but I know when we have it, we better take advantage of our possessions.

Q. How has (indiscernible) at practice over the last few days?
COACH MILES: Pretty good. I think it's just more snaps and comfort with decision-making, and I think he'll be improved.

Q. Coach Miles, could you talk about the year Derrius Guice had and the future you see for him at LSU playing off of Leonard in that role?
COACH MILES: Derrius is an old-time football player in a very, very talented body. He runs 4.3, and he's 220. He's one of the strongest kids on our team. He's not going to run away from contact. He's going to look for -- he wants to hit everybody on the field, if he scores his ideal score after he tags 11 guys and then moves into the end zone. So he plays kickoff for us, he plays returns, and obviously he'll get snaps at tailback as well.

Q. What was your team's reaction with how talented LSU is?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we have a very tough challenge. We watched from afar how good this team is. One of the best running backs to play in probably the last ten years. Tremendous defense.

We knew that we're going to have to play our best game. So that was kind of a mindset this entire month was practice at the next level and be prepared to play the best game we've played all year.

Q. From where you are in your program, what would a win in this game mean for your program?
COACH KINGSBURY: Anytime you end and go into the off-season with a win, it's huge. I think Steve Spurrier once told me that's the only game they remember is the bowl game. So it definitely is a momentum builder going into the off-season, and it would be great to get that done.

Q. Watching, did you take a moment to look across the aisle (indiscernible) because this is the first time you've probably seen each other?
COACH KINGSBURY: No, we saw each other at the Rodeo Bowl tackling calves and what not. It was kind of an indicator. Both teams hopped in there and got at it.

COACH MILES: Yeah, there was some fun being had there, and there were some good players and opponents. Only one thing, those cattle would not get in the way. They were being dragged down.

Q. What has been your experience of bowl games and practicing in the off-season and the buildup?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I agree with Coach Kingsbury. It's just the same. You want to finish with a very positive experience. You want to go into the off-season with -- each program has goals. It's a great way to spawn some pretty significant goals with a victory in a late-in-the-year bowl game.

Q. After watching film on LSU's defense, do you think you've seen a defense of that style and maybe physicality on the schedule in the regular season?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don't think one this athletic. You look from the front, linebackers are as good as I've coached against since I've been coaching. They're on the field in passing situations and run situations. Secondary had some younger guys that they fly around and up front, they're up field and get after it. So it will be the best defense we've seen and the biggest challenge offensively.

Q. Coach Kingsbury, can you talk about the maturity that Pat Mahomes has shown going into these practices for the bowl game?
COACH KINGSBURY: He's continuing to get better. I think it's only his 14th or 15th start. But he's starting to take control as a leader. Starting to speak up more and handle himself more. We've poured a bunch of reps to him to try to get him as good as we can over this month, because we know he's going to play his best game. He's protected the ball well the last couple weeks of the season, which is what we need, and if we can do that, we'll have a shot.

Q. What has DeAndre Washington done this year from where he finished at last year?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think he worked really hard in the off-season. He had a tremendous year last year and we had a down year. He really worked hard at catching a lot in the back field, which he improved his yards receiving. Just trying to take him to the next level. We really rode him the entire season.

Q. You had said that you had always wanted your offense (indiscernible).
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I didn't think we'd get there. I think the number of plays we were able to run this year helps and him carrying it the way he has and that senior offensive line, really four veteran guys that have been together a couple years.

Q. Your team has consistently talked about how they play better when they feel like they've been doubted, or they play better with an edge is I guess how you term it. Do you feel like that edge is there? Do you sense that through these practices that they feel that?
COACH KINGSBURY: I'm not sure. Like I said, I know when the game was announced and you have an opponent like LSU, our team knows they're going to have to bring it and play their best game. So I think that mentality has been there over the month, and it's all about executing tomorrow night.

Q. Les, how has this last month been for you since the A&M week? How have fans reacted to you? You obviously knew there was a deep love for the fans from you. How has that been through the week? You had a call-in show that was not one of your normal call-in shows. Talk about what's it's been with Christmas and their reaction of what happened the week of A&M?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I really don't quite know how to describe it. At the A&M game there was a lot of emotion in that stadium. I think it dissipated in a very comfortable way as we went into the holidays. I think I've always been treated extremely well as the head coach at LSU by the fan base, and I don't think that's changed.

Q. Is there any bitterness towards some of the people that possibly leak out some of this stuff about you?
COACH MILES: I promise you, should I find out who was in conversation there, I would -- that would be a lot of fun for me to know.

Q. Do you feel like recruiting is something that from public perception has gotten back on track?
COACH MILES: Yeah, the administration and LSU football are speaking the same language, and we're looking forward to a great month.

Q. Part of recruiting (indiscernible)?
COACH MILES: I think we've always been a very strong recruiting team because the opportunities that we have here are pretty special. I don't think those will change.

Q. Coach Kingsbury, I know you've talked about it a lot, just the challenge of Leonard Fournette and LSU's back field to your defense?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I said it earlier, I think he's as good a back as I've seen in the last ten years. He could be Sunday ready already and have to wait another year. But he's that type of talent. We've had our struggles against the run, so we'll have to play our best game. We know he's going to get his yards. There is no doubt about it. He's done that against everybody. We just have to try to slow him down enough to give ourselves a chance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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