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January 7, 2011

Jordan Jefferson

Les Miles

Terrence Toliver


LSU – 41
Texas A&M - 24

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Coach Miles and players. Coach, we'd like to let you make an opening comment.
COACH MILES: First of all, I want you to know we truly respect those Texas A&M Aggies. They're a great team. We knew we were going to have to play well when we lined up against them. We understand the tremendous support and loyal following that they have. We're honored to compete against them today.
Our football team is a very close-knit group of men. They have all the characteristics of a very, very capable team, that, in fact, somebody steps up to make a play when it's needed. It can be offense, defense, or special teams.
I think tonight was just really a number of great performances to cap a year that they achieved greatly. A team that's beaten the teams they've beaten and played as well as they have, this was a fitting game.
I have to thank the Cotton Bowl Committee and certainly the opportunity to play in such an historic game.
This game is made more important to us by the luncheon we had where it depicted the great players and the great teams and the great circumstance of a Cotton Bowl. We're very honored to play in it. I think it became more important to us even after that luncheon.
I don't think there's any question that this will eventually be a BCS Bowl game. It has all the makings and all the strength and environment that you need.
But I'm really proud of our players. Our players are quality men. I got to tell you something. I love going to work with them. What we do as coaches, we ask them to do hard things. It's not easy. It's get up early, it's work late, it's study, it's pound the weights. You're sore. Just came off a game. Tough. It's time to do what we do. We prepare. It's a rugged, ambitious culture.
So as a coach you get to the back end of a season, you've seen what they've accomplished, you're very much in their debt. I surely enjoyed this year. It's been a lot of fun. And these men have been just a joy to be around.
Ask some questions of my players, please.

Q. Les, A&M has been a team that has defended the run well. How were you able to have so much success against them?
COACH MILES: I think our offensive line came to play. I think we got good runningbacks. I think our fullbacks are coming to life. I think our two-back was very good. I think our offensive line really said this is a challenge they wanted. I think they played to that challenge.

Q. Coach Miles and Jordan, this is a sign of your growing maturity after falling behind early, throwing an interception, you didn't seem to let that bother you at all. Coach Sherman said even though they had you guys in numerous third-and-long situations, the one person they could not account for defensively was Jordan making plays with his feet, keeping plays alive. Coach Miles, talk to the growing maturity of Jordan. Jordan, talk to your feeling of being comfortable even though falling behind early.
COACH MILES: Well, I'll jump in there quickly. What happens is it takes time. This position is a tough position. It's cadenced, it's change of cadence. It's stem, motion, and the play, and then the check. It takes some time. And through a season, he's continued to get better. He applies his trade. He works hard at it.
I think it's safe to say the back end of the season he's better than he was at the beginning. He pulled some key balls down and picked up first downs with his feet and kept drives alive that allowed us to score.
I think his play tonight is one of the reasons why we win.
JORDAN JEFFERSON: Well, the play that I threw the pick on, they was in the two-tail coverage. Rueben ran right past the quarterback. I didn't think the safety was there fast enough to make a play on it. After my play-action, I thought I would be able to get the ball over the corner, the safety wouldn't make the play. The ball fell kind of low on me.
I really couldn't let that turnover really define us as a team. That turnover would mess up everything for us. I had to overlook that, come out the next drive, make sure we put points on the board. That's what I did throughout the continuation of the game.

Q. Les, you talked all week about the SEC, the strength of it. How much of that do you think plays into the fact that y'all were able to run the ball so well?
COACH MILES: I think our league is a league where you have to run the football to keep defenses at bay. I think more than maybe the point that you're making is, is that we play in environments similar to this. We play at Florida, at Alabama, on the road at any number of places where we're used to playing in big games.
I think when you get to the Bowl season, that's an advantage for our conference. I think our guys, we're used to seeing quality teams. They get a lead on us, we understand how to play in tight quarters. It's just a matter of time.

Q. Coach Miles and Tyrann, the opening drive he has the saving kick. Kind of hunts him down. Did you realize that speed he had? After a win like today, when you go on that recruiting trail, what will you tell the kids to go to LSU next season?
COACH MILES: Well, Tyrann Mathieu is a special athlete. He's learning how to make those plays in the confines of a defense. But he always made those plays. I promise you, we did know that he was that capable.
I can tell you that the experience that our guys are having at this school, they're getting their degree, it's supported very fully, they're getting an opportunity for a great education and, therefore, a great opportunity at a future job, and they play for championships.
I think the recruiting trail, a win in a quality Bowl game like the Cotton Bowl, just tells you that the program's in great shape, and that next year there's some special opportunities, as well.

Q. Coach and Terrence, a rush, first offense, pass when you need to, talk about the receivers being patient, especially Terrence a senior in his final game, answering the call when given the challenge tonight.
COACH MILES: Well, Terrence Toliver has always been a great receiver. He's always a team man. He does what we ask him to do.
In the Florida game, he won the game. In this game, when we needed him to make plays, he made plays. He'll go on and play at another level and do the same things there.
But it's a team sport. It has not to do with all about 'my', it's really all about the team.
The opportunity for a quarterback to go back in the pocket with a dual threat of the fact that it could be a run or a pass allows him to throw the football better, allows him to get out and scramble, allows us to be a better offense.
Terrence Toliver understands that.
TERRENCE TOLIVER: Like coach said, I'm not a selfish player. My senior year, I didn't have as many catches as I had last year. I learned how to just adjust, be a team player, and in the run game, just block.
We had a thousand-yard rusher this year. Our receiver group was a big part of that. But when we step in big games, coach always say, Just make a play.
Our offense, passing game, kind of struggled this year. In big games we always step it up: Alabama, Florida, in this game, too. So coach said that we gonna throw the ball around the field and just make plays, just execute the game plan. I think we did that tonight.

Q. Terrence, your last game, college football, three touchdowns, talk about how special it is for you, what this night means to you?
TERRENCE TOLIVER: It's real special. Since I've been to LSU, I took visits to A&M. I chose to go a different way. Since I've been at LSU, I always wanted to play a Texas school, whether it was Texas A&M, Texas. Just play a good game, have a game of my life in my own home state. It was great for me. My family came, support.
Like I say, I just have a lot of support on this team with the coaches. They put together a great game plan. We executed to the fullest. I'm very excited about the win that we had.

Q. Jordan, describe your emotions playing on this stage, Cowboy Stadium, home of this year's Super Bowl, 83,000 fans in the seat. Talk about being on this big of a stage. Secondly, the performance that you did, not only with your legs but your arm. Do you feel you've silenced some of your critics, shown them you're more of a complete quarterback than the naysayers would have given you credit for before this game?
JORDAN JEFFERSON: I was very excited playing in this stadium. We were at the breaking point of the 75th Cotton Bowl, I was excited for that. I knew Texas A&M was going to have a lot of fans in the stadium. I knew LSU was going to show a lot of support for us as well.
It's just a nice facility. You got the big screen, is probably a distraction for everybody in the stands. But, I mean, it's a loud facility, nice facility, real clean. In the Dallas area, it's very clean as well.
I just came into this game with the mindset, like what you said, showing the critics that I can do, you know, what I need to do on the field to be noticed as a good quarterback. I really feel that, you know, I did that tonight. But I couldn't do it without Terrence. I couldn't do it without the O-line protecting for me and making sure that they blocked the Butkus Award winner. I couldn't do it without the running game doing as well as they did it, without the coaches getting us prepared for this game.
They did a great job throughout the game calling the plays, attacking Texas A&M's defense. They just kept us well-prepared throughout the preparation of this Bowl game.

Q. Coach Miles, you talked about Terrence and the season he's had. I know he hasn't put up the numbers he wanted to. How has he handled that? What growth have you seen from him, not only as a player inside the lines, but outside the lines, too?
COACH MILES: He's always been a leader. He came in and played as a true freshman. When you come in as a freshman, there's many times the room tries to put you in a position where you're only going to do these things. He just really stepped through some boundaries there. He's really always been that guy.
He was a leader on this team at a time when he was not necessarily getting the credit that he would have deserved. He certainly is a go-to guy really for any team in this country. Frankly, we struggled at times getting him the ball while we ran the football effectively, while we did other things. Didn't seem to bother him. He worked hard at it.
I want you to know something. He doesn't miss practice. He's just what you need. He's a great player that, again, puts team first.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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