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Miles says LSU respects Clemson, compares bowl game to BCS game


  by - Senior Writer - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 10:16 AM
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Swinney and Miles at Monday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl Head Coaches Media Day.

MARIETTA, GA – Les Miles moved into the interview area at Monday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl Head Coaches Media Day, already running late after his flight was delayed out of Louisiana, and made himself at home.

Miles has reason to feel comfortable in Atlanta – his LSU Tigers have a 9-1 record in the Georgia Dome and are the favorites to make it 10-1 when they play Clemson on New Year’s Eve.

However, Miles wasn’t as laid back as one would expect, mixing in folksy humor and stories with analysis of his team’ matchup against Clemson, and when the talk turned to football, Miles was all business.

He arrived almost an hour late, and was told by a member of the bowl staff he could “take a seat” to speak with members of the print and electronic media, but Miles stood at the head of the table, acting much like a CEO in a board meeting.

He spied one member of the media wearing a Cleveland Browns jacket, and started telling stories about his childhood in Ohio, and even mentioned that his father bore a strong resemblance to Lou “The Toe” Groza.

He then wanted to know if he should just start talking or if the media actually had questions, and he was told once again by another member of the bowl staff that he could feel free to take a seat, but Miles shot a withering glare at the staff member and said, “I just walked off a plane. I think I will stand up.”

And stand up he did, for the remainder of his media session, where he field questions about the bowl game and about the Clemson Tigers, the only interruption coming when he saw Clemson’s Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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leaving the television interview area and head to the dining room.

Miles then left the interview area – and left a question hanging in mid-sentence, to talk to Swinney.

Once he returned, Miles took a shot at the bowl system and the BCS when he talked about the matchup of the two Tigers.

“I think it’s a great matchup that in my mind is bigger and better than a lot of the BCS matchups,” Miles said. “I don’t know that the BCS got it right this year. Clemson-LSU in a BCS bowl certainly would have been a really exciting matchup.”

He then added that contrary to what many people think, his team is looking forward to playing against Clemson.

“I think that our team respects them,” Miles said. “I think we watched the film and recognized that they have good players, our guys are excited about the matchup.”

Miles was asked what concerned him about Clemson, and he said the Tigers have quality playmakers on the offensive side of the ball – it ranks sixth in the nation in scoring (42.33), ninth in total offense (518.3) and 13th in passing (319.6), all records for the program.

“They have all the characteristics of a quality offense,” Miles said. “First, they have a quarterback that can throw it, make you concerned about his feet and his ability to get up the field; big-play receivers, guys that can go deep; a 1,000-yard back; good offensive line. Very capable on offense. They are athletic on defense and very capable at linebacker. In the secondary, they mix coverages and do a good job of working within the skill level of their secondary. Real, quality special teams.”

Swinney said during his media session that LSU sits where Clemson would like to be – a consistent Top 10 program that competes for national championships, and mentioned that Clemson hasn’t reached “elite” status but is working towards that goal.

Swinney then said that LSU would be the most physical opponent that Clemson has faced “in a long time.”

Miles was asked what makes for a physical program, and he said his team is perceived as physical simply because they have more talent than most of their opponents.

“I think that’s exactly right,” Miles said. “I think when you run fast and hit, that’s physical.”

Miles was then told about Swinney’s “elite” comments, and he said a coach knows his own program best.

“Certainly, his opinion about his team is the most valid,” he said. “But I see that they have talent and skill and ability. I like their team and I like their quality. I think our team respects them. We will have to play our best, and we want to play a quality team at the end of the year and play a game that is meaningful.”

And with that, Miles was off again.

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