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October 21, 2013

Miles feels Tigers defense is missing traditional attitude




LSU's defense was blistered for 525 yards in a 27-24 loss at Ole Miss on Saturday night.

After fighting back to tie the score, the Tigers allowed the Rebels to put together a 14-play, 61-yard game-winning field goal drive. With the exception of the Florida game, the LSU defense has not performed consistently over an entire 60 minutes.

"One thing about this program is they all had great confidence and swagger," said coach Les Miles at his weekly media luncheon Monday afternoon. "They play within the scheme with great confidence and great ability. That's all they needed to do.

"I wish there was a reason for our problems on third down (defense). We'd go fix it. We had good pressure. Third downs were called extremely well. Leverage on routes and the quarterback breaks out the pocket. We have guys in position to make the plays. I don't know if can call it any better."

Obviously, the Tigers defenders are not receiving the point. That's the reason Miles continues to blame himself for the defeat against the Rebels.

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"I spoke the words (before the game)," Miles said. "But, I need to teach better. I didn't make the point. Play hard-nosed LSU football. Play within the scheme. Win one play at a time. Play smart. It's hard to admit as coach of the team's that's best you finished second. I have to do better."

Once again Miles indicated that there will not be major personnel changes on defense. He did mention that some guys who have been playing may get more snaps - such as safety Corey Thompson and middle linebacker Lamar Louis.

"I would like to tell you it's this guy or that guy," Miles said. "I wouldn't tell you anyway. But, I don't see it that way. Do I think we will look at each guy? We'll look at each guy. But, I think we have the right guys.

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"I challenge me for us having the number of mistakes in that game. 'Coach Miles, step up, make the call, let us know why, fill me in. I want to know. Coach, what do you want from me?' I'm going to do better.'"

Miles again stressed that impatience led to the poor decisions by Zach Mettenberger on his three first-half interceptions.

"Here's our strength," Miles said. "This team goes to the field and thinks it can make every play. Our weakness in this game was that they thought they had to make every play and they needed to win the game with that play.

"It doesn't need to be 21-0 in the first quarter. That's good if that is how the game plays out. But, not all games play out in that way. Our quarterback was trying to win the game with two or three throws. All we have to do is check down and make a play."

Miles gave an explanation for Jeremy Hill getting limited carries in the first half. His first-play fumble was the reason.

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"It was the first play of the game and you would have to think you'd have ball security on the first play," Miles said. "It was an indication that we needed to get (Hill's) attention. It was exactly the right call."

For the first time in five seasons, LSU has two losses before the end of October. The Tigers' chance of winning the Southeastern Conference Western Division title is slim. Miles acknowledged that his team is not in the situation it hoped for. However, he believes they will be motivated for the rest of the year.

"Motivation has never been an issue with my team," Miles said. "Our guys are ambitious. They are in a lesser position than they could be today and they recognize it. I can't imagine that they won't want to play hard.

"This team has the ability to win and play against any team remaining on our schedule and we need to recognize that. We need to play like that. Frankly, that's what gets me up and sends me to the building every day. First and foremost, we have to improve and get back on track against Furman."

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