I’ve used this quote in pretty much every article I’ve written this week, but it’s a great quote and it’s Les Miles, so I don’t think it can be overstated.
After taking down then-No. 3 South Carolina in Baton Rouge two weeks ago, Miles said: “This is truly a place where opponents’ dreams come to die.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressed the media ahead of the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s showdown with the No. 5 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge this weekend. Here’s a summary of what he had to say:
The Honey Badger, indeed, does not care. About playing for LSU anymore.
LSU head coach Les Miles announced on Friday that cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, known for his playmaking abilities as a defender and punt returner, is no longer on the team due to a violation of team rules.
Speaking at a special press conference that LSU streamed on its website, Miles said the move is permanent and that he will not be back. Miles said he expects Mathieu to transfer to another school.
“This is a very difficult day for our team,” Miles said, according to LSUSports.net. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences.
“It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”
Mathieu had been pegged by many publications as a pre-season All-American and a major candidate for the heisman trophy. His 11 fumbles forced rank first in LSU history and seventh in NCAA history. He also scored four touchdowns last year, two on punt returns and two on fumbles.
Miles did not give s specific reason for Mathieu’s dismissal or reveal what rule the cornerback broke.
This obviously has a huge effect on Alabama’s chances for a repeat national championship in 2012. Mathieu was an integral part of an LSU defense that was projected to be one of the best, if not the best in the country.
The always-entertaining Les Miles concluded the longest day in SEC Media Days history with a bang in typical Miles fashion:
- Miles opens his press conference talking about everything he did in the offseason, but now, he says, it’s football time.
- On his EA Sports commercial, Miles says they simplified the dialogue so he could recite the lines. He also says Mike The Tiger stole the show.
- Miles says the quarterback won’t run the ball as much as it has in the past in his offense, but will be a more traditional, passing attack.
- Miles gets a couple of questions about the national title game, and he says, “I’ve seen it a couple times. There weren’t that many plays for us on offense.”
- On Tyrann Mathieu’s recent twitter habits, Miles said, “No game is won on the twitter page. It’s a nice pastime, like media days.”
- A reporter asks Miles if teams will be able to handle playing 15 games in the new playoff format, and he says that more games are better for the fans and teams will get used to it.
- Miles says that in 2011, “we played everybody but the Green Bay Packers.”
- He’s getting a lot of questions about Zach Mettenberger, and after about the fourth or fifth one, he says, “it’s pretty much what I just said.”
Marc: It was pretty much status quo for Les Miles at SEC Media Days. But the status quo for Les Miles is entertaining, informing and funny, and he was all of that. He took the questions about the Alabama game in the national championship in stride and said all the right things about Mathieu. Miles won’t let the BCS title game performance get to his head and will have his team ready to go come September.
Marq: Les Miles was nearly 20 minutes late, but no one really seemed to care because the Mad Hatter was gold at the podium like he always is. The questions he was asked were more ridiculous than the responses he gave. He kept the entire room laughing and took a nice shot at a reporter for calling his defensive game plans bland. LSU will be in the national championship race as the long as Les is at the helm.
As the 2012 college football season draws nearer, Crimson White Sports will take a look at each team in the SEC, give our thoughts on how they will do in the league this year, and give some key matchups vs. Alabama, if they are on the Tide’s 2012 schedule. Up next: LSU.
2011 record: 13-1 (8-0 SEC)
Final AP ranking: 2
Through 13 weeks, LSU was having one of the best seasons in college football history. The Tigers had defeated eight top-25 teams, including No. 2 ranked Alabama, were champions of the Southeastern Conference and were the favorites to win the BCS National Championship in New Orleans.
But it all fell apart when the Tigers faced an Alabama team with revenge on its minds. The Tigers were dominated by the Tide, moving past the 50-yard line just once in a 21-0 loss. Everything the Tigers worked to build in those initial 13 weeks came crumbling down on Jan. 9, 2012.
Key returning starters: RB Kenny Hilliard, CB Tyrann Mathieu, DE Sam Montgomery
Key Newcomer: QB Zach Mettenberger
2012 outlook: Last season, LSU took on one of the toughest schedules college football has ever seen. This season’s non-conference schedule, but the Tigers could have a tougher conference schedule with back-to-back games against Florida and South Carolina.
The Tigers have set a recent standard of winning and fans will expect another run at a national title from Les Miles and Co. The Tigers return a ton of talent from last year’s team and will be one of four teams with a legitimate chance to win it all.
But the big question will be the quarterback position. Transfer Zach Mettenberger looks the part, but has yet to face an SEC defense. If he can give the Tigers steady play under center, the running game coupled with the defense will give the Tigers enough to beat in anyone in the country. I’ll predict the Tigers will finish 11-1 with another chance to play in the national championship game.
Key games in 2012:
- October 6 @ Florida
- October 13 vs. South Carolina
- November 3 vs. Alabama
Key matchups vs. Alabama (11-3 @ LSU)
- Zach Mettenberger vs. Alabama secondary: In two games against Alabama last season, LSU passed for a total of 144 yards under Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. With that two quarterback experiment under way, Mettenberger will be asked to lead the Tigers back to the promise land. The only way to do that is to be able to successfully throw the ball against the Crimson Tide.
- AJ McCarron vs. LSU secondary: McCarron shredded the Tigers in the BCS title game for 234 yards, completing 23-of-34 passes. If cornerback Tyrann Mathieu’s playmaking ability can translate into coverage skills, he’ll be able to fill the void left by Morris Claiborne.