LSU coach Les Miles said that while his team’s 21-0 loss to Alabama in January’s BCS national championship game left a scar, he likes what he sees with preseason practice set to begin next week.
“I like my team,” Miles said Monday during a series of appearances on a variety of ESPN platforms in Bristol, Conn., otherwise known as going through ESPN’s “car wash.” “I like their attitude.”
The Tigers report for fall practice Aug. 1. LSU opens the regular season Sept. 1 against North Texas in Tiger Stadium.
Many of the questions Miles got were his reactions to the unprecedented NCAA sanctions that hammered the Penn State football program Monday in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
However, Miles was frequently questioned about his team as he bounced around the ESPN campus with six other SEC coaches. LSU was picked to win the Southeastern Conference last week at SEC Media Days and is expected to be one of the nation’s top-ranked teams in the preseason polls.
A key piece in the Tigers’ national championship hopes is first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Miles said he hopes to take the pressure of high expectations off the junior quarterback’s shoulders.
“We just want him to play the position,” Miles said. “If he doesn’t get ahead of himself, we will be very good at quarterback.”
Miles also was asked about what kind of season he foresees from senior wide receiver Russell Shepard.
“I think Russell will be a better, more productive receiver than he’s ever been,” Miles said during an ESPN.com chat. “His commitment to the team, himself is better than ever.”
On a lighter note, Miles was asked during the chat about his “feud” with LSU’s Mike the Tiger mascot stemming from their EA Sports commercial for its “NCAA Football 13” video game.
“We’re still not speaking,” Miles answered, tongue in cheek. “Because he chooses not to. I certainly hope we can resolve this issue before we get to Saturday nights.”
Miles also was asked on “SportsNation” whether he thought it was a good idea to ban college players from tweeting.
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron engaged in a heated Twitter exchange earlier this season.
“This is America,” Miles said in regards to “freedom of tweet.” “If players handle it responsibly, I’m for it. If he exceeds that responsible tweet, then we’ll take it from him.”
Though no reasons were given, neither Mathieu nor McCarron represented their teams at SEC Media Days.