Les Miles Won’t Hold Back His Team’s Enthusiasm Heading Into Showdown with Alabama

November 3, 2011 – 7:20 am by Eric Schmoldt

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 LSU. It’s not only the game of the year in the Southeastern Conference, it’s being dubbed as the game of the century by the pundits, fans and networks. If some people had their way, it would just be a preview of a national championship game prize right if some people had their.

LSU will head to the road to take on Alabama on Saturday, a game that has for good reason been hyped non-stop this past two weeks. Tigers coach Les Miles says he’s not about to withhold the emotions that come with playing in such a big game, as long as they don’t keep his players from doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

What say you? Who wins, LSU or Alabama? If it’s a close game, do you hope we see a rematch at the end of the year?

Les Miles joined WWL in New Orleans with Deke Bellavia to discuss having an extra week to rest and prepare before the big matchup with Alabama, his team’s health, the incredible hype surrounding the matchup, what he’s seen from his team through the first eight games, his impressions of this Alabama team, the importance of the turnover margin, the amount and type of preparation that goes into preparing for such a big game, and what he feels are the primary keys to winning.

What were you able to do with the week off heading into this big game?:

“We got them healthy, certainly gave them same time to rehab. … We had three quality practices, probably spent more time going against each other than we did going against the Alabama team. … Watching every bit of film that I could get my hands on and football on the weekend, it was a great weekend.”

How is your team’s health going into the big game?:

“I don’t think there’s a guy that’s going to be withheld at this point. There’s some nicks and bruises, but nothing so significant that would keep them from playing in this game.”

How much of a factor is it to keep your team focused on the game and not all the hype on the outside?:

“Yeah, I don’t understand all the things on the outside at this point. I think the most important piece is how you play your technique, how you line it up and what you’re looking at, how you train your eyes. I think our guys understand that. I think there’s allowed to be humor around the big game. I think there’s allowed to be some natural enthusiasm. I don’t withhold that. But if it interferes with how they see their job and the things that their doing, then that’s a problem.”

Through eight games, what is the strength of your football team?:

“We run it, we play very good in special teams and we can defend you. Those are the fundamental pieces. Don’t turn it over, not penalized and we keep playing like that we’ll line up and play well against a lot of teams.”

What impresses you most about this Alabama team?:

“Certainly they’re never out of position. They’re a very talented group, prepared. I see little weaknesses.”

How important is the turnover battle in this game?:

“Yeah, I agree with that. When you play great defenses, there’s an opportunity to get the ball taken. Certainly we’re going to see if we can avoid that on our end.”

What’s the preparation been like for this game?:

“We get over in our little football building and we just go to prepare and we kind of put the blinders on. We don’t run into the glare on the campus. It’s fun as a coach. When you take a team to the field that has great enthusiasm for preparing, now you have a great chance to improve. The team that improves between now and when we play, that team will have a great chance at success.”

What are the keys for your team to win this big game?:

“Just to play like we play. Just to play like LSU — play great defense, run it and throw it efficiently, play special teams, field position and keep the pressure on our opponent.”

Listen to Les Miles on WWL in New Orleans here

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