Notebook: Miles has mixed feelings on A&M move

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2005

With Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive going to Texas A&M Monday to officially welcome the Aggies to join the SEC beginning next season, LSU head coach Les Miles’ opinion hasn’t changed on the matter.

Mixed feelings.

He said Monday he understands the SEC’s desire to expand and “continue to be the best conference in the country.”

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“The addition of A&M is a piece that allows us as a conference to continue to upgrade and make our presence felt nationally,” he said.

But Miles, who came to LSU after coaching at Oklahoma State from 2001-04, still has a warm spot in his heart for the Big 12 and its current struggle to survive.

“I just can’t believe that the Big 12 is separating and having great teams like Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State in a position where they are looking to be in another league,” he said.

“It is hard for me to figure this. It is inconceivable that there is not a historic base in the great state of Texas for one league. You take the traditional rivalries and throw them out the window?

“Do I think that it is good for the SEC? Absolutely.

“Do I think it is good for us and Texas A&M? Absolutely.

“For college football? I am still watching.”

* WOUNDED TIGERS: LSU had at least four players forced to leave the West Virginia game with injuries, but Miles said the team should be at close to full strength for Saturday’s Kentucky game.

Miles is often less than candid (or honest) concerning injuries, but he said the most serious was to starting guard T-Bob Hebert, who he said was “day-to-day.”

Hebert has started at the spot since Josh Dworaczyk was lost for the season in the opener against Oregon.

Backup safety and special teams star Craig Loston and starting offensive tackle Alex Hurst “are likely” for the Kentucky game, Miles said.

Starting defensive tackle Michael Brockers was able to return to the game after leaving with a leg or ankle injury.

Miles said he would miss Monday’s practice but should also be ready by Saturday.

HONORS: LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu won a national honor for the second time this season after getting two turnovers — a fumble recovery and an interception — against West Virginia.

He was named as the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Following the Oregon game, he won the Thorpe as the National Defensive Back of the Week.

It was the second straight week a Tiger cornerback has won the Camp Award as Morris Claiborne also won it for his play against Mississippi State.

Claiborne returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia, but another Tiger won the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week award.

That went to punter Brad Wing, who punted six times for a 48.7 yard average against WVU, none of which were returned and all of which were downed inside the 12-yard line.

* TUBING: LSU gets the early kickoff this week against Kentucky (11:20 a.m. Fox 29 locally) for the first time at home since the 2006 season.

Also CBS announced Monday that the LSU-Florida game on Oct. 8 will be its national telecast with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

* SEEING RED: Miles surprised some when true freshman DE Jermauria Rasco saw his first action against West Virginia, thus eliminating him from redshirting this year.

“We want him to play and grow this year,” Miles said. ” We think that he has real ability to learn and understand football. We think he is one of those guys that are physically advanced and very capable.

“There is a lot of football in front of this team and Rasco. We’re looking forward to him developing this year. We felt like we were ready for him to start his career.”

Miles was also asked about true freshman offensive lineman La’el Collins, who played briefly against Northwestern but, since it was only the second game of the season, could still possibly redshirt if LSU gets a medical exemption.

Collins didn’t play against WVU even with several injuries on the offensive line.

“Right now, we’re still looking at La’el as a guy who might well play a lot of football this season,” Miles said. “So we’re not ready to determine (if he’ll try to) redshirt at this point.”

* JUST WIN, BABY: The 533 yards that LSU gave up to West Virginia was the most by a Miles team since his first game at LSU in 2005 against Arizona State when the Sun Devils rang up 560.

Oddly, LSU won both games.

* TURNOVERS: LSU is plus-8 in turnover margin to lead the SEC and rank fourth nationally in that category.

LSU has forced 11 turnovers — five fumbles and six interceptions — while losing only two fumbles and one interception.

The Tigers have scored points off eight of the turnovers, seven touchdowns and one field goal.

LSU’s three lost turnovers have led to only one field goal for opponents.

LSU got four against West Virginia, setting up three touchdowns.