Opening statement ... “I want to congratulate LSU. I thought they had a really good game plan and came out and controlled the ball for a long time. They did some really good things. They hurt us on the perimeter running the ball and we never did seem able to stop that consistently. Some huge plays were the two face mask penalties on the drive. That is just people going hard trying to make plays. We got beat up and had a bunch of guys that had to come out. I’m proud of the way our team hung in there until the end and battled. We just need to focus on getting ready for next week.”
On if the rain impacted the game ... “It made it a little slippery out there. The ball got slippery at times. I think both teams fu
mbled around a few times, but it was no big deal."
On the adjustments made after the half due to injury ... “We were jerry rigging that thing. We had linebackers at safety and safeties at linebackers. When Ryan Hamilton went out, Patrick Benoist, Jamie Graham, we had a freshman playing corner. You don’t have a long shelf life when you are doing that. LSU caught up with it and did a good job controlling the ball. They kept us off the field offensively and that was the ballgame.”
On three and outs ... “It is always disappointing to do that, but it was our execution problems. I didn’t think it was a scheme problem that we had. We have to catch the ball better. We dropped and fumbled first downs, and the ball went through our hands for an interception. We had a good first drive, but we couldn’t follow it up. LSU is good on defense, and they have good players.”
On Larry Smith’s interception ... “We were going to make the first down, we were seven points behind and all we had to do was score a touchdown or a field goal to make it tighter. When you make it tighter in the fourth quarter, you have a chance. I think Larry (Smith) is going to be a good quarterback for us. He stayed cool and calm most of the time. He had a few mistakes, but that’s what you get when you have a guy who has only started three games.”
On if the LSU defense changed anything from last week’s game film... “No, not at all. They did exactly what we expected them to do. We did a poor job executing tonight. We had several opportunities to get back in the game and we just failed to. But no, they didn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary.”
On the Brandon Taylor interception following the safety... “That hurt. We had a lot of momentum after the safety. We had good field position, and we just couldn’t capitalize. It hurt. That changed the whole ballgame. If we score there, it’s tied up.”
On if the weather affected the game... “In the first half it did a little bit. The ball was kind of wet and our hands were wet. But, that’s not an excuse for the way we played.”
On Vanderbilt’s focus regarding LSU offense coming into game ... “We focused a lot on their slants and their power game. They started to get on the edge a little quicker than we anticipated, so we tried to make some adjustments at the half.”
On frustration with missed opportunities ... “We
really shot o
urselves in the foot. The two facemask penalties hurt us. Not to mention, people were already going down left and right, but you can’t have penalties when you play a good team.”
On Russell Shepard ... “We had heard we might see some stallion or wildcat formations with him and he’s pretty fast. When he gets on the edge he makes plays with his feet and that’s what they recruited him for.”
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES
“I certainly enjoyed the victory. Winning is the key piece. I think any time you play imperfectly, and you come to the post-game, you have to recognize that first things first. You’d much rather win than do any other thing that we got, so that being said, I think we have to play better. In the first half, I felt like our defense played really in position again; we had some missed tackles. I felt like the offense moved the football at times extremely well, certainly in the first half, but we need to be able to drive for first downs even when we don’t move the ball or even when it’s not a great drive that scores. In the second half, I felt like the defense really played extremely well, and the offense didn’t have any momentum and didn’t get it going until the back end of the game. Offensively, we have to be able to run the football when we want to. We can throw it. There isn’t any question. I like our throwing game. I like the fact that (QB) Jordan Jefferson is on the money, knows what he’s doing with the ball and reads it well, and I’ll take him. I like him at quarterback. We can throw it and catch it, but we have to run it better, and we will. Our football team understands this victory. Certainly, that’s the first order of business, but we’ve got to get better. We’re going to play a lot of quality football teams as we go forward, and we want to play our best against them.
“I’m saddened that (RB) Richard Murphy will probably not make the next game and maybe the next game. It’s sad to have a quality, young back get hurt, but those things happen. If you look at their total offensive plays, (they had) 63 for 210 yards. By any stretch, that’s a great defensive performance. You look at our punter (Derek Helton). If you look at a punter who did not play extremely well at Washington and came in, and when we called upon him to put a direction on it and to hit it hard, he did. When the game was in question, he had his best punts. I enjoyed that. In time of possession, we had the ball for 36 minutes. We should have scored more. If you look at guys who got in the game, (QB) Russell Shepard carried the ball three times with nine yards a carry. That’s not a bad deal. We have to get him some more touches and some more experience. The second time with the ball in his hand, he coughs it up. He didn’t understand how important it is to get the yards and go down. Going down is OK as long as you have the ball.
“It was a career night for (WR) R.J. Jackson. He had six catches for 55 yards. He set up a field goal late in the game, and I just want you to know something. R.J. Jackson and those style of men, when they get to their senior year and playing their best football, that’s when we need them. He is that guy for us. We look forward to the kind of game that he had. Again, we were 20-of-29 (passing) at quarterback. There weren’t a lot of yards but a lot of receptions, and he was very efficient throwing it.
“If you look at the defense, it would appear to me that (LB) Harry Coleman and (DE) Rahim Alem had big nights. It seems like they were all over the field. I think that defensive front really handled the line of scrimmage against Vanderbilt, and that’s what we needed for them to do.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
QB Jordan Jefferson
On improving as a team and individually ... “As of right now, we’re looking really good. Our defense gave us a lot of opportunities to be on the field. We’re looking to excel week after week. Personally for me, I learned a lot from last week. I thought I did a good job of reading Vanderbilt’s defense and progressing the game plan as much as I could. I’m still learning, though, and still trying to progress as a good quarterback.”
On the last scoring drive ... “It was a big possession. We really needed to score again to separate ourselves from a close game. Charles (Scott) did his best and got the first down, and that’s what we really needed to keep it alive.”
On if he was disappointed in the offense ... “I’m not disappointed, but I did feel like the offense fell short today. Like on fourth-and-one, we were an inch short. Had we gotten that inch, the score would have been a little different. We still won, and I’m happy with the victory.”
RB Charles Scott
On returning from a long road trip ... “We were excited to be back in Death Valley, and our fans came out in droves today even with the rain. It got loud today, and it was good to feel the electricity of being home again.”
On making adjustments throughout the game ... “Just like any game, starting off we had to make some adjustments. We pretty much stuck to our game plan though and came out with a win.”
On the difficulty of running the ball in the rain ... “Actually it’s easier to run the ball than throw the ball in my opinion when it’s wet. When you throw you have to worry about the snap, throw and catch. When you run the quarterback just has to hand it off. I would say that though, being a running back.”