By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
It was nothing but complements from LSU coach Les Miles about the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches Teleconference.
Miles called Saturday’s matchup with the Rebels at Tiger Stadium “a great test for us.” He added he was looking forward to the game being “great competition” for his young team, which just earned its sixth win of the season last week against Kentucky.
One reporter asked Miles if he knew the history of the annual game between the Rebels and Tigers, one that has been played 103 times overall. LSU has won 58 of those meetings.
“I’ve been made aware of it during my 10 years here. I recognize the great competition, the personal nature of the game,” Miles said.
The Rebels enter Saturday’s game with the nation’s top scoring defense, while quarterback Bo Wallace is the current active passing leader in the SEC with 8,239 yards. Punter Will Gleeson is also a weapon, ranking second in the SEC in overall average (46.2 yards per punt).
Miles said that the Rebels were outstanding in all three phases, making them very formidable.
“They’ve done a very good job offensively and a very good job defensively, and their special teams are playing big,” Miles said. “They are very, very talented.”
LSU has struggled at times at the quarterback spot. Anthony Jennings has started the majority of the games, but until recently, his production has been up and down. He comes into Saturday’s game completing 50 percent of his passes for just over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Jennings has thrown three interceptions, with two coming against New Mexico State.
Miles talked about Jennings, and the evolution of the quarterback position, saying Jennings’ understanding of competition, as well as what needed to be done at the quarterback spot, was a key to his recent improvement.
Last season, the Rebels defeated the Tigers 27-24. Miles didn’t directly answer a question that was geared to last year’s outcome being brought up this week, but it sure seemed like it had based on his exact answer.
“Certainly the most recent past is something we have reviewed. I’m certain that our guys recognize that game,” Miles said.
The Rebels, according to Miles, have a very well conceived defense under the guidance of coordinator Dave Wommack.
“It has speed, it really has a nice zone package that can change to man pretty quickly,” Miles said. “There is a lot to defense, not just the physicality. They do a really good job. They are a defense that continues to improve.”