Advanced Week 11 NFL Lines Have Been Released

The Westgate Sportsbook, formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton, have released Week 11 lines even before Week 10 has gotten started in the NFL. The best game of the week promises to be the Patriots traveling to Indianapolis to face off against Andrew Luck and the Colts. The Colts are 2.5 point favorites. Green Bay is favored by six over the Marc Sanchez-led Eagles in a big NFC showdown. Kansas City will host Seattle, and are 2.5 home underdogs in that game. The commplete list of lines:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014
BILLS
DOLPHINS -5.5

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014
TEXANS
BROWNS -3 EVEN

VIKINGS
BEARS -5

EAGLES
PACKERS -6

SEAHAWKS -2.5
CHIEFS

FALCONS
PANTHERS -3 -120

BENGALS
SAINTS -5

BUCS
REDSKINS -5.5

BRONCOS -7.5
RAMS

49ERS -3
GIANTS

RAIDERS
CHARGERS -8.5

LIONS
CARDINALS -3 -120

PATRIOTS
COLTS -2.5

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014
STEELERS -4
TITANS

Friday Night Football: Chaos Reigns in AAC; Memphis Takes on Temple in Battle for First

Memphis at Temple 7.5, Total=50

The American Athletic Conference is in a state of chaos, thanks to the Temple Owls win last week over East Carolina. The Owls would like to further complicate things on Friday night when the Memphis Tigers come to town. Memphis is one of five teams tied for first place in the AAC with a 3-1 record, with Temple just a half game back at 3-2. The Owls win over the #19 East Carolina team was one of the biggest victories in school history, marking their first win over a ranked foe since 1998.

What do the models say: CPA, Temple 7.9; Massey, Temple 4.6; Keeper, Temple 8.4; Massey Consensus, Temple 4.7; Kerns, Temple 4.3

Memphis is 5-3 straight up and 5-3-0 against the line so far this year. They are averaging 36.2 points per game, and giving up 19.4 points per game on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, Memphis is averaging 206 rushing yards per game on 48 attempts, 4.3 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 32 times per game for a total of 242 yards, averaging 6 yards per passing attempt. Overall, Memphis has gained 448 total yards per game on an average of 79 plays.

On defense, Memphis is allowing 351 yards per game on 71 plays for a 5 yards per play average. They have given up 18 yards per point so far this year. Memphis’s opponents have run the ball 50% of the time, and are averaging 4 yards per rushing attempt. The team has allowed completions on 54.9% of its opponents’ passing attempts, good for 225 passing yards per game (6 yards per passing attempt).

Temple is averaging 29 points per game so far in 2014, while allowing 18 points a game to its opponents. They have a 4-4-0 record against the spread, with a 5-3 straight up record. Defensively, Temple’s opponents are averaging 174.2 rushing yards per game on 45 attempts, a 3.9 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 30 times per game for a total of 197 yards, averaging 5 yards per passing attempt.

Overall, Temple’s opponents have gained 371 total yards per game on an average of 75 plays. On offense, Temple is averaging 318 yards per game on 64 plays, for a 5 yards per play average. They are averaging 11 yards per point so far this year. Temple runs the ball 50% of the time, and are averaging 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. The team has completed 56.1% of its passing attempts, good for 203.7 passing yards per game (6.4 yards per passing attempt).

Temple is a 7.5 point underdog in the game, according to Jetwin.com.

College Football: Clemson heads to Wake Forest in Thursday Night NCAA Action

Clemson at Wake Forest +21.5, Total=44.5

Clemson should get quarterback Deshaun Watson back for the Thursday Night ESPN game, but he likely wouldn’t be needed in any case. Wake Forest, owners of one of the worst offenses in college football, is a huge underdog (according to bitcoin sportsbook Betcoin.ag) at home to the Tigers. Clemson, on the other hand, has allowed just 36 points in the last four games and are second in the nation in total yards allowed on defense. It should be a sleeper of a game.

What do the models say: CPA, Wake Forest +25.3; Massey, Wake Forest +26.5; Keeper, Wake Forest +23.4; Massey Consensus, Wake Forest +27.2; Kerns, Wake Forest +18.8

Clemson is 6-2 straight up and 4-4-0 against the line so far this year. They are averaging 32.2 points per game, and giving up 18.2 points per game on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, Clemson is averaging 142.5 rushing yards per game on 43 attempts, 3.3 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 37 times per game for a total of 290 yards, averaging 5 yards per passing attempt. Overall, Clemson has gained 432 total yards per game on an average of 80 plays.

On defense, Clemson is allowing 269 yards per game on 64 plays for a 4 yards per play average. They have given up 15 yards per point so far this year. Clemson’s opponents have run the ball 54% of the time, and are averaging 3 yards per rushing attempt. The team has allowed completions on 51.3% of its opponents’ passing attempts, good for 167 passing yards per game (6 yards per passing attempt).

Wake Forest is averaging 15 points per game so far in 2014, while allowing 25 points a game to its opponents. They have a 4-4-0 record against the spread, with a 2-6 straight up record. Defensively, Wake Forest’s opponents are averaging 178.5 rushing yards per game on 42 attempts, a 4.3 yards per carry average. They are throwing the ball 28 times per game for a total of 180 yards, averaging 5 yards per passing attempt. Overall, Wake Forest’s opponents have gained 358 total yards per game on an average of 70 plays.

On offense, Wake Forest is averaging 214 yards per game on 63 plays, for a 3 yards per play average. They are averaging 15 yards per point so far this year. Wake Forest runs the ball 49% of the time, and are averaging 1.1 yards per rushing attempt. The team has completed 61.2% of its passing attempts, good for 179 passing yards per game (5.6 yards per passing attempt).

The Day After: Obama’s Press Conference Transcript

Obama was Peyton Manning, and the Republicans were Bill Belichick. The day after getting lame-ducked for the final two years of his Presidency, President Obama had this to say.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Have a seat.

Today I had a chance to speak with John Boehner and congratulated Mitch McConnell on becoming the next Senate majority leader. And I told them both that I look forward to finishing up this Congress’s business and then working together for the next two years to advance America’s business.

And I very much appreciated Leader McConnell’s words last night about the prospect of working together to deliver for the American people.

During a news conference after election night, President Obama says he will continue to act through executive authority on immigration reform, as Congress has continuously delayed the issue. (AP)
On Friday, I look forward to hosting the entire Republican and Democratic leadership at the White House to chart a new course forward.

Obviously, Republicans had a good night. And they deserve credit for running good campaigns. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday’s results.

What stands out to me, though, is that the American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done. All of us in both parties have a responsibility to address that sentiment.

Still, as president, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work. So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.

All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, that there is a path for young people to succeed, and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them.

So, I plan on spending every moment of the next two-plus years doing my job the best I can to keep this country safe and to make sure that more Americans share in its prosperity.

This country has made real progress since the crisis six years ago. The fact is, more Americans are working. Unemployment has come down. More Americans have health insurance. Manufacturing has grown. Our deficits have shrunk. Our dependence on foreign oil is down, as are gas prices. Our graduation rates are up. Our businesses aren’t just creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s. Our economy is outpacing most of the world.

President Obama says that he would enjoy drinking some Kentucky bourbon with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is in line to be the next majority leader after the Republican Senate takeover. (AP)
OBAMA: But we just gotta keep at it until every American feels the gains of the growing economy where it matters most, and that’s in their own lives.

Obviously, much of that will take action from Congress. And I’m eager to work with the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. I’m committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people.

And that’s not to say that we won’t disagree over some issues that we’re passionate about. We will. Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That’s how our democracy works.

But we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there’s broad agreement among the American people. So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda. I will offer my ideas on areas where I think we can move together to respond to people’s economic needs. So just take one example. We all agree on the need to create more jobs that pay well. Traditionally, both parties have been for creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure — our roads, bridges, ports, waterways.

I think we can hone in on a way to pay for it through tax reform that closes loopholes and makes it more attractive for companies to create jobs here in the United States.

We can also work together to grow our — grow our exports and open new markets for our manufacturers to sell more American-made goods to the rest of the world. That’s something I’ll be focused on when I travel to Asia next week.

We all share the same aspirations for our young people. And I was encouraged that this year Republicans agreed to investments that expanded early childhood education. I think we’ve got a chance to do more on that front.

We’ve got some common ideas to help more young people afford college and graduate without crippling debt, so that they have the freedom to fill the good jobs of tomorrow and buy their first homes and start a family.

And in the five states where a minimum wage increase was on the ballot last night, voters went five for five to increase it. That will give about 325,000 Americans a raise in states where Republican candidates prevailed. So that should give us new reason to get it done for everybody with a national increase in the minimum wage.

So those are some areas where I think we’ve got some real opportunities to cooperate, and I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years.

Of course, there’s still business on the docket that needs attention this year. And here are three places where I think we can work together over the next several weeks before this Congress wraps up for the holidays.

First, I’m submitting a request to Congress to funding to ensure that our doctors, scientists and troops have the resources that they need to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and to increase our preparedness for any future cases here at home.

Second, I’m going to begin engaging Congress over a new authorization to use military force against ISIL. The world needs to know we are united behind this effort and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support.

Third, back in September, Congress passed short-term legislation to keep the government open and operating into December. That gives Congress five weeks to pass a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. And I hope that they’ll do it in the same bipartisan, drama-free way that they did earlier this year.

When our companies are steadily creating jobs, which they are, we don’t want to inject any new uncertainty into the world economy and to the American economy.

The point is, it’s time for us to take care of business. There are things this country has to do that can’t wait another two years or another four years. There are plans this country has to put in place for our future. And the truth is, I’m optimistic about our future. I have good reason to be.

I need Americans all across the country who are determined and big-hearted and ask what they can do and never give up and overcome obstacles, and they inspire me every single day.

So, the fact is, I still believe in what I said when I was first elected six years ago last night. All the maps plastered across our TV screens today and for all the cynics who say otherwise, I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.

And whether it’s immigration or climate change or making sure our kids are going to the best possible schools to making sure that our communities are creating jobs, whether it’s stopping the spread of terror and disease, to opening up the doors of opportunity to everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility, the United States has big things to do.

We can and we will make progress if we do it together. And I look forward to the work ahead.

So, with that, let me take some questions. I think that our team has got my list. And we’re going to start with Julie Pace at Associated Press.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

You said during this election that while your name wasn’t on the ballot, your policies were. And despite the optimism that you’re expressing here, last night was a devastating night for your party. Given that, do you feel any responsibility to recalibrate your agenda for the next two years, and what changes do you need to make in your White House and in your dealings with Republicans in order to address the concerns that voters expressed with your administration?

OBAMA: Well, as I said in my opening remarks, the American people overwhelmingly believe that this town doesn’t work well, and that it is not attentive to their needs. And as president, they rightly hold me accountable to do more to make it work properly.

I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody, not just from a particular state or a particular district. And they want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock, and get stuff done.

So, the most important thing I can do is just get stuff done and help Congress get some things done.

In terms of agenda items though, Julie, if you look as I just mentioned, to a minimum wage increase for example. That’s something I talked about a lot during the campaign, where voters had a chance to vote directly on that agenda item, they voted for it.

And so, I think it’d be hard to suggest that people aren’t supportive of it. We know that the surveys consistently say they want to see that happen.

The key is to find areas where the agenda that I’ve put forward, one that I believe will help strengthen the middle class and create more ladders of opportunity into the middle class, and improve our schools, and make college more affordable to more young people, and make sure that we’re growing faster as an economy, and we stay competitive, the key is to make sure that those ideas that I have overlap somewhere with some of the ideas that Republicans have.

There’s not going to be perfect overlap. I mean, there’s going to be some ideas that I’ve got that I think the evidence backs up would be good for the economy, and Republicans disagree. They’re not going to support those ideas. But I’m going to keep on arguing for them, because I think they’re the right thing for the country to do. Continue reading

Louisiana St. Football: Coach Les Miles’s Press Conference

The LSU Tigers are 6.5 home underdogs to Alabama this week, and Coach Les Miles welcomes the challenge. He held his weekly press conference today.

 

LES MILES: Just recognize that it’s election day coming up, where all those model citizens will get off and take care of their duties to their country. This is not Columbus Day; this is not just for the Italians. This is certainly not St. Paddy’s; it’s not just for the Irish. It is for all of those who have the ability to vote in our country, so get out and do that, please.
You know, the enjoyment of preparing for a very quality opponent, a big-time game, and the opportunity to play a Western Division opponent that’s as talented and came believe and well prepared as Alabama is just a highlight of the week and an opportunity for our football team.
I look forward to seeing the media that surrounds a game like this. Our football team seems to play biggest on a big stage, and we’ll look forward to getting to Tiger Stadium and allowing that fan base to rock the place, make a lot of noise, come early, stay late, eat concessions.
Our guys will look forward to it. Our team plays best in Tiger Stadium. It’s a magical place. There’s no better place in America to watch a football game. CBS primetime audience, I think our guys will look forward to playing.
It’s a sad day, though, because when you say goodbye to seniors that have meant so much to the program and that are such quality guys, it’s interesting, you know, you do this every year, it’s kind of– as a coach, it’s kind of something that you look forward to but you realize it’s a part of your calendar.
It just seems that it comes by so quick. Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, D.J. Welter, Lyle Collins, guys that have won SEC Championships, guys that have– four-year guys that have won 40 or more games certainly, and five-year guys who have won 51 or more games, an SEC Championship. I’m proud to be their coach.
I can tell you, you miss them. They have impact on you, and it’s not just the impact that the school has or that the program has on them; they have impact on you. We’ll miss them.
I’ll go quickly back to Ole Miss. I think our guys played four quarters of very competitive football. I recognize that the defense was extremely dominant in this game, seven straight punts from the second quarter into the fourth quarter, did a great job pressuring the quarterback and did a great job covering that pass. Kendall Beckwith, 11 tackles, is just becoming more comfortable at that linebacking spot, and again, offensively the guys up front accounted for 264 yards rushing and a very talented defense that Ole Miss brought in. They moved the football well.
You talk about 95 yards in the game-winning drive, I’d have to say about 70 of those yards were Kenny Hilliard in the fourth quarter, and again, a very fine team effort.
The thing we have to clean up is you cannot have four turnovers. I think our guys recognize that we had a little extra work in the open date on turnovers and turnover margin, and our guys will not have an opportunity to win a lot of games spotting an opponent three extra possessions.
Now, on to Alabama: 7-1 overall, fourth ranked in the nation. Coach Saban does a great job. We’ll look forward to that challenge.
Offensively they score 36.5 points a game, average 500 yards total offense. Quarterback, Blake Sims, has thrown for 2,000 yards, 15 touchdowns, and only three interceptions, and two terribly talented tailbacks in T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. Yeldon is 600 plus yards, five touchdowns, and Henry is 530 yards and four touchdowns, and maybe the best wide receiver in the country is Amari Cooper, 71 receptions, 1,100 yards, nine touchdowns, and still in his season.
Again, very talented on offense.
Defensively, I don’t know that we’ll find that we’ll play against a team that year that has as quality a defense as this team. They’re big, strong and fast and play in the secondary. Just a talented group. Landon Collins, Louisiana native, is having a great year, making plays, and again, very, very talented guy and playing very, very well in the secondary.
On special teams they lead the conference in net punting, and a very, very talented return guy in Christion Jones. Again, it’s the kind of game that you come to LSU to play in. It’s an opportunity to continue to show improvement, continue to take a step, but to enjoy the excitement of yet another big game in Tiger Stadium.
I think our guys are looking forward to it, and we’ll look forward to this week as we prepare.
Before I turn it over to questions, I just want to say thanks to those that expressed condolences and kindness to my family during our time where I lost my mom. Just again, want to say thanks.
Questions?

Q. Could you talk about the game of college football? Give me your thoughts on the game of college football; what does it mean when you can excel with a quarterback who does not need to be the star on your team? Both you and Alabama have been very successful with guys that just get the ball to their playmakers.
LES MILES: College football, kind of the overview, is it’s a tremendous place for young men to kind of earn their way and get their degree, learn team concept, and go off into society and do the right thing. That’s lead a family, learn to be a very quality father and husband and make a quality living for that group.
I think our guys, they understand that. I think that’s an important part of their development. I think it was in my case.
The quarterback spot, you know, there is no finer team sport than football. Everybody has a job to do. If you are not successful, you will hold back 10 guys, and that quarterback job is a very important one that’s the kind of job that is a lightning rod. I saw some fans’ poll that said who will be the most important guy in what would be the next few games at LSU, and the quarterback topped the spot, and rightfully so. It’s the kind of place where you make 10 players on offense work, and without a very quality effort on offense, it obviously can hurt your team.
We’ve been fortunate to have an offense that can hand the ball off and get four yards, and we’ve, again, been fortunate to have a quarterback that can step in there and make plays and do the things that we need to have done to pick up 1st downs and can move the chains. He’s developing as a leader, and I think that’s all just kind of part of the sport, if you will.
I think the quarterback, first and foremost, has to make his team better, and frankly, that’s what Anthony Jennings has done.

Q. Question about running games in the SEC. Because of the type of defenses that you play in this league, how critical is it to have running backs like you have that are in the range of six feet, 230, or is that just kind of a coincidence that you have three this year? I realize Terrence is the, quote-unquote, small back, but still kind of runs with power. Do you have to have that kind of elite power backs to succeed on the ground in the SEC?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think that there are a number of different styles of running backs, and I think that’s an advantage to have a differing style of guy, in other words, a guy that might have speed and shiftiness and tough to touch and get it out in front and outrun everybody. I think to have that very physical downhill runner in the eye is certainly an advantage. I think an elusive guy that has ball skills also fits. Any time that you get one of those guys that has all of that, he takes all your snaps. I just think there’s a desire by our group to share the responsibility moving the football, and it’s no mistake that Kenny Hilliard comes in and is fresh in the back end of the game and really leads the charge and some great runs in the last drive.

Q. Can you just talk about Alabama’s offense? Is it much different with Lane Kiffin calling plays? Can you see any kind of difference in what they do philosophy wise with Lane Kiffin calling plays?
LES MILES: Well, Lane Kiffin is a very tactical guy, does a great job putting his offense in position to make plays. Yeah, he’s a talented coach and a guy that has ability. We see advantages that have been explored by the play caller, and he’s a very talented guy.

Q. You look around yesterday in the NFL, you see a guy like Jeremy Hill have a big day, Jarvis Landry have a big day, two guys that could still be in your program. Could you talk about Lyle Collins? He’ll be honored as a senior Saturday night, and an assessment of his senior year and getting to come back for a senior year?
LES MILES: Well, he’s putting himself in position obviously to have his degree. He is a leader of our team. He’s a guy that has improved, is a dominant player on Saturdays, and eventually when the back end of this thing is all said and done, I think he’ll have an opportunity to be a first-round draft pick.
I think the decision for him to come back is– obviously these are all personal decisions based on family and really just a number of reasons that guys choose to go and/or come back. I think he makes a great decision. I think it’ll eventually benefit him greatly.

Q. Who do you think of when you see Amari Cooper play, and what specifically makes him so good? What impresses you about him?
LES MILES: Well, he’s got speed and size and ball skills and runs routes extremely well, a guy that has the nuance of what makes the route open. That’s not something that just comes with speed and size and ball skills. You have to understand what the route is called to do and how it fits within the scheme and then have the ability to make it work, and he has all that.

Q. Who does he remind you of?
LES MILES: Generally the wide receiver at Alabama. Amari Cooper is the guy that I think of when I see him. Very talented. I don’t know that there’s a specific– he’s awfully smooth. If you look at that receiver that has real speed and ball skills and can run the route, it’s a talented man.

Q. Can you give us an update on Terrence Magee?
LES MILES: Yeah, Terrence is going to be fine. He’s going to practice today, and we’d expect him to be ready for the game.

Q. Did he practice at the end of last week?
LES MILES: I don’t think he did.

Q. And moving on, after nine weeks playing straight, obviously a bye week is helpful, but did you think that, man, this kind of stunts the momentum? Is that part of it, or do you think this is more helpful with the rest?
LES MILES: Yeah, I have always enjoyed bye weeks in the fact that it allowed for health to re-gear, allow us to do some things within our football program. I think there’s probably some times individual programs, not necessarily this one, has some loss of momentum. What happens after you win a game and you go into a bye week, I think that there’s some advantages to that, as well. I don’t think there’s really any disadvantage for this team going into this bye week.

Q. Two years ago when Alabama came here, a lot of people said a classic game, two top programs in the country. Do you get a sense from your players that were on that team that they’ve been waiting two years to get back into this situation to have them come back to Tiger Stadium?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think there’s a– I think there’s an enjoyment of playing this team. You enjoy competition. You enjoy playing at a very high level. You enjoy playing in Tiger Stadium, which these Tigers do. I think we’re looking forward to it, not necessarily based on what happened in the stadium two years ago, but based on the fact that there’s something very specific that can happen this year.

Q. You opened up playing two really good quarterbacks in the SEC, Dak Prescott and Nick Marshall. Have you seen your defense improve against dual-threat quarterbacks, and how would you compare Blake Sims to others you’ve seen this year?
LES MILES: I would see him as a very dangerous, very special dual-threat quarterback. I think our defense has improved significantly, and I think that certainly that’ll be a challenge to us. But I do see the opportunity for us to have improved and defend them.

Q. Do you see that your defense has improved because they’re not playing players like Nick Marshall or Dak Prescott, or do you think there’s something– what’s happened there defensively to help with playing a dual threat quarterback?
LES MILES: Yeah, well, I think there’s some technical things that have taken place in the last– really since we played those guys that have allowed us to play better, and I think that our guys are recognizing that they can’t be washed out of a gap, and there’s some, again, very, very important technical pieces that have come to play, and I think we’re better.

Q. This will be your ninth meeting against Nick Saban. How much mutual respect is there between you and he, and do you welcome this as an opportunity not just for your program but for you as the leader of one of the premier programs in college football to match up with one of your peers?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think there’s a mutual respect certainly from me to him, recognizing the great job he’s done at Alabama and the style of offense, defense, and special teams he puts together. Obviously he is a very, very talented coach.
Any time that you would match yourself with that style of program and team, it’s very enjoyable. It’s an opportunity to play and play well and make a difference in this year. Yeah, I suspect he feels the same.

Q. With your offensive mentality or this team this year, you go two tight a lot, go north-south in the run game, I don’t think anybody was surprised how y’all attacked Ole Miss and won’t be surprised with Bama. What type of mentality do the offensive guys have to have when you take that approach of not a whole lot of surprise, just line up and try to stop them?
LES MILES: Well, hopefully there will be some surprise. We don’t necessarily like the opportunity to just run the same play repeatedly, but the opportunity to attack them in several different sets and certainly two tight end being one, again, gives the opponent– they have to march out and prepare against two tight ends, and they’ve got to march out and prepare against three wide receivers and four wide receivers. There’s a regular personnel and slot and pro, so it gives them something that they can work on, as well.
But we’re trying to maximize our personnel as best we can, and we feel like a multiple look and several different personnel groups is kind of what we would ask of our team to accomplish in a game plan.

Q. The players change throughout the years, but what do you think remains the same as some of the hallmarks of this LSU-Alabama series?
LES MILES: Well, it generally speaks to the Western Division, and the ramifications of who wins and who loses are always very significant. I think there’s a very good rivalry here that I think both players, both coaching staffs just look forward to competing in.

Q. How important is it for each group of players that comes in to put their own stamp on a rivalry game?
LES MILES: Well, it’s one that they’ll remember for a long time, and it’s a– yeah, it’ll be awfully important to both sides.

Q. Knowing how well they play up front on defense and stopping the run, how much more difficult do you think it will be to run the ball the way you have the last couple of weeks, and does that put a bigger premium do you think on maybe a couple of big pass plays or two in the game to help you there?
LES MILES: Yeah, we’re always searching for balance, and I think there’s an opportunity to achieve that some in this game. I think there’s a– I think you’ll see, against quality opponents, your opportunity to be more balanced is certainly something that is required.

Q. In your earlier remarks, you said that this might be one of the best defenses you’ve seen. What makes them maybe better than a Mississippi State, which everybody kind of already has a feel for?
LES MILES: Well, I don’t know that saying that they’re better than Mississippi State is necessarily what I’m really saying. I am just looking at Alabama and saying that their defensive front is just solid. They’re big and strong and fast, and they’re seldom out of position. They’re just a very quality, quality defense.

Q. How important do you think the bye week was to get some of your younger guys acclimated, and do you think they kind of took advantage of it with the game coming up this weekend?
LES MILES: Yeah, I think we took advantage of the time off. Hopefully they got off their feet and relaxed and watched a little college football on Saturday. But today we’ll have a nice practice and we’ll kind of see how they respond. My guess is that they did take some time off and will be ready to play.

Q. The defense that you have leads the league in getting off the field on 3rd down. Alabama’s offense converts more 3rd downs than anyone. When you look at them on film is it something as simple as Cooper or why are they converting so well on 3rd down?
LES MILES: Again, I think they’re a talented offense. I think the opportunity to throw the football to Cooper certainly is an advantage. I think they’ve got a very talented quarterback, and again, any time you put a Yeldon and a talented group and nice offensive line together, there’s an opportunity to convert on 3rd downs.

Q. Every game is important to the fans, but when it’s Bama week, the atmosphere changes and is kind of palpable. How does that affect the team going into this game?
LES MILES: When we come into Tiger Stadium and it is a live environment, there’s energy in the crowd, our guys play off of it. They feed on it, and again, we play best in Tiger Stadium, and that atmosphere is very, very special and very conducive to those Tigers playing well.

Q. The last couple of years, probably last five years, this has been the biggest game probably on your schedule, whether outside of your building. Has it changed at all with the emergence of any of the Mississippi State schools? Have you seen the prep change any within your building?
LES MILES: No, I think there’s hopefully a strong commitment with each team that we play. I think certainly we looked forward to playing the Ole Miss team last time that we played, and I think that this team falls in that category as one of those teams on the schedule that our guys really look forward to preparing for and playing.
Change? I don’t know that it’s changed much.

Q. What does this game mean to recruiting, the landscape of recruiting, sometimes fans rightly or wrongly say the winner of that game is where this kid is going. Is it more just being impressed with the programs themselves?
LES MILES: Well, I think there’s always some enjoyment in recruiting that you take when you win, and certainly there’s a piece of recruiting that is specific to winning. To what extent, I’m not certain. I can always tell you it’s a lot more fun to call after you won one.

Q. Since you started out talking about voting, I was curious if you voted yet, and I don’t mean the Amway Coaches Poll.
LES MILES: No. My vote in the coaches poll, it’s top secret.

Q. I was wondering if you voted just in general.
LES MILES: If I voted– oh, tomorrow? Tomorrow, I have my favorites. I like anybody in the Big Ten that is kind of up and coming. Not anybody. I refuse to- hey, it’s a right of every American to keep that private. Your voting I didn’t ask, hey, raise your hand if you’re voting for this guy. I said everybody should go vote. Have I done it yet? No. And I may not. (Laughter.)

Ohio St. Football, November 3: Urban Meyer’s Press Conference

Ohio St. rolled as expected over Illinois on Saturday, easily winning 55-14. The Buckeyes will finally face a ranked team this Saturday, squaring off against #7 ranked Michigan St. in a vital game for both teams.

Transcript:

 

COACH MEYER: We pounded the ball out of the end zone with the wind and tried to sky it against the wind. So obviously a big week, big week, and I hope the culture is here at Ohio State that the most prepared team will win, not the most interviews, not the most conversations you have. So the mentality that we want to have is we want to really work hard Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, to get ready for the game at 8:00 Saturday night. With that, I’ll answer any questions for you.

Q. What’s the status of green things in the facility this week, is that allowed or not?
COACH MEYER: I don’t know, we’re just working on third downs and all that. Just a big game. Great idea, though. Great idea.

Q. You’ve coached a long time. You’ve coached in many rivalry games at many of your stops. You have the rival here. Now you’re playing a team that you lost to last year, you are tied for first place; it’s a big game. I know you like to talk about motivation, that kind of things with the players, is there anything different about the rivalry game where the motivation is that deep?seeded every year it’s a rival versus a big game like this?
COACH MEYER: I think there’s a lot of difference. I got asked that last week a little bit. I can’t remember who did that. But I just grew up in the ten year war, and there’s a saying around here, you can lose every game you play except for the team up north. We all know that’s not true.
However, I’d love to have our players have a very clear understanding of rivalry games, the pageantry of it and when you come back to understand the rivalry.
We have one rival here. What’s happened in this situation is you have an excellent team. After watching them on film, they’re a great team. And they stand in the way of Big Ten championship. They stood in the way last year and we failed.
And so does that make them a rival? It makes them in the way of something that we all want. And that’s Big Ten championship. I think it happened a little bit with Wisconsin. I remember our first year it was big because they went to three straight Rose Bowls. I think this is a credit to their university, their coaching staff and most importantly their players.
And our guys know that. So to say this is a rivalry game, that would diminish the rivalry that’s been here for 100 years. This is a great game because it’s two teams battling for first place.

Q. Aside from the Xs and Os and the risks of playing a really good team, is there part of you that is interested to see what you’re made of and how far you’ve come and to test yourself against somebody who is an equal?
COACH MEYER: Yes, I’ve been asked that question several times. Just about playing a team at the same level as we are, which I don’t necessarily agree with. I think we’ve beaten a bunch of very good teams.
But they’re the king of the hill right now because they won the championship and you have to dethrone them. How do you do that? You outwork them Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Q. What was the difference in last year’s game?
COACH MEYER: What was the difference? I think obviously came down to a couple plays. They jumped out to a quick start. We did not play very good pass defense. Gave up a big one that we didn’t need to give up.
And on offense, had the ball at the end of the game, we didn’t execute to win the game. I thought offensively, watching it, that was two very good teams playing each other last year.
Very physical, physical game that they made a few more plays than we did. But I thought our pass defense hurt us last year in that game and obviously with the ball in your hand to go win it, we didn’t get it done.

Q. Just curious, how much in general on a week like this do you fall back on that psychology degree in terms of motivating?
COACH MEYER: I think you have to fall back on that when you’re playing teams?? there’s not a whole lot of?? if we weren’t very intelligent, you’d have to be real creative. There’s not a whole lot of creativity in this one.
Everybody knows what’s at stake. I think the most important thing that I have to do and the leaders job and the coaches is the immediacy of the task at hand.
Today’s Monday. What’s the most important thing on Monday? For them to get their rest and get the treatments. We played a game; they did not. So we have to equate this a little bit.
So we’ve had conversations. This will be more about just the task at hand. And that’s a Monday, and then a Tuesday, a Wednesday, a Thursday. And try to get as many camera?? people want to do interviews in our locker room now and all that.
Since now I work for Jerry, I guess we’re going to do all that. So I’m just kidding, Jerry. I think it’s all good exposure for our players and coaches, but the immediacy is to get focused. The most prepared team will win this game.

Q. Unrelated, it’s such a game of routine. It’s so important. Third straight night game, how much does that help you in terms of the kids
COACH MEYER: It’s probably real. I mean, it’s not a shocker now. So I think it does help us that we’ve had some night games to prepare for this one.

Q. Pat Narduzzi obviously has an extra week to come up with something for you guys. How in practice can you as coaches get J.T. Barrett ready to face something that he might not see on film?
COACH MEYER: We’ve seen it all this year. The one thing about their coach and coaching staff, they’re pretty set in what they do. They’re really good at it. This is not one of the star wars where change of defense every week, and there’s the inherent problems with that when you face a team that changes, changes, changes, because you’re not really quite sure.
But we have to be ready for adjustments. They won’t change their defense because they’re too good. It’s the ones that maybe are struggling on defense or come up with something.
But they’ll have a little wrinkle here and there that we have to be ready for. That’s why we’re watching what we did against them last year. And how do you prepare for it? We anticipate and you give them that rep in practice. That’s the only way to do it.

Q. In talking to your defensive coaches, do they say that they see a lot of difference between Connor Cook last year in that game and now?
COACH MEYER: You’d have to ask them. I’ve not had that conversation yet. I will. I’ve not been so knee deep in there. I haven’t had a chance to talk to them yet about it.

Q. You guys have been so prolific offensively this year. One exception might be short yardage situations. That’s probably going to be a big part of this week. Offensive line and just as you analyze the short yardage situation what do you think
COACH MEYER: Two things, I think we had a big back last year that ran through some tackles and I think our backs are pretty good and they’re going to get more physical, the older they get. But they’re playing pretty good.
Teams also give us some pretty tough looks to run into and I think we’ve got to be?? we’ve tried to do a little throwing in certain situations. So that’s certainly an area that we’re going to take a look at and obviously we had one last year we didn’t convert on a fourth down.
So that’s a big part of the game now. The personnel and defenses are so good in those situations that it’s something we’re going to sink a lot of time into.

Q. Michigan State has I think seven fifth?year starters; you obviously have a very young team. How much of a factor do you think that is?
COACH MEYER: It’s a huge factor. Last year I thought we were kind of a veteran team, certainly on the offense, with those linemen. And that’s certainly not the case this year.
So that’s a big factor?? once again it’s a factor but not much you can do about it but go back to work and do the best you can. So that’s certainly a factor.

Q. Something about Devin Smith, two years ago he had the huge catch. He’s had kind of a different role this year. How has he adapted and how important is he?
COACH MEYER: He’s great. He’s the best gunner in America. He does a great job for us on that. He’s also our downfield threat. Does a very good job on that as well. He’s adapted well. I’m not sure how much his role has changed other than the fact that we had no one else a couple of years ago. That was the biggest difference. Now we have a variety of different body types and skill sets that we try to utilize.
So his role or value hasn’t changed. I mean, it’s just a couple of years ago it was Braxton right, Braxton left, throw it to Devin down the field. And it’s changed a little bit.

Q. Last week you kind of captured the whole picture from your comments about driving towards student section after they’ve run off 24 straight points. I might have thought you were thinking about what first play is going to be second play, any new things to combat the noise. How often does that happen, it’s almost like a fan snapshot of what it was like?

COACH MEYER: I shared that with our players. I shared it with you guys, that was one of those moments I’ll never forget, a young football team, freshman quarterback jogging out after getting punched right square in the mouth for about a quarter and a half, getting ready to lose a game, because everything was pointing?? we’ve all seen that; you’re about to lose a game in overtime to Penn State at home and our guys snatched it up and did well. That was the offensive line and the quarterback.
So I’m not sure what that has to do with this. But that’s a snapshot.

Q. They had all the momentum, too, looked like?
COACH MEYER: I never felt like we let that one go. I felt they scored right at the end of the game against Wisconsin in overtime. This one, they beat us. And we had to come back and snatch a victory from a loss. And to do that with a young group of players, that normally doesn’t happen.

Q. Couple of years ago you said that the Michigan State game I think in ’12 was a turning point.
COACH MEYER: It was.

Q. Is this an opportunity, though, for a different sort of signature win, for you guys maybe to earn some national respect back?
COACH MEYER: I think so. I think that will be a conversation I have with our players. I think they know that already that there’s been, this is a game to get the respect that Ohio State deserves and has had in the past. You have to go compete and win this game and it’s going to be a task. But that’s real.

Q. After the game last year, some of us observed you sitting in a golf cart. What was kind of the immediate thoughts that were going through your head right after that game?
COACH MEYER: Just get a team back from a tough loss after?? just get them back after a tough loss, go play in the BCS Bowl game, because you see the horror stories of teams that don’t show up for Bowl games because they’re devastated. Your job as leader and coach is to move on.
I thought we did. We didn’t win the game. But our guys came back and played their tails off. It’s part of the game. We’ve just gotta do the best we can and we’ll certainly do our best this week.

Q. When you look back on that game, like you said, Michigan State is not going to change a lot defensively because of how solid they are. What gave you all the most problems last year in the Big Ten championship game?
COACH MEYER: Good players. Good players and a good scheme. That’s a rugged?? this is a rugged game. We’ve got to be very smart on how we go about our business and preparing the players this week on how much contact they have.
This is going to be?? the one thing about when?? the two experiences I’ve had with Michigan State in 2012 and ’13, I mean that’s a sledge hammer. These are, say what you want about any other teams any other conferences or whatever, this team can play at any level, any conference, anywhere. I’d like to think that the Ohio State Buckeyes can, too. This is going to be a big football game that we have to be very smart.
The whole key, I don’t mean to keep going back to this, but the only thing that matters is when the foot hits the ball at 8:00that night that our guys are mentally physically ready to rock and roll because it’s going to be a rugged game.

Q. When you look at J.T., do you feel he feels he has the freedom now to create sort of like what Braxton had last year and stuff, meaning, is he over that hump of just running the offense but also being creative in tough situations and making?? what’s your sense of how he’s embraced that?
COACH MEYER: The one thing that he does well, even better than Braxton, is when something?? because it happens quite often?? when something is not there, he puts his foot in the ground and gets us to second and four, second and five.
I can count three or four times that happened on Saturday. Those were not designed runs. But sometimes things don’t work out the way you envision them. Someone blitzes, someone flashes. Someone misses a block, screen pass, someone peels, and he puts his foot in the ground?? we’re even teaching him to get down.
So you get offensive football and we?? Jerry showed me again the stat. We’re number one in the country in average start field position on offense, average start field position on defense. And that’s for a variety of reasons.
Number one reason probably is we don’t have penalties on special teams. I don’t know if we’ve had any this year. I’ll go ahead and say that, we’ll get french fried Saturday.
The other thing is good coverage units. But the other thing is our quarterback. And the loss yardage plays don’t happen a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.