Humbling second loss, forces LSU to look inward Print
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Monday, 27 October 2008 14:17
NCAAF Headline News

 BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -Les Miles is willing to concede now that he might have been in denial.
Costly interceptions, like the three thrown by redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee against Georgia, are the kinds of mistakes that young, inexperienced quarterbacks are bound to make against the best defenses in the Southeastern Conference.
The answer, Miles said, is a combination of coaches recognizing plays in which Lee is most comfortable and urging the quarterback to speak up more about calls he doesn't like.
``We have to do a better job of removing some of those options of making the mistake that was made in this last game,'' Miles said Monday after his film review of last Saturday's 52-38 loss to Georgia. ``We'll try to limit some of those until we feel like he's in a groove. ... When he's playing and comfortable, he's pretty talented.''
h were returned for touchdowns and one of which led to a field goal - and Lee's day doesn't look so bad. He still threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
There's also no telling how much closer the game could have been if not for the turnovers.
Miles noted that LSU (5-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which has dropped to No. 15 in the polls, still racked up nearly 500 yards and had little trouble scoring against Georgia (7-1, 4-1), which is now ranked eighth and remains among the favorites to win the SEC.
The Tigers had 188 yards rushing, led by Charles Scott's 144 yards and two scores.
``In order to dominate a game, you've got to play great the whole time, so I think we've got to focus right now on consistency,'' Scott said.
That applies to both sides of the ball. LSU's defense, long a strength, was plagued by a lack of discipline and missed assignments while giving up 443 total yards and 38 points to the Bulldogs.
Miles said talent is not LSU's problem, nor is it the schemes called by first-year co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto. Rather, certain players are trying to do too much at critical times, rather than focusing on their own jobs and trusting their teammates, Miles said.
our assignment and ripped through your gap, held your area responsibly and then, pursue the play and allow your teammate to make some great plays.''
Many of the breakdowns have occurred in LSU's defensive backfield, which lost senior starting cornerbacks Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson, along with All-America safety Craig Steltz, after last year's national championship.
The trust and discipline that comes with experience can be tested when the defense is under heavy pressure to make a third-down stop or create a turnover, as it was while LSU sought to come from behind, both against Georgia and Florida, which beat LSU 51-21 three weeks ago.
``It could possibly be the pressure of playing from behind, with everybody wanting to do so good, trying to make a play,'' safety Chad Jones said.
``The way our defense is, you can't do that,'' Jones continued. ``It's easier said than done, because on the field you always know what the score is and you always know how the game is going in the back of your head.''
This weekend, LSU hosts struggling Tulane before perhaps the biggest game remaining on its schedule - at home against Alabama and former coach Nick Saban on Nov. 8.
LSU must beat the Crimson Tide, then win its last two SEC games against Ole Miss and Arkansas while hoping Alabama loses again, just to have a chance to defend its SEC title.
LSU is not yet ready to concede anything, despite not having a single win over a team currently in the Top 25 and having allowed more than 100 points combined in two losses.
Then again, LSU never expected to have a shot at the BCS title after its second loss last season.
``Even though we've got two losses, we've still got a lot of football in front of us,'' defensive end Tyson Jackson said. ``No one knows how the season will turn around. No one knew last year how things would have unfolded.''

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