HOOVER | Les Miles began by talking about hyperbaric oxygen and rappelling. He ended, not surprisingly, by complaining about LSU's Southeastern Conference schedule.
In between, the LSU head coach made the case that, once again, his team would be a strong contender for SEC honors.
"Last year, we lost three games by a total of 13 points," Miles noted. We have won more games, 85 wins, in the last eight years than any other conference team. We are graduating players at a 70 percent rate.
"I like the position of our program. We have made our mark over time."
The Tigers do have to replace much lost talent, including an alarming 11 players who left early for the SEC draft, as well as bringing in a new offensive coordinator, former Baltimore Ravens assistant Cam Cameron.
"Offensively, with what Cam will do from a play calling position, we are more confident there," Miles said. "Our quarterback, (Zach) Mettenberger, is playing much, much better.
"We graduated some guys, some guys left without their degree. But we have good offensive players. Alfred Blue at tailback was off to one of the fine years before he was injured in the third game, and he is back. He had a fine spring, and I expect that he will start this season fast.
"J.C. Copeland at fullback, 275 pounds, he will occasionally bend your facemask."
Most of the offensive questions for Miles concerned the status of tailback Jeremy Hill, currently suspended after a guilty plea in an assault case.
"Jeremy Hill has a legal entanglement," Miles said. "He is currently separated from his teammates and we will see what happens as that goes. We visit with Jeremy on a regular basis. He is not allowed at any tam meetings, any workouts. He is not allowed in our facility. I know that is hard on him.
"We will wait on the perimeter and see what happens with the legal system. When we know, we will let you know."
Miles, who consistently expresses concern over LSU having a tougher league schedule than Alabama, said that he is confident nonetheless.
"We have a schedule that starts with TCU that is a great challenge," he said. "We play Georgia, Florida, the West, and we are looking forward to the challenge.
"I like us, I like us in every game."
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Deal ends 08.31.13