Mills, young DBs pass first test
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 19:20
|When Jalen Mills took the field Saturday night, it wasn’t just his first game in Purple and Gold. It was the true freshman’s first start.
That isn’t something that recent award-winning LSU cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne or Tyrann Mathieu can say. Not even the corner corps’ only upperclassmen Tharold Simon holds that distinction. But the leader of the CBs made sure Mills would be ready.
“He was ready because he was my roommate in the hotel. I just kept asking him, ‘Are you ready? Are you ready?,’” Simon said, not trying to channel his inner Triple-H. ”He was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go do it.’ When I saw him make a tackle or make a good play out on the field, he was really pumped up, so I knew he was ready to go.”
Mills finished with four tackles against the Mean Green.
Simon was impressed with his partner’s play, but he knows pass-happy Washington will challenge the youngster to a much greater degree.
“I think he played really good. This week is when I’m going to really see because I know [Washington] is going to test all of us,” Simon said. “They’re going to throw the ball way more with better receivers, so this week, I’m going to see what he’s really about.”
Mills joined redshirt freshmen Jalen Collins and Micah Eugene, true freshman Corey Thompson, and sophomore Ronald Martin as inexperienced defensive backs who saw action in Saturday’s season-opener.
“I saw good things and I saw a couple of sloppy plays that they had like relaxing when they shouldn’t have been relaxing. But for the most part, I think they played a very good game,” the junior corner said. ”They just have to go out this week and practice hard and get better at the mistakes that they made.”
This week against Washington, Simon said the defense as a whole will need to play better and prepare better, and he uses North Texas’ 66-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter as fuel for their fire.
“That was a sloppy series for us. We’re a better team than that, and we should’ve gotten off the field as fast as possible,” he said. “…We just weren’t playing LSU style football. We weren’t playing tough, mean. We were just going through the motions, because we felt this was an easy game, just trying to get out of here. But we can’t take this team coming up lightly at all, because they’ll break our hearts by pulling out a victory in our home stadium.”
With Tyrann Mathieu enrolling on campus today, here’s what LSU head coach Les Miles and a couple players had to say about it.
“I think he’s making some quality decisions for himself. That’s kind of my view. I can tell you that my focus is about my team and preparing gameweek and there are some times that I can devote to other things. I don’t have that right now. I’m really kind of focused on one thing. I believe that he’s made some really difficult decisions for himself that will better him as he goes forward. We certainly wish him the very best.”
“I’m very proud of him for making that decision, because I think it was a great decision for him, and it was a strong decision he had to make too. The things that I want to see from him: just mature a lot more, just become a better person… He hit me up today telling me he was in class and he’d come talk to me later, so it’s a good thing that he made the decision that he made.”
Odell Beckham Jr.
“Overcoming adversity is something you have to deal with all of your life, and I feel as if he’s doing a great job of that.”
Question: Do you think he wants to play here again? “Definitely. It’s a dream to play here again, but really we don’t know what the future holds so we just have to wait and see.”