Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Les Miles Does Not Give a Damn, Neither Do I

In regards to the extremely explicit language please do not tell my mother. If she finds out I am almost certain that I will not be getting any Christmas presents this year.

Now to the game.

Wow. Breathe it in! I do not care if the game was nearly a week ago I am still recovering! Few things are a satisfying as beating Florida and a head coach who makes it a habit to have his Florida Gators stomp on the eye of the Tiger at Tiger Stadium. Yes sir, I hate Mr. Urban Meyer and his classless antics.

For an entire week LSU was the butt of every clock joke out there. The nation watched as Les Miles yet again failed in Clock Management 101 during the Tennessee game. LSU won after it was determined the Volunteers had too many players on the field during the last play of the game. Despite the victory, Les Miles and LSU were still the laughing stock of college football.

One week later LSU found itself in a battle with the Florida Gators. Despite having controlled the entire game, LSU still found itself trailing late in the fourth quarter. After Florida took a 29-26 lead, LSU got the ball with 3:21 when the Mad Hatter came to life again.

The playcalling was questionable up to that point and by no means were my emotions under control during that final drive. Shortly after a pass interference call on Florida that gave LSU the ball on the Florida 43 yard line, Les Miles seemed to again be reverting back to his clock management blunders. On three straight plays LSU ran the ball for a total of seven yards. LSU was faced with a 4th and 3 at the Florida 36 yard line.

I saw it happen and I witnessed it unfold. Miles and his staff were sending the field goal unit out. Instead of going for it on 4th and 3, Les Miles would rather have his kicker attempt a 53 yard field goal. I was numb and dumbfounded that LSU's coach thought this was the best course of action. My language was that of a sailor and my blood pressure was definitely rivaling my grandma's. Seconds before a delay of game LSU called a timeout with 35 seconds left.

I was convinced. LSU fans were convinced. Florida was convinced. The nation was convinced that Les Miles and the LSU Tigers were opting to kick a 53 yard field rather than go for it on 4th and 3. After all the Mad Hatter had just burned 40 seconds off the clock.

The team came out on the field and got in position. From a TV screen 53 yards seems like a mile. I waited and then one moment, one instance before the ball snapped it hit me for one smidgen of a second. For one nanosecond of time a thought popped in my head. I have no idea why this thought came to my head nanoseconds before the ball was snapped, but it did. Somehow this thought came in my head and settled and it somehow made sense.

It hit me. "I think he might fake it." And a moment later the ball was snapped and our world of reason and order was flipped upside down by the Mad Hatter. I was a deer in the headlights as I watched the play. It looked like the ball had no chance after holder Derek Helton lobbed it too soon, but somehow the ball bounced. It seemed the Florida defense was just going to get kicker Josh Jasper right before the first down marker, but somehow he got the first.

Les Miles fooled everyone. He fooled the nation, he fooled Urban Meyer and the Gators, he fooled his own fans and he even fooled his own players. One week after being subject to so much criticism Miles found himself in yet another crucial moment when he decided to yet again roll the dice.

The ensuing chaotic review was even more gut-wrenching than the actual play. When the ruling on the field was officially confirmed the reality of the situation officially set in.

Les Miles may be erratic and have press conferences of incoherent talk, but Les Miles is no idiot. He sold it to everyone. We all thought we knew what was unfolding. The clock was ticking and Miles was yet again struggling to get things taken care of. In a moment of panic he opted for a 53 yard field goal. He was going to put it on the kicker's leg, but as we later found out something happened during that timeout when Miles changed his mind and rolled the dice.

The fake field goal first down was only the beginning. On the next play Jarrett Lee found Terrence Toliver for a 28 yard gain. After a spiked ball and an incomplete pass, Jarrett Lee threw a jump ball to Terrence Toliver in the corner of the end zone. In one last moment of chaos for the Mad Hatter and the LSU Tigers, Toliver made the grab and came down with one foot in bounds. Touchdown. Ball game. LSU wins 33-29.

Halfway through the season LSU stands at 6-0. Even now, I am still uncertain what this team is ultimately capable of, but after their best team effort of the year (and yes I know improvements can be made) and after seeing the Riverboat Gambler resurface for the first time since the 2007 I suddenly feel a sort of, I don't know, confidence that if LSU plays to their best of ability they can beat anyone on their schedule. More importantly, I think LSU can do this.

There is something encapsulating about Les Miles. I am well aware that in a month I might hate his guts and curse his coaching, but for now I can acknowledge and accept that this is a coach who is erratic is his methods but determined in his ultimate goal - to win the game. Period.

Geaux Tigers!

1 comment:

Tim said...

Chris, I have been one of those who has cursed Les Miles, and been angry at the way he has coached this team. After the Florida game, I have realized Les Miles is simply a coach I'll just have to love to hate. As much as I hate to say it, when it comes down to one more drive with the game on the line; I want him coaching. He's just not afraid to lose, which makes him so dangerous! Great game! Have a great day!