Sunday, October 3, 2010

Les Miles = Buffoonery

The Coaches' Poll is out, and if there was ever a litmus test to decide whether or not they should have a say in determining who plays for the national title, this past weekend would have been a great opportunity.

Had it been an actual test, the coaches would have failed miserably, as LSU maintained a top 10 (#9) ranking from its peers. How any football coach at any level could support what happened Saturday in Baton Rouge is either a demonstration of how coaches being unprepared to vote, or...


Keeping the LSU Tigers and their confused coach high in the rankings continues the complicating problem for LSU fans and officials. Les Miles has done enough on his own so that he has reached a level annual 'hot seat' status as a coach in the SEC. But if the opposing coaches keep his stock artificially inflated, can you get rid of him?

Enough with that though - I don't really think coaches engage in a collusion effort against LSU. It does show, however, that the coaches poll is just another item for the bulletin board of all things wrong with college football.

(But that's not what I'm writing this post about - you know that.)

On many occasions, I have taken the opportunity to label the current Louisiana State head football coach with such adjectives and monikers including dimwitted, dumb, lost, ridiculous, incredibly stupid, a doofus, bonehead, moronic...

But my favorite is 'buffoon'.
"I can only tell you that the only fit to me for those players on this campus is extremely good."
- Les Miles, Jan 2, 2005
Les Miles deflated brain.
Courtesy of LSUfreek & EDSBS
Les Miles... is a buffoon.

I played organized football through ninth grade, when I decided to focus on other sports. I also played a lot of flag football in college and after college in city recreation leagues. But I have never, ever considered myself qualified or knowledgeable enough to coach a football team at a high level.

Les Miles has changed my position on this.

There is no doubt in my mind that you or I have better time management skills than Les Miles, and that LSU football would be in better hands with you or I at the helm in the two-minute drill.

Why it was even crazier than it seemed:

1) Miles replaced the quarterback that drove them down the field and put LSU into a position to win.

Why is this crazy? Because it presented Les Miles with the opportunity to solidify who his quarterback should be for the rest of the season. Jordan Jefferson had struggled all season, creating the situation Saturday of Miles going with a dual quarterback strategy. (Which, by the way wasn't all that great - until the last play, only one touchdown against a terrible Tennessee team. And that was Jefferson's 83 yard run on the first play of the game.)

Jarrett Lee did outperform Jordan Jefferson Saturday, at least as a quarterback. Jefferson was 3/10 for 30 yards. Lee had 16/23 for 185.

It was a perfect opportunity for Miles to allow Lee to finish the drive, win the game, and go into the second half of the year with momentum and confidence for his quarterback.

Did Les do this? Of course not.

Because he's incapable of realizing what is happening around him.

1b) And to support this even more...

Watch the video below. On first and goal, Jarrett Lee MADE THE SMART PLAY and threw the ball away when he didn't have anything. He avoided risking a turnover, and stopped the clock.

Smart play. Unlike his coach.

2 and 3) Sending Jordan Jefferson into the game without two plays.

This is where it gets elementary. I coached junior high and high school basketball for four years. That means I was coaching kids anywhere from thirteen to eighteen years old. In close end-of-game situations, I would give the players their playcall, followed by - and this is the key - instructions as to what to do if the play did work and what to do if the play didn't work.

Something like:
"Okay, if we score here, make them pick up the ball on the inbound, get back, and don't foul a shooter. And remember, if we DON'T score here, foul right away. Got it?"

Sometimes I would even repeat these instructions. You know, just to be sure. This was not something I learned at 'coaching school'. Hell, I never went to a 'coaching school'. I just played a lot of sports growing up and realized that the more mentally prepared I was for certain situations, it was more likely that I would do the right thing. Simply put, I would plan ahead, so that if I was ever presented with an opportunity where a quick decision was needed, I would at least know what my options were, and likely would know which one was appropriate for that situation.

It's called being prepared. Being organized. Being smart.

Les Miles demonstrated that he was none of these here. And it's magnified even more, because he and his coaches HAD ACCESS TO THE PLAYER. Physical, tactile access.

It wasn't like they were trying to communicate playcalls to a frantic Jarrett Lee as he was driving down the field, he sent in the guy who had been standing next to him and his coaches for five minutes.

(I've already said that sending in Jefferson was a mistake, but let's go under the assumption that it wasn't. Maybe Jarrett Lee wasn't prepared for the entire goal line package. Which would be dumb, too, but whatever.)

So Miles and his coaches HAD ACCESS (wanted to emphasize this again) to instruct this player as to what to do if he entered the game.

But they didn't do this. The problem then is that there wasn't a conversation that should have been had. I imagine the conversation that actually took place:

Miles: Okay, Jordan, you're going in.
Jordan: Who? Me?
Miles: Yes, you. We want you to go in and run a sweep around right tackle.
Jordan: A running play when we have no timeouts? Shouldn't I have a passing option at the back of the end zone?
Miles: No, we don't want to complicate it. Just get around the corner, put your head down, and get in the endzone.
Jordan: Coach, are you sure? Jarrett just got us all the way down the field.
Miles: No, we want you to score this touchdown.
Jordan: Yes, Coach. What's the call if I don't get in?
Miles: Don't get in? What are you talking about? Get in the game, son!

(You'll notice that I gave this section a 2 & 3. These paragraphs are why...)

They called a play around end with no pass option, even as they had no timeouts. Even if they told Jordan to run it in, call a playaction, roll right with a back endzone option (so to keep the defensive back from committing to the run), and if he doesn't think he can get it in, throw it in the stands. This is a big deal because it would stop the clock and allow for a huddled playcall, or - as we saw - the opportunity to substitute personnel. So, I consider

And as we've discussed, then there was no backup plan if the playcall wasn't successful. No second playcall, nothing.

4) Not telling Jefferson to spike the ball after it was clear there was confusion on the field.

This is where it's clear there was no second playcall. Jefferson is standing at the end of the offensive line with hands out in the international what-am-I-supposed-to-do stance.

Two things should have happened here: A) a coach should have instructed Jefferson to just spike it (there were still 20 seconds left) or B) Jefferson should have realized that his coaching staff is led by an imbecile and that he needed to take charge and just spike it himself.

However, this turn of events also leads me to pose a question. But first, I want to bring attention to the idea that when myself or anyone else asks a question that could be considered 'foolish' or 'immature' - it's usually true. We are going for shock value or to exaggerate a situation.

But when it comes to questions like this and Les Miles, I'm completely serious. He's earned it.

Did Les Miles even know what down it was?

I don't think this question is out line. We'll obviously never know, but I do know that it is not beyond believability that Les Miles could of gotten so caught up in the moment that he forgot what down it was. Or, he didn't know that the pass interference call gave him a new set of downs. (Why he wouldn't know this? It is Les Miles.)

Perhaps that's why Jefferson didn't spike the ball. But that doesn't explain...

5) Why did they substitute?

This is more of a critique of the lack of the second playcall, but the timing of the substitutions is also suspect. Seven seconds went by before we see the first sub enter from the bottom of the screen.

Again, the LSU sideline was not prepared.

But, of course, this is how Les Miles won the game.

And oddly, the victory is the most frustrating item for LSU fans. You just can't seem to get rid of this guy.

LSU fans want Les Miles out SO badly, they can taste it. You can hear on that video - at the point when LSU lost the game - the overwhelming boos ringing throughout Death Valley.

It could of been the opening LSU fans, media, and administrators have been looking for. And while it can be another bullet in the gun, LSU fans don't have what they need to fire the kill shot.

They're stuck with their buffoon football coach.