Ah, “The Mad Hatter.” All of those “gambling calls.” The going for it on fouth down, the fake field goals. We have seen some of that this year (ie: the fake field goal to win the game vs. the Florida Gators back on Oct. 17th…and I was there for that one).
However, the “go for broke” gambling coach that earned the “Mad Hatter” name has not been nearly as prevelant for the past few years as he was in his first few years at the LSU football helm. He has been way too conservative. What happened to the old “Les?” Once again (as I said in last week’s column), some things are going to have to change.
For starters, Miles‘ is going to have to relinquish his tight rein on the offensive play calling and bring in a younger “spread type” offensive mind just like Bob Stoops did for this season at Oklahoma. Stoops (who was not long ago, in a very similar situation regarding his coaching tenure), brought in a young Offensive Coordinator named Lincoln Riley, who is calling some fantastic offensive plays and now has the Oklahoma Sooners as the #4 team in the national college football playoffs and vying for a national championship .
I would like to go on record as saying (in my opinion) that I feel that LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva and the LSU administration did Les Miles completely wrong in letting him basically “twist in the wind” for over two weeks. As both an LSU fan and supporter, quite frankly, I am quite embarrassed by the way this whole thing was handled. Simply put, a coach of Les Miles’ stature and record of successful accomplishment at LSU deserves much..much better! I feel that Les Miles’ (as he always does) handled himself with complete class in this situation. This has made me think even more of him than I already do. It was obvious that public sentiment and feelings in support of Les Miles began to change during midweek leading up to the Texas A&M game. To me, it all seemed to start with “The Les Miles Show” on the LSU Sports Network on Thanksgiving Eve. Practically everyone that came up to the microphone on the radio show that night was practically in tears as they tried to ask Coach Miles a question. Then, all of the signs with memories and expressions of thanks and gratitude on display that Saturday night at Tiger Stadium when LSU played Texas A&M also showed just how the public/fans really feel about Les Miles….especially when almost everyone thought that he was coaching his very last game in Tiger Stadium!
I think that LSU has really done some damage to both it’s reputation and public image as a result of the way that it handled this entire situation. In short, it was a public relations nightmare. By comparison and contrast, look at how Georgia (who was in a very similar situation with long term/well-loved Coach Mark Richt) handled their affairs with respect to a coaching change. There is as much difference in the two situations as in daylight and dark. Will we ever really know the actual truth of what really happened with LSU and the Les Miles situation? Probably not. It does however really make me wonder what is going on when just last week LSU System President F. King Alexander stated that the decision to keep Les Miles was made during halftime of the Texas A&M game. Then, just a day or so later, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said that Coach Miles was told before Thanksgiving that his job was safe. Ok guys, what really happened?
Again, I am glad that Les Miles is staying on at LSU! However, Note to Coach Miles: Beat “Bama” next year or this whole thing may start all over again!
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.