Les Miles - Super Genius, etc.
Les Miles has taken a lot of crap over the years, deservedly so in many cases. He's often aggressive, sometimes disorganized, but just like McGarnigle, he gets results. And he deserves some credit. LSU has now won close games against Florida and Alabama and in the process Miles has outcoached arguably the two best coaches in college football. He pantsed Meyer with the fake FG in Gainesville (inexcusable for Urban not to give a safe call for that attempt) and Miles tilted the game in his favor with three key decisions on Saturday.
1) The fake punt. Fake punts are gutsy and awesome when they work. Enough said.
2) The 4th down reverse. This was great. With about 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, down by 1 point, Miles declined the opportunity for a 43 yard FG and went for a 4th and 1. Almost every other coach would've kicked the FG. It's the safe and conventional call and it wouldn't have been a bad decision. Miles felt like he needed more points and he was probably right. The call itself was thoroughly inspired - an off-tackle run that morphed into a reverse to a guy lined up in a wingback position. It's the kind of play that only Navy or old-school Delaware would have in their playbook. I don't think I've ever seen it before and evidently the Alabama defense hadn't either. It went for 23 yards and set up a TD, giving the Tigers a 7 point lead (failed 2-pt conversion).
3) Throwing the ball to preserve a lead. This is the big one and it's where many coaches drop the ball. Alabama had just scored a TD, cutting the LSU lead to 3. After the kickoff, LSU had the ball on their own 23 with 3:23 left and Alabama had 2 or 3 timeouts (can't remember exactly). In this situation, most coaches play it "safe" and run the ball three times hoping to get a 1st down and to take time off the clock. Miles did exactly that on 1st and 2nd down, losing 3 yards and taking the clock down to 2:49. At this point, running the ball again accomplishes nothing. It won't pick up the first down. It does force Alabama to take a time out, but that doesn't matter because they'll have 2:30 left on the clock to get into FG range for a tie or score a TD for a win. Even though it's late in the game, time is not really a factor. Getting a 1st down is the only valuable thing that the offense can do at that point and it's exactly what Miles tried. Calling for a deep pass from "much-maligned" QB Jarrett Lee would be considered "bold", but it should also be considered "smart". It's much smarter than running Ridley into the line and handing the ball over to McElroy, Jones, and the Bama O with tons of time on the clock. To his credit, Lee stepped up and drilled the pass, but Miles is the one who gave him a chance and for that he deserves credit.
- Surprising: The Raiders are 4th in the NFL in points scored per game. The Titans are first.
- The Titans are 27th in the NFL in 1st downs per game.
- Based on yardage, San Diego is #1 in the league in offense and #2 in the league in defense. They're 4-5.
- Phillip Rivers is ridiculous. 327 yards per game, 8.9 yards per attempt. Today he was 17/25 for 295 and 4 TDs throwing to S. Ajirotutu, P. Crayton, K. Wilson, J. Hester, R. McMichael, R. Mathews, D. Sproles, and M. Tolbert.
- Poor Buffalo.
- I sure hope Dallas repeats this week's effort level next Sunday at "New Meadowlands Stadium"
- Who knew that a stadium could feel so empty and lame because it doesn't have a corporate sponsor?
- In every 1:00 game, coming back from a gamebreak, one of the announcers said "The Detroit Lions are really close to becoming a really good team in this league."
- Huge win for the Tribe. Down to our 4th-string QB, we didn't call a pass the entire 2nd half and still beat New Hampshire on the road 13-3. A top 2 seed is in sight with wins @JMU and vs. Richmond.