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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What was Tuberville thinking?

BATON ROUGE - Continuing with the "What" game of the colorful LSU-Auburn rivalry, we now turn to the crazy decisions by the losing coach after examining those of the winning coach.

WHAT was Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville thinking, or smoking, when he decided to squib kick to LSU with 3:21 remaining in the game and LSU needing only a field goal to erase a 24-23 Auburn lead? Wes Byrum's kickoff traveled a pitiful 30 yards to the LSU 40-yard line and the Tigers took over on their 42 with 3:13 to play.

"Thanks Tommy," LSU coach Les Miles should have yelled across the sideline. "Hey, go ahead and give Texas A&M my name. I'll give you a good reference. I owe you one."

Had Auburn kicked off like normal teams and LSU would have returned it to its 42, Tiger Stadium would have gone wild. The longest kickoff return this season by LSU is all of 44 yards. LSU came into the game averaging only 22.5 yards a kickoff return for seventh in the SEC. Despite all its talent at the skill positions, LSU's coaches can't seem to devise a blocking plan, and the Tigers are one of the worst return teams in the SEC. And there's Tuberville squib kicking all night.

The field position meant all LSU needed was two or three first downs to get into field goal range, which is exactly what happened. Thanks Tommy.

Saying Tuberville had been kicking off like that all night is no defense. It worked a couple of times well, but there was also a kickoff in the second quarter after Auburn's touchdown for a 14-7 lead that LSU got at its 41. So, there was a trend - a poor kickoff against a poor kickoff returning team. Unbelievably bad decision.

Tuberville also made a major goof during LSU's game-winning drive. On third and three from the Auburn 41, LSU tailback Richard Murphy made a great run with second effort to apparently gain three yards for a first down at the Auburn 38. Replays clearly show, however, that Murphy came up short of the first down and LSU should have been left with a crucial fourth-and-1. Officials gave LSU an extremely generous spot, and Tuberville did not ask for the play to be reviewed.

LSU gained 10 yards on a run by tailback Jacob Hester on the next play and gained three more yards over the next two plays, setting up the game-winning touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd.

One thing you can say about the LSU-Auburn rivalry, the calls even out. The visiting team basically gets screwed by a call or two every year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Tuberville was thinking just that. "LSU got royaly screwed at our house last year, so maybe we outta give 'em one." Plus they already have 2 losses on the season and certainly don't want to spoil any chances of an SEC going for the NT.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Chick in the Huddle said...

Wait...so you're saying we can actually stop talking about Les Miles making a game winning call and question the losing coach??? That's absurd!

6:15 PM  

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