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Saturday, October 16, 2010

This one will not come down to a fake field goal

BATON ROUGE – The amazing thing about LSU’s wondrous win at Florida last week was that Coach Les Miles’ muddled clock management may have actually helped his cause.

As it happened, kicker Josh Jasper did not find out that the fake was on until only about 15 seconds left on the play clock after Miles huddled the team together during a timeout and called the fake. Punter/holder Derek Helton and Jasper were busy practicing what they thought they were about to do – hold and kick. Special teams coach Joe Robinson fortunately got word to Jasper after the timeout. Jasper then told Helton.

Wonder how many fakes Les has called over the years that the kicker never heard about? Who knows? Or maybe the kicker got it, but not the holder? We’ll never know.
The good thing was neither Helton nor Jasper had time to think about what they were about to do, much less panic. They also inadvertently sold the fake by practicing holding and kicking if the Florida coaches were watching for clues. Robinson’s last-second instructions? Could have been something about the wind. That’s happened before.

Miles, who has not called an early timeout in his life, also may have inadvertently sold the fake by calling his timeout so tardy in the play clock with his team lined up for a 53-yard field goal. If Miles called a timeout immediately after both teams were lined up for the kick, the Florida coaches may have thought, “Oh, he called timeout because he’s thinking about a fake.”

But he called the timeout the way he often does – amid mass hysteria. “Oh no, we’re about to get another delay of game penalty. Timeout! Timeout!” So Florida’s coaches may have surmised: “Oh, that’s just typical LSU screwing up the clock again. Surely, they’re not thinking about a fake.”

Some clock-weary LSU fans thought Miles had his ticker-kicker etiquette reversed when he called a timeout with Jasper about to kick. Usually, the coach on DEFENSE calls a timeout just before a kick to freeze the kicker.

When asked after the game when he first started thinking about a fake, Miles said, “Decided to do it during the timeout.” Then he winked at the questioner. Miles actually thought about faking before the timeout. He wanted to see what kind of defense Florida would show.

“As soon as we saw what they were going to do, I decided,” he said, but he realized it was getting late in the clock. He didn’t want to hurry such a huge play and called his final timeout. “Then I’m thinking, ‘Well, I hope he doesn’t change it.’ And certainly he would know that I would never do this NOW. Certainly, he’d just stay with the call. His call was a max block. I felt like my call was the right call.”

Amid all the national lampooning of Miles leading up to the game, it was “genius” Florida coach Urban Meyer who goofed at game’s end. Forget about the clues or would-be clues Miles was leaving all over The Swamp. If an opponent is trying to kick a 53-yard field goal, you put on a safe block and keep some guys still for containment purposes. Yes, Jasper was in his range, but his last attempt from that far against Tennessee was horrible. Also, Meyer had viewed film of LSU’s famous fake in 2007 the week of the game. Mr. Meyer, you just clocked by Les Miles. You may need to see a doctor again.

Which brings us to tonight’s LSU game against McNeese. Here are five things to look for:

1.ANOTHER FAKE - As soon as the Tigers face a fourth down in field goal range, Miles should call the same fake field goal and see if Helton can flip it without a bounce this time. It’s not about results. It’s about process, and that was the worst toss by a kicker since Garo Yepremian in Super Bowl VII.

2.MICHAEL FORD – Rejoice. The hero of spring – if there is such a thing – will get to carry the ball more than just a few times tonight. Seriously, he has looked good on nearly all of his seven carries.

3.A RELAXING BLOWOUT – If this game comes down to a fake, someone’s on the take. McNeese is without its starting quarterback and best two running backs because of injuries.

4. VICTORY NO. 131 – LSU is 130-25-8 against in-state colleges going into this first meeting with McNeese. The only Louisiana schools to beat LSU other than Tulane were Louisiana Tech in Ruston in 1904, Loyola of New Orleans in 1922 in Baton Rouge and Centenary in 1932 in Shreveport. Centenary’s 1-3-1 record against LSU was mistakenly omitted from Friday’s papers.

5.MORE JARRETT LEE – Look for the rejuvenated quarterback to play more than Jordan Jefferson and throw for 250 yards.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what you wrote, about the Florida game,god Les Miles, is really a nut...Did you see the McNeese game?
My heavens sake...Jefferson even had trouble with McNeese State...Jefferson, has advanced very little at being a QB,but Les Miles keep hearing voices,and keeps starting him at QB...Amazing.
If Les Miles keeps winning college football game,American football, may never be the same!!!

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madness...He can't talk,because he is a physio...How is he going to coach, in that condition?
Les Miles is getting worse,not better.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A two game win streak,is what we need, to win the SEC crown..Beat Auburn,and then Alabama.
Come on Les Miles,tighter up the lose screws, and coach two good LSU football game...Play the best players, with the right play..Win this think!!!

11:55 AM  

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