In firing Miles, LSU does what it should have done last year

Hmmm. What to do about a big winner who hasn't won big enough? (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“I couldn’t believe they waited this long, either.” (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Lots of folks, some of them media types, expressed outrage over the way LSU treated Les Miles last November. The school nearly fired him but then, allowing itself to be swayed by public outcry, chose to keep him. “What a disservice to a fine coach!”, some among us tut-tutted. (Though not I, said this meanie.)

But wasn’t what just happened worse for everyone concerned? Miles was fired after four games, which wasn’t the fastest such ouster in SEC history — Arkansas axed Jack Crowe after one game, a loss to The Citadel, in 1992? — but was certainly the fastest in-season firing of a man who’d won a national championship. Now LSU must play the remainder of a tough schedule under Ed Orgeron, interim-coach-to-the-world, and LSU’s players must adjust and LSU’s administration must restart the search it cut short 10 months ago.

Because LSU didn’t just nearly fire Miles back then. It had fired him in every way except the official announcement. Had LSU not done its about-face during the regular-season finale against Texas A&M on Nov. 28, Jimbo Fisher might well have been announced as the Tigers’ new coach by Dec. 1. (Jimbo of Florida State was once LSU’s offensive coordinator under Nick Saban. and, for one year, under Miles.)

As it stands, the LSU choice will boil down to Fisher or Tom Herman of Houston. (Me, I think Herman is the third-best collegiate coach in the land, and I probably don’t need to mention the names of Nos. 1 and 2.) But here we go back to the advice extended to Georgia’s Greg McGarity, a bit of wisdom taken from the Florida AD Jeremy Foley: What will happen eventually needs to happen immediately. Breaking news: McGarity himself fired a coach on the morning of Nov. 29, 2015.

Miles’ boisterous program had clearly begun to atrophy. He had the SEC’s second-best talent, but the divide between Alabama and LSU, once a rivulet, had grown as wide as Lake Pontchartrain. His offense was as bad as it had been since the infamous 92 yards of total offense against Bama in the BCS title game of January 2012, and he refused to fire coordinator Cam Cameron. (LSU finally did that deed Sunday.)

Here’s all you need to know: Since Matt Flynn, whom Miles had inherited from Saban, led the Tigers to the 2007 national championship, the best LSU starting quarterback was Zach Mettenberger, who came by way of Georgia and junior college.

For a long time, we weren’t sure if Miles’ success in close games was a testimony to his late-game genius or simply blind luck. Given that most everybody likes Leslie as a guy, we tended to extend the benefit of the doubt. What we kind of missed was that, even with superior talent most every Saturday, LSU and Miles had a way of turning every game into a coin flip.

When finally that coin came up “tails” — as happened at Lambeau Field on Sept. 3 and in Auburn on Saturday night — we were left to wonder how a team with Leonard Fournette could manage not to score 20 points. We knew the answer, though some hadn’t forced themselves to admit it. The answer was that LSU had become a horribly coached team. That was Cameron’s fault, which ultimately was Miles’ fault.

Had LSU held its nerve in November, they’d be where Georgia is today — making a fresh start under a different coach. I’ll concede that Saturday’s wipeout loss in Oxford isn’t the greatest advertisement for new brooms, but let’s not lose sight of the greater point: Georgia’s transformation is under way. LSU must wait at least another two months to hire Fisher/Herman. (My choice would be Herman, but I’m guessing LSU will hire Jimbo.) Only then will the official Time of Transition commence.

Adages become adages for a reason: They tend to be true. Your first inclination is usually your best. LSU knew what it had to do last year and, with midnight approaching on Nov. 28, opted not to do it. Thus did LSU cost itself a year in the never-ending race that is college football. In its reluctance to be branded as heartless, it wound up looking silly.

Reader Comments 0

88 comments
Jack_in_MIami
Jack_in_MIami

Hey  Bradley ! Isn't it time again for your " Five Reasons why Tech will Beat  Miami "    column?   

Jse1960
Jse1960

Seriously Mark? After one (albeit spectacular) season you're ready to say Tom Herrman is a better coach than JimHarbaugh?

TideDawg
TideDawg

If Smart could work for Saban for many years, he is well conditioned to criticism. He'll build Ga. into a contender. He's had to deal with losing an early game before at Alabama, but don't expect them to come back and win out. That ain't gonna happen because they don't have the horses to pull it off. In 2 years if Ga. hasn't recruited players who are winners then Kirby won't be around very long. When I say "winners" I'm not talking about just being rated a 4-5 star player, I'm referring to players with a winning attitude. Players that will give you everything they've got every time they hit the field, players that refuse to lose. That's the core ingredient of winning championships.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Surely you don't think because Kirby coached under Nick he is going to mirror him ?..............he seems a little overwhelmed?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket You're right! Kirby is still trying to figure out how to oversee all phases of the game....not just defense. No! he is not going to mirror Saban, but he did learn how to handle the media from Saban. Ruffling the feathers of "King Schultz" will not serve him well if the team is mediocre. If he ever has a championship team he can tell Schultz where to stick it.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Dawgphlem.....will we hear from you anymore after you lose to the Vols at the Sanford Arms? Has the culture changed yet over there in Athens?

dawg fan
dawg fan

Another morning of souls wholly owned and operated by UGA running their mouths.  Day after day.  Week after week.  On and on it goes with these clowns as we live rent free in their heads 24/7/365.  Whether we're 14-0 or 0-14 it doesn't really matter.  We own them just the same.  They can't stop thinking about us.  It's one of the more pathetic sights in all of sports fandom quite frankly. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@dawg fan


Please, do tell. 


What does "own them" really mean?

Peachs
Peachs

Quarterbacks in the SEC for some reason do not have pedigrees.  The best of them such as Kelly, who was kicked out of Clemson, have baggage, and LSU was and will continue to be no exception to this junk yard for that position.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

Hey dogs, how does #25 feel?

dawg fan
dawg fan

@OH:IO  Better than unranked, which is where your team is Techie.

TOJacket
TOJacket

That AP sheet is getting old and silly....there have been many recognized split titles....I would respect a coach's poll over a bunch of guys who frigging write about it. That and the fact that anyone, yes even dawg fans are aware of the Buffalos getting 5 downs? Good Grief, give that AP shat a rest... And RISE UP!

keydet01
keydet01

Self scouting: Why UGA's offense struggles between the tackles

Murf Baldwin | Playbook Analyst

Stat gawkers beware.

Georgia's 44-carry, 230-yard performance against the University of Mississippi will force most to look at another facet of the game in an attempt to decipher why the Rebels took the Dawgs out back on some Old Yeller ish (Radi won't let me curse), but for those living by the stats sheet hear me out.

I'm a big proponent of quality production. I used to cringe when former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking was touted as elite based on the amount tackles he collected, as the majority of his tackles came after the offense produced a sizeable gain.

While those tackles did stop the offense from producing a touchdown, for the most part, he was rarely effective at or behind the line of scrimmage like a truly elite linebacker.

When Kirby Smart took over this great program, I was thrilled to think that his core philosophy would center on collecting defensive souls in the between-the-tackles run game. And I was assured of that with his eventual hire of former University of Arkansas coordinator Jim Chaney as his offensive co-pilot.

My assurance stemmed from Arkansas' performances against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide defense, where the Razorbacks equalized the talent discrepancy due to sheer physicality.

But I was also well aware that outside of having a host of talented running backs, like Chaney previously had, he wouldn't receive the benefit of having linemen who truly fit what he did at Arkansas.

Denver Kirkland (6-foot-5, 340 pounds), Dan Skipper (6-10, 319), Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 334), Frank Ragnow (6-5, 319) and Brey Cook (6-7, 328) weren't walking through that door.

Instead, he was inheriting smaller, but talented, players that were recruited to function in a scheme based off area blocking.

Now the Smart-Chaney pairing is tasked with trying to win ball games while establishing a standard they know will achieve sustained winning .

On one hand, you have a team that previously won 10 games. On the other, that team was fool's gold, as it didn't beat anyone with any type of credibility.

So do you succumb to the pressure and go outside of your philosophy and run zone schemes and other edge-bending concepts, mostly? Or do you set the tone for what's to come and try to squeeze blood out of a turnip? (Is there blood in a turnip?)

I'm for the latter, because once it all comes together...it's curtains.

Bang it below for further analysis -- in the form of video-- of why UGA's power concepts aren't working against teams with pretty good talent in its front seven.

keydet01
keydet01

I know there are a lot of people disappointed with the results of Saturday’s game versus the Ole Miss Rebels, heck I am one of them. However, there is a reason for the struggles and it is clearly attributable to the recruiting from the Class of 2013 and 2014. The Class of 2013 gutted the depth of the UGA football program and set it back by two years.

Class of 2013

Tray Matthews – S – Transferred

Brice Ramsey – QB/P – Not a Contributor

Tramel Terry – WR – Transferred

Shaq Wiggins – CB – Transferred

Tim Kimbrough – ILB – Transferred

Brandon Kublanow – C – Starting Center

Brendan Langley – CB – Transferred

Leonard Floyd – OLB – NFL

Toby Johnson – DT – Out of Eligibility

Reggie Wilkerson – CB – Plays Limited Role

A.J. Turman – RB – Transferred

Johnny O’Neal – ILB – Not a Contributor

Reggie Carter – ILB – Significant Contributor at Inside Linebacker

Jonathan Rumph – WR – Out of Eligbility

Davin Bellamy – OLB – Starting OLB

John Atkins – DT – Significant Contributor at Defensive Tackle

Reggie Davis – WR – Significant Contributor at Wide Receiver

Ryne Rankin – ILB – Special Teams Player

Shaquille Fluker – S – Transferred

Uriah Lemay – WR – Transferred

Josh Cardiello – OG – Transferred

Aulden Bynum – OT – Not a Contributor

D’Andre Johnson – DT – Transferred

Shaun McGee – OLB – Not a Contribtor

J.J. Green – CB – Transferred

Paris Bostick – S – Transferred

Chris Mayes – DT – Out of Eligibility

Quincy Mauger – S – Starting Safety

Kennar Daniels-Johnson – CB – Transferred

Brendan Douglas – RB – Backup Running Back

Rico Johnson – WR – Medically Disqualified

Class of 2014

Lorenzo Carter – OLB – Starting Outside Linebacker

Sony Michel – RB – Significant Contributor at Running Back

Nick Chubb – RB – Starting Running Back

Malkom Parrish – CB – Starting Cornerback

Isaiah Wynn – OG – Starting Left Guard

Jacob Park – QB – Transferred

Jeb Blazevich – TE – Starting Tight End

Lamont Galliard – Starting at Right Guard

Keyon Brown – OLB – Not a Contributor

Dyshon Sims – Significant Contributor at Right Guard

Kendall Baker – Backup at Offensive Tackle

Shakenneth Williams – WR – Not a Contributor

Isaiah McKenzie – WR – Starting Slot Receiver

Shattle Fenteng – CB – Not a Contributor

Detric Bing-Dukes – ILB – Transferred

Jake Edwards – OG – Transferred

Dominick Sanders – FS – Starting Safety

Hunter Atkinson – TE – Transferred

Shaquille Jones – CB – Transferred

Gilbert Johnson – WR – Never Enrolled

Between the Class of 2013 & 2014 the Bulldogs signed a total of 51 players. 24 of those players have either transferred, been dismissed and/or exhausted their eligibility. That leaves the Dawgs with only 27 upperclassmen on their roster from the Class of 2013 & 2014. Of those 27 players there are only 3 senior starters and there are 8 junior starters. There is also a total of 5 total significant contributors from each of those classes for the Dawgs. The Class of 2013 is the class that has set the Bulldogs back a tremendous amount and a big reason for the current struggles. Only 1 of the Top 10 ranked players from the Bulldogs Class of 2013 is a contributor (Brandon Kublanow). Only 3 are still on campus. You can’t say anything other than terrible. You cannot compete and win against quality opponents if that is how you recruit.

Contrast that with the gold standard of college football – Alabama. From the Class of 2013 the Crimson Tide have a group consisting of Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen, O.J. Howard, Robert Foster, Tim Williams, Ardarius Stewart, Eddie Jackson and Bradley Bozeman. That is 8 starters from the Class of 2013. From the Class of 2014 the Tide have Cam Robinson, Da’Shawn Hand, Marlon Humphrey, Ross Pierschbacher, Shaun Hamilton, Bo Scarborough and JK Scott who start. That is 7 starters. The Tide also have 6 significant contributors from the Class of 2014. That is 15 starters and 6 significant contributors (total of 21) from the Class of 2013 and 2014 for the Crimson Tide.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Excuse 38..........Poor Recruiting

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TOJacket  Are you serious?  You Techies cry like little effing girls about that 24/7/365.  TOJacket=JOKE. 

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

Why are UGAG fans stupid? I'm not talking about the alumni. I'm talking about the trailer trash fans who, every year, yell "WEZ GONE DONE WIND US DA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WRITE IT DOWN!!!!!" 



keydet01
keydet01

Read above to educate yourself

DoucheVsTurd
DoucheVsTurd

@TheBrewer Nobody says this.  But keep effing that chicken, if it helps you sleep at night.

TOJacket
TOJacket

It's a tradition that has been passed down since back during the "Disco Dawg DYs.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

LSU  , would currently rout UGA by at least 3 touchdowns.

I am sure Bradley and even the most ardent dawg fan

would agree. Stay on your dog wagon Bradley. The pups

are in real trouble.. 

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@LOGS1973


I guess that new savior QB can't win them a championship this year. All I heard about was how Eason would win them a championship.


Mark Richt is sitting pretty right about now. Kirby Smart is waaaaaaaay in over his head. 

keydet01
keydet01

Read above to educate yourself Fan or Critic doesn't equal an educated understanding of football and turning a program around

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@FlatTire There are articles on the dog rout, but I doubt you

want to read them !! LMAO

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

Ok, Moist, let me get this straight: Bama and LSU are toast, so UGA is the future of the SEC, that what you are declaring? So, that being said, did UT, UF, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Auburn decide to leave the conference? Last time I checked most of them were still in the SEC, and some doing pretty well. Perhaps Kirby will do well in due time, but UGA has a lot of work to do be the dominant you seem to think they will be. I am sure that Bama and Ole Miss and some others would not be buying what you are trying to sell!

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

having the number one qb in this years class is a good start and all the schools you listed are totally lesser programs then us

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@MoistDawg


Lesser programs than UGA? Geez, you UGA fans are the biggest bunch of idiots. 

UF and Auburn have won SEC titles and national titles in the last 10 years. UGA hasn't won a championship in 36 years.


Feel free to continue being an idiot.

keydet01
keydet01

Read above and you'll gain an understanding about what Richt left at UGA

Joe in Co
Joe in Co

I don't know if I agree with Foley's advice in general, but in the high stakes world of college football, I do think it is worth pondering over. 

Boses
Boses

I will miss Coach Miles.  But I will miss Dale Brown more.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

I just don't see where Jimbo or Herman would leave their current jobs. Yes, I know Jimbo has ties but he has everything at FSU that he would have at LSU. Herman, Houston has or will give him anything he wants or needs.

dawg fan
dawg fan

 I agree nerd.  I don't see Jimbo leaving the comfy confines of the All Chump Conference for the brutal SEC West. 

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@dawg fan Clemson is just waiting to run that Bama crew into the dirt....Dabo will be the 

floundering SEC's daddy soon.. You will love dawg fan..Who is Nicholls?...

TheBrewer
TheBrewer

@dawg fan


dwag fan, I don't know if you were perhaps hit by a dump truck, or maybe your family tree is full of inbreeding, but Jimbo Fisher has competed for two national titles in the last 5 years.


FSU would absolutely destroy UGAG.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Dawgphlem....Brutal SEC West?.......try the ACC Atlantic sport......Clemson Louisville, FSU. God you're dumb.

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

Maybe my bad, think irrelevent the better choice? 

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

Moist Dawg, You can't be serious....Bama irrevelent? We Dogs should be so irrevelent! That may have been the dumbest comment I have read in some time! Also, if LSU gets the right hire, better look out for the Tigers to rise again!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Yea brother...DawgNole (Mrs. Landers) will be along to shame you soon.

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

dawgnole hates me because i told him that if you have 2 favorite teams you really have none and as for bama being on the decline there best days are behind them sickening nick satan will be gone soon probly just before probation and they will become yesterdays news WE are the future of this confrence.