Blog Entry

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 4:26 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No, Les Miles is not responsible for Jordan Jefferson's arrest Friday on felony battery charges. No, we do not believe there is anything Miles could have done to prevent his senior starting quarterback from visiting Shady's bar in the wee hours of the morning of Aug. 18 and -- allegedly -- kicking a man in the head. No, it is not Miles's fault that Jefferson will not start the season opener against Oregon, and may very well never put on an LSU uniform again.

But if Jefferson's absence plays a direct role in the Tigers losing that game against Oregon? If the quarterback position he leaves behind causes LSU to fall short of the SEC championship that has eluded them since 2007? That you can blame Miles for. And you should.

We won't disagree with our colleague Dennis Dodd that LSU doesn't need Jefferson or any other "difference-maker" at quarterback to have a successful season. They don't even need one to win championships. The Tigers hoisted crystal footballs with Matt Mauck under center in 2003 and Matt Flynn in 2007, quarterbacks no one would deny were "serviceable" but that no one mistook for the first coming of Andrew Luck, either.

Here's where Dodd and I differ: he files backup-crowned-new-starter Jarrett Lee into the same "serviceable" vein as Mauck and Flynn. For his career, Lee has thrown just as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns, including tossing a nation-leading 16 in 2008. His career yards-per-attempt mark is a mediocre 6.6 and his career completion percentage an even-worse 53.5 percent, numbers that would have ranked him third-from-last and next-to-last in the SEC last season. If Lee is indeed serviceable, even that will be a huge step up from his career-to-date.

If he isn't? There's the fans' choice, JUCO transfer (and former Georgia Bulldog) Zach Mettenberger, who some thought could have a Cam Newton-like impact for the Tigers. But given that even the entirety of spring practice and the bulk of fall camp wasn't enough for Mettenberger to unseat Lee as second-string -- much less challenge Jefferson as the starter -- it seems unlikely Mettenberger is the savior LSU fans have been hoping for, either.

And the lesson of LSU's past two seasons is that if neither Lee nor Mettenberger are up to serviceability, the Tigers aren't winning an SEC championship. Yes, the LSU defense should be lights-out, but John Chavis's units were already 11th in the nation in scoring defense each of the past two years; they can't get much more lights-out than they already are. But thanks to an offense that finished dead last in the SEC in total offense in 2009 and 11th in 2010, LSU finished a combined five games out of first in the West anyway.

So why has Miles waited so long to find a solution to his team's quarterbacking dilemma? In 2008, Lee so thoroughly submarined the season with his interceptions (and the pick-sixes that still define his career, for most SEC fans) that Jefferson -- a lightly regarded recruit by LSU standards -- was named the starter in November. The only insurance Miles took out against Jefferson's failed development that offseason was the signing Chris Garrett, a previous Mississippi State commitment who disappointed LSU's coaches and has since left the team.

In 2009, Jefferson was actually mildly efficient as a quarterback, but still: worst in the SEC in total offense is worst in the SEC in total offense. Miles responded by signing four-star quarterback Zach Lee out of Texas. Too bad Lee had his sights set elsewhere; he signed a professional baseball contract and never so much as stood on a gameday sideline.

Miles may have finally solved his 2012 quarterback issues with the addition of Mettenberger to the 2011 class, but where this season is concerned, it may be too late. Whether by choice or simple failure, Lee's known mediocrity meant he was gambling the future of his quarterback position -- and arguably his team's title chances -- on the development of Jordan Jefferson and two risky recruits.

Miles is known for riding his luck, of course, and it's still to early to say for certain he's come up snake eyes this time. But we also won't be surprised if this one portion of mismanagement forces his team to walk away from the championship table once again.

Since: Nov 24, 2010
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:46 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

How about we lay off the blame game..........its getting very tiresome.....its easy to criticize, after the fact.....shoulda,woulda,coulda......I certainly hope that J.Lee will have gotten some good mechanics training from S.Kragthorpe......and he will have a good year, he has sat patiently, kept a low profile,done all that was asked of him and through a twist of fate, he is the starter.....Zach Mettenberger deserved his second chance too.....and his time will far as our grass eating, risk taking gambling Coach concerned I think he enjoys displaying this behavior to drive sports writers crazy.....

Since: Aug 14, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 12:01 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

The Mad Hadder is not to blame, infact I give him credit for permantly suspending them. It's a hard desision, however, in doing this, it lets all the current and upcoming players know what to expect if they were to step out of line. If he is willing to do this to the starting QB, all of them should think twice before breaking rules and regulations.

As for the person who wrote this artical, WOW, I'm thinking you tried to put something together with only a few internet searches without a clue as to what you were writing about. "Red Shirt" journalism is what I would call it.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: August 27, 2011 5:43 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

BS article to say the least but if getting people fired up and talking was your goal, then objective met.  How you get paid to write such garbage I'll have no idea.  Who's your boss?  I need a job I get paid to write "space-filling pieces".

Miles, to his credit, HAS done well recruiting QB's. 

Perrilloux was in position to take over for Flynn (and let me interrupt and point out Matt Flynn is HARDLY a "serviceable QB" unless you're referring to his skills as an NFL starter and current backup).

Can't fault Miles for finally cutting bait of a player that schools like Ohio St and Miami would have continued to turn a blind eye towards.

He was then forced to play Jarrett Lee as a Freshman when the guy just wasn't ready.

He recruited a top QB that then decided to sign a professional baseball contract with the Dodgers after being on campus at LSU.

He recruited the nations top JUCO-QB in Mettenberger (and former would-be UGA starter I might add) as well as Phillip River's younger brother, Stephan.

Jefferson's statistics outside of game 1 of each season and the bowl game--both games that allow him WEEKS to prepare, were consistantly terrible so ANY improvement in the passing game is a HUGE plus.

So, if LSU wins so much as 10 games, this author ought to take blame for being a moron.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:18 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

You and DD are both 'gossip columnist.  What if, maybe, LSU will be in the National championship game if I, a 50 year old, short, fat man were their QB.

Since: Nov 25, 2010
Posted on: August 27, 2011 1:35 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

5th year senior white QB's have done well at LSU every 4 years or so

what do these guys have in common?

1- white

*sigh*  will those who thrive on incessantly bringing race into a picture in which it has no place ever stop their pointless blathering?

Nevermind, strictly rhetorical--I think all of us know the answer to that one.

As to Miles accountability, I think Les Miles should have taken much swifter action on the JJ affair. Spare me the innocent until proven guilty BS because he was already definitively guilty--of breaking curfew. A coach of "character" as many like to cite, would have grounded all their asses to set an example--that's called unapologetic leadership, and sadly I find Miles lacking in that department. No doubt the Mad Hatter has had his moments and those demonizing him as a loser, in my honest opinion, are well off base as many of his last minute runs in the 2010 season has proven. Argue all you want about luck, ad nauseum, the man and his team pulled off some stunning wins. Mind you, I do NOT think he's the coach that his predecessor was--sorry, call him all the names you wish, Nick Saban is a much better "coach" per se. But having said that, Miles is no slouch. On leadership, however--I give him lesser grades. But this is the case with the majority of coaches in CFB today, in my humble opinion. When I think of the ruffians, felons, and what-have-you that coaches have "looked the other way" in order to keep their team winning at all costs (and that includes some big names I won't go into here; but those of you who've truly followed CFB over the years know exactly the ones of whom I speak). We have created this monster. Our insatiable lust for that BCS title, that huge winning season have all nurtured a mentality that we take whomever we need and if they have less than socially respectable traits, we simply look the other way--as long as our winning a football game goes untethered. I can assure you most if not all of the icons of football who had left the game by the year 1980 would never have tolerated what many of today's coaches do. Miles is not the problem, he is a product of the problem.

Since: Jun 6, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 9:00 am

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

The title of this "thread" is absolutely crazy.  LM has proven himself to be a great coach and leader of men.  He can only show these young studs how to act, he can not hold their hands.

Keeping his job at this point should not even be on the table.  Men of character do not fire men of character.  What your team needs now is a great leader like LM to take you to the next level.  You have that leader in LM who track record speaks for itself.

I find it mind numbing that your Athletic Director or the so called LSU faithful would even bring the subject up.  Especially at a time like this when the team needs Les.

On Sept. 3 two teams who have had their share of the negative lime light and who have lost key players on both side, will do battle in Dallas.  We both will enter the stadium with our heads held high knowing that sometimes you cannot change the past, but you can surly effect the future.

This is an opportunity for both teams to grow and come together.  I would expect every player will take it up a notch in the virosity of play.

This is going to be a great game.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: August 27, 2011 7:09 am

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

LSU players need to run through a wall for Les Miles because that's all the offense they have... #102 in passing last season and #92 the year before that! Miles benefitted from Saban's talent (#1 & #2 classes) and Jimbo Fisher & Bo Pelini as assistants.  Now Chavis, Ron Cooper & Tommy Moffit is saving his tail.  LSU benefits from having one of the highest paid Assistant Coaching staffs in CFB.  Remember, it was Miles who retained the Dual-Defensive Co-ordinators and hired Crowton as OC - awful decisions.  Steve Kragthrope is a questionable hire as well.

14-10 in the SEC since Miles has been coaching "his" players: comments?  I thought so.  62-17 includes 34-6 with Saban's players and remember he lost 2 games with the 2007 NC team against two non-ranked teams.  Yes, Saban came from the Big 10 but are his teams incapable of passing the football?  I thought so.  

I am a LSU fan, but that doesn't mean I can't think for myself.  Miles told us that the 2008 team's OL was the best in LSU history... how did that work out.  He told us last season that Jefferson was having a GREAT preseason... how did that work out?  Mettenberger should have gotten more time with the #1 offense and not languished on the sidelines and waste a year of eligibllity this spring and fall because we all knew what Jefferson was going to give us and now JJ will give us even less.  It's called knowing your personnel.  

Last Regular season, JJ had 4 TD's and 9 INT's and Lee had 2 TD's and 1 INT.  Lee had a 61% completion % and JJ 56% but Miles kept running out JJ in the Red Zone even when Lee moved the team (think Tenn, FL & AL) so he could run the ball and every team in the SEC knew it.  Making your team one-dimensional when the other team knows it... is what makes your offense last in the SEC in Total Offense when LSU has the #4 talent in CFB according to Rivals over the last 10 years!  We had 3, 5-star WR's last season.  Scout had Tolliver ranked the #1 WR coming out his senior year.  Ruben Randle was the @1 WR coming out his senior year and R. Shepard was a 5-star convert from QB and we had probably the WORST passing team in CFB!  The only teams that we were ranked above were triple option teams!  

Close your eyes and keep cheering for LSU @stinomite.  I would rather see Miles actually use some of the talent he has!

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: August 27, 2011 1:18 am

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Go cheer for Alabama LSU4Ever or stop living in the past. LSU's players would run through a wall for Miles. Ask any of them. They play that way. JJ isn't that good and neither is Lee. They didn't and couldn't execute the plays called the majority of the time, yet LSU still won and win the majority of their games. The players have to execute the plays called. Saban came from the Big Ten too. I guess his Big Ten mentality works though...

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:10 am

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

One of the problems with LSU's offense is Miles himself.  He has a Big 10 mentality, if LSU goes up by 7 - 10 points he shuts down the offense by becoming so conservative and predictible that it allows the opposing team to get back into the game by scoring late in the game.  

Do you want to know why LSU has had so many games come down to the wire?  Just watch and see what I am talking about.  Last seasons game against Florida is the perfect example, we dominated Florida statistically the entire game but once we got the lead Miles became ulta-conservative and allowed Florida to creep back into the game with a kick-off return for a TD and then allowed them to drive 80 yards on their only decent drive of the night to take the lead after being dominated all night.  LSU outgained FL by almost 150 yards and had 20 1st downs to 12 and ran 71 plays to 56 for the Gators but LSU had to use another "fake" field goal and lucky bounce and a TD pass with 6 secs on the clock to pull the game out!

As bad as Gary Crowton was, it is Miles that has made our offense so conservative that we finished 11th in the SEC in Total Offense (Vanderbilt) in 2010 and 12th the year before!  Watch Maryland this year and you will see Crowton run an entirely different offense.  And as bad as Jefferson has been the past 3 seasons, Miles did little to prepare Mettenberger to play this season.  And now we will probably need him to play this season.  

LSU has 5-star players everywhere you look but since Saban's players left after winning the 2007 BCS NC, Les is just 14-10 in the SEC the past 3 years with "his" players.   

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: August 26, 2011 8:59 pm

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Terrible article. What heppened when Colt McCoy got hurt in the NC game and the back-up, #1 recruit QB came in vs Alabama? Was he ready? Were they calling for Mack Brown's head after the game? If there was a top QB ready to go at a top program as soon as he stepped on campus, he'd be playing somewhere else and not wait to start. There are 120 schools where he can play. Top QB prospects are like first round draft picks and their back-ups are similar to those in the NFL: rarely are they ready to play or are willing to wait. Lucky are the teams who have players good enough and patient enough to wait to play/redshirt.  Oh...the author left out the contract bonus Miles received either today or will get this weekend. I don't think JJ or Lee will cost him his job. If anything, Mettenberger will gain some valuable experience through all of this. Also, the one player who can handle the upcoming pressure is Lee. With all the hell this player has been through during his time at LSU, he'll be able to handle this with ease and his teammates will rally around him.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or