Not many coaches can claim to be more successful in the modern era of college football than LSU head coach Les Miles. He has a 75-17 record while in Baton Rouge and is 103-38 overall.
He also has won a bowl game every year at LSU except 2009, when he lost to Penn state by two. One of those bowls was the BCS National Championship Game.
Yet before this year, some fans wanted him gone as coach. Why on earth would Tiger fans want a guy of his caliber gone?
Perhaps it's his unconventional play-calling and suspect clock management.
The “Mad Hatter” has developed a reputation of occasionally throwing in a trick play to catch teams off guard. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but calling plays like that can really polarize a fanbase, especially in the SEC.
The conference is largely old-school football with lots of bruising running backs, pro-style offenses and punishing defenses. Running trick plays can, in relative comparison, be viewed as an insult because it is so far in the other direction.
But the most important thing is that Miles hadn’t been good at managing the clock. The Tigers needed an absolute miracle in order to beat Tennessee in 2010. They committed four turnovers and completely botched a 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line and time seemed to run out after a botched snap.
Then Tennessee prematurely celebrated and allowed LSU to run one more play, on which it scored, winning the game 16-14.
The game caused quite a stir in the college football community and articles like this one titled, “What’s worse than LSU’s clock management? Tennessee’s math” were written about the game.
Clock management is one of the most critical things coaches are in charge of and to mess it up so badly will make a lot of people angry.
This year, Miles has been great with play calls and clock management. Oh, and the Tigers are 13-0. No wonder the calls for his head have subsided in 2011.