LSU Football: The Mad Hatter's 10 Best and Worst Calls Ever
The LSU Tigers live and die by Les Miles' controversial play calls.
One minute he's the smartest coach in football and the next he's being made fun of. It's made him popular and it's made him hated by his on fan-base.
But if you love him or hate him, you can't deny that he's made glorified decisions and controversial ones. It's created an enigmatic alter ego known by many as The Mad Hatter.
But as many games Miles costed LSU with his clock mismanagement, he's won nearly double by rolling the dice. Here's the best and worst calls of Miles career at LSU.
The Best: The Tigers Soar with Byrd
"And Flynn is back to throw. For the end zone... Oh, what a call!"
As Mike Patrick said live on ESPN's broadcast, "that is the call of the year." Miles really revved up his risk taking persona in 2007, and the game winning fly call with seconds to go in the game against Auburn certainly was his best call of the year.
Though it could have been disastrous had Demetrius Byrd dropped the pass, Miles decision to have Matt Flynn air it out in the back of the end zone to Byrd gave LSU a 30-24 victory.
It takes some serious guts to make that call, and in 2007, those gambles were common place for Miles and LSU.
The Colt David Fake Field Goal
How do you become known as "The Mad Hatter?" One up the Ol' Ball Coach.
LSU struggled to put the ball in the end zone against South Carolina in 2007, but with the help of Miles' creativity and Flynn's perfectly-placed backwards pass, the Tigers found enough separation to win the ball game 28-16.
In a game that's seen numerous trick plays throughout the years, LSU's fake field goal against South Carolina has to rank up there among the best.
Perfect calls plus perfect executions lead to national championships.
The Good: The 2010 Reverse Against Alabama
Many remember the grass eating that occurred after the play, but few remember the play that was called before it.
On a crucial fourth-and-one, Miles dialed up a reverse that would send Nick Saban fuming.
Jordan Jefferson pitched the ball to Ridley then he made a smooth handoff to Deangelo Peterson for a 20-plus yard gain.
In an unlikely turn of events, Miles outwitted Saban.
The Fake Field Goal in the Swamp
If it worked once, so why not try it again?
Though it wasn't as smooth as Flynn to David, Derek Helton to Josh Jasper was far more dramatic.
Helton tossed it behind his head and instead of Jasper catching it like David did in 2007, Jasper picked up the ball off of a bounce and picked up a crucial fourth down. Had he not picked up the fourth down with 35 seconds to go in the game, LSU would have lost.
The Tigers ended up winning the game by a Jarrett Lee touchdown pass to Terrence Toliver with six seconds left in the game, but LSU would have never had a chance to win it if not for Miles' ambitious call.
The Spencer Ware Pass
Cam Newton gets a lot of credit for Auburn's 2010 national championship, but that defense was ferocious.
Auburn's defense was so intense that LSU had troubles moving the football and getting any scores. No worries, though; Miles had something under his sleeve for such instances.
In need of a score to tie the game in the fourth quarter, Jefferson threw the ball behind the line to Spencer Ware and Ware delivered a perfect pass to Rueben Randle for the score.
The Tigers would ultimately lose the game, but the play call to tie it up was brilliant, considering Ware was a quarterback in high school.
The Fourth Down Conversions Against Florida
If not for Miles' fourth down attempts, LSU would have fallen to Florida in 2007.
Through the course of the game, LSU went for it on fourth down five times and converted every single time.
That kind of play-calling gives your team confidence and swagger, and it showed with LSU's brute determination to convert.
This is just another reason players love to play with Miles and connect with him so well.
The Bad: The Fake FG vs. Alabama
So that's the good surrounding The Mad Hatter, but as you know, high risk doesn't always equal high reward.
For instance, take a look at LSU's game against Alabama this season. Miles rolled the dice repeatedly throughout the game and it ended up costing him.
The most questionable of his calls came when he decided to attempt a fake field goal on 4th-and-12.
Alabama shut down the fake field goal easily, and it not only cost LSU three valuable points in a defensive struggle, but it gave Alabama momentum.
The Colt David 63-Yard FG Attempt
This one's not that bad, but relying on a game-winning 63-yard field goal to win is still a questionable call.
Rather than launching a deep ball into the end zone and having one of your players go up and try to make a play, Miles decided to kick a very long field goal with Colt David.
As time expired, David was short and to the left.
Though the outcome might have been the same had he let Jefferson or Lee throw a deep pass, he still would have had a better chance of winning the game.
The Ugly: The 2010 Tennessee Debacle
Sitting in the press box for a ball game never felt more uncomfortable.
As LSU tried to substitute with the clock running below 20 seconds and counting, media members began to feel uneasy.
It wasn't until one member shouted "what the (expletive)," before everyone stood up with open arms in disgust. As T-Bob Hebert snapped the ball past Jefferson and the Tigers seemingly lost the game, LSU's press box became livid.
Cheering in the press box is a no-no, but this scene was such a disaster that every member present didn't care. Miles got a chance at redemption when Tennessee was flagged for having 13 men on the field. As Ridley scored the game-winning touchdown, Miles survived, despite handling the game terribly.
The Infamous 2008 Ole Miss Ending
Never has there ever been a greater Hitler parody than the LSU/Ole Miss ending.
The video is so well done that I'll allow the closing seconds of the 2009 LSU/Ole Miss game be told through Hitler and his comrades.
After explaining the situation of timeouts left and the positioning of the field, Hitler was confident in LSU's chances of winning the game on a Jasper field goal. And then, "my Fuhrer..." For those that watch the Hitler parodies, know this is the time Hitler receives terrible, terrible news.
This is where Hitler learned Jefferson was sacked and Ridley was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on a screen play. And the worst part is that Miles waited to call a timeout with nine seconds remaining. Hitler, like every LSU fan, exploded in anger as he was told Miles wasted 17 seconds. Then he learned Jefferson spiked the ball with no time remaining on the clock after completing a 43-yard pass to Toliver.
This two-point loss was by far the darkest moment in Miles' career. It was a time when LSU fans were calling for a coaching change, but after two straight seasons of 10-plus wins, Miles regained the support of the fan base.