Les Miles Blows Another Game with Poor Coaching and Clock Management

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2010

Penn State vs. LSU in the Florida Citrus Bowl, Joe Paterno vs. Les Miles, Class vs. Crazy. In that game, Les Miles shows why it's obvious he flunked Clock Management 101 in coach's school.

Can at least one assistant coach please sit down and help Les Miles understand this area of coaching?

For the second and almost the third time this season, Les Miles has proved that when it comes to clear-headed play calling and execution in the winding minute of the game, LSU may as well be blindfolded.

Trailing by two points following a Penn State field goal with less than a minute left, Trindon Holliday made yet another great play running the kickoff back to the LSU 41 to put them within 25 yards of having a chance to kick the winning field goal.

Jordan Jefferson scrambled to get the ball inside Penn State territory with 42 seconds left and got out of bounds to stop the clock. LSU appeared to be well on the way to gaining another 20 yards to set up the game-winning field goal attempt.

But this is a Les Miles-coached team and good decisions in close game ending situations are not things that they specialize in. Les must have flunked clock management 101 in coaches school, because now everything fell apart.

Since Les had previously squandered all his team's three time outs, the worst thing he could do was do a running a play or a four-yard pass play in the middle of the field, but that's exactly what happened.

Then the LSU players looked like circus clowns trying to untangle and get up to spike the ball. The resulting fracas resulted in a penalty against LSU that moved the ball 15 yards further away and ran the clock down to almost zero.

With a first down inside Penn State territory and 42 seconds on the clock they had time to run five pass plays provided they didn't try and complete a stupid four-yard pass in the middle of the field.

Instead of getting five or six plays off, they got a penalty, 15 yards further away, a four-yard completion and enough time to throw a quick incomplete pass and the worst hook-and-lateral play I've seen in years.

With the game on the line, Joe Paterno managed the clock and the winning drive making all the right decisions and calmly directing his well coached troops to do as they had learned from him in practice to do.

In contrast, Les Miles ran a Chinese fire drill making his team look like a bunch of clowns without a clue.

Joe Paterno is legendary for his class, his coaching ability, and his wins. Les is likewise becoming legendary, but only for his lack of ability to direct and coach a team in the closing seconds of a close game.

LSU deserves better and one day when the luster of the BCS Championship he won with players who still remembered Nick Saban's coaching has faded, they'll come to that same conclusion.