Answering Les Miles' Hotseat Questions: Do You Want Some Cheese with That Whine?
Look, we don't want anything less than perfection. For the past decade, Tiger fans have been spoiled with success, and because we're in the golden ages of LSU football, it's hard for anyone to simply slough off a bad season like it never even happened and just say, "Oh well, maybe next year."
Part of that mentality is based on the nature of sports, but for a good portion of this fan base, it's based on their sheer passion. As for the other portion's mentality (the whiners): they're just downright concerned.
It's true. Like Democrats and Republicans, Tiger fans are distinguishing themselves based on whether they're Les-lovers or Les-haters.
We appreciate winning, and after watching the Tigers make their strides, we seem to all know what it takes, in most areas at least. Of course, one of those apparent gray areas―caught in between all of this nine-and-four mess―is the coaching.
The Anti-Miles members have expressed their ire toward the Mad Hatter, but they are only partly justified. They feel that Les isn't the man for the job, and that the chancellor should play the infamous role of Donald Trump if LSU is to ever return to the top in the foreseeable future.
It's important to investigate the "bad coach" allegations before drawing conclusions, though. By the way, this program is just dripping with irony. You have a coach on the supposed hot seat, just three years after raising the crystal ball...
A team that has yet to have been spotted on any pre-season SEC rankings list above Florida, who is losing their core group of play-makers to the NFL...
All to spite the fact that LSU's class of 2009 (Ranked No. 2) will be taking over for a total of, by my estimate, 10 positions.
Anyway, on to the main question: is Les Miles God's gift to LSU fans, or Saban's ultimate beneficiary (pompous chuckle)? Well, in my opinion, it's a little bit of both. Nick Saban, as we all know, is a great coach. Not only did he put the program on the right track, but he took the team to the promise land as well. Oh, and then he did the same thing with Alabama.
Miles undoubtedly inherited Saban's program publicity wealth, but it's not like every player on the 2007 BCS championship team was a Saban recruit. In fact, on average, Les Miles has had much better classes overall in years past than Nick Saban did at LSU. It can be argued that such classes are in fact the result of Saban's success, but who really cares where they come from?
Saban's class in 2002: No. 15 in the country―not all that great.
However, Nick Saban did bring in the nation's No. 1 rated class in 2003 in 2001. Players from the '03 class were huge contributors during Miles' run to the title in 2007 (Glenn Dorsey, Ali Highsmith, Herman Johnson, Craig Steltz, and Claude Wroten).
Although, the most dominant player, Glenn Dorsey, had major issues with an injury in the BCS championship game against Ohio State that made him about as ineffective as Dwight Freeney in Super bowl XLIV.
Even then, combined, Craig Steltz and Glenn Dorsey could be considered merely scumb when compared to the combination of Craig Loston and "Ego" Furgeson, if they pan out as well as their scout.com grades say.
Ah, but the actual coaching. That's the problem, that's the main source of this whining; it has to be if Les Miles is bringing in great classes. Again, more irony.
Les Miles cannot be held responsible for losing coordinators and position coaches to bigger and better jobs. What most "whiners" fail to realize is that the Floridas, the Alabamas, and the Texases all have strong secondary coaching―it's part of what actually makes the programs great.
The NFL falls subject as well. Is this sudden downfall of the Patriots solely on Bill Belichick? Name one coordinator that's still with the team from their golden ages. You can't.
Granted, it's part of Les' job to get his coaches ready, but you don't exactly find a full coaching staff, or even part of one for that matter over night.
The second grievance toward Les Miles can be cleared up in a sentence or three: "He isn't discipline-oriented enough." Excuse me? Have you ever seen Les Miles speak? The guy looks like he'll bite your face off if you sneeze by him (Just look at that picture, yikes).
Now, on to the last, more recent, accusation to clear up about Les Miles: "He's a bad in-game decision maker." Personally, I believe Les Miles is clearly capable of improving in this area, but his record speaks for itself if you look at the aggressive calls he chalked up during 2007. In my eyes, he's not a bad coach, but he had his moments of coaching badly last year.
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. And you do (whiner club members). So do I (supporter club member). We should all go see someone.
So, as weirdly as the, "bad-coaching-doesn't-mean-you're-a-bad-coach," line sounds, I firmly believe it. Again, the win-loss statistic, and his aggressive style that has certainly contributed to that, speaks louder than any Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
The grumblings don't stop, however, no matter what you tell the whiners. It's hard for a person so close to the situation to change his or her emotional feelings toward a person or program. LSU Football's facebook page is all the proof of this negativity you need, if you don't believe me.
Hopefully, Les Miles' previous two stellar recruiting classes will give them cause for hope, though. This, and the fact that Les Miles will have another year under his belt of trying to get the coaching staff right.
It seems that if Les doesn't move the total championship count to three between him and Nick Saban by 2011, or possibly 2010, he could be out the door. It also seems that the only way LSU fans across the state and the nation will finally come together and accept Les Miles as LSU's main man, is if he does in fact make it three.
If you've ever heard The Beatles' song titled Come Together, you'd know from the lyrics that, "one and one and one is...three." Insert each championship in LSU's recent history into the place of each one, and you'd find that the third slot is still vacant.
Now, there is a lot of controversy about what this particular line in the song means, but for the sake of cooking up a good metaphor, let's assume McCartney was talking about the Tigers.
In order for Tiger fans to be united and ultimately come together in the apparent "gray area," a second title under Les Miles is a blaring necessity.
While it's hard to admit for cool and collective LSU fans, Les Miles is on the hot seat (well, it's at least getting a bit toasty).
Fans that partake in this religion of SEC football certainly know how hiring and firing works, generally, so most of them understand the repercussions for following in the footsteps of a coach like Saban and having consecutive sub-par seasons: you don't quite get the credit you deserve, and you better make your time worthy.
"Gray area" or not, though, the skeptical fans need to stop shadow stabbing at Les Miles when he's down, and support the team for what it's worth.
Hopefully you said "no" to your girlfriend or wife when she wanted to go out on recruit day―just like the rest of the avid LSU fan base when the finalized 2010 recruiting list came out, because that's the first step in knowing that you care (okay, yeah, we should seriously think about seeing someone, at least it's not as bad as hard drugs, though).
Now, go show you care and cheer louder than you've cheered before, clap harder than you've clapped in year's past, and suck it up if you're a whiner, because if the guy turns it around (don't use the Saban excuse this time, please), he's here to stay.
In essence, that's the best thing about cheering on your Tigers. Whether you hate him or love him, Mr. Miles is your coach, and he's part of what unites us all in our love for LSU football.
So, go Tigers, and enjoy your brown-bottled alcohol at the Tiger Stadium parking lot next year with 90,000 of your closest friends, all coming together, for one cause: making those opposing quarterbacks' ears ring. Leave the whine at home, though.
Stalk Chase in a socially acceptable manor: http://twitter.com/ChaseBowmanSaid
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