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August 22, 2010

Certainties and Mysteries: Ready for Some LSU Football?!

Waiting for the 2010 LSU football season to begin has been a roller coaster of wild emotionally charged speculation and tons of questions.  Is Les Miles on the hot seat or is he the best coach to ever coach the Tigers?  Is the offensive line going to be better despite having only one starter returning to his starting position? How will our fast but light defensive line play?  How will our quarterbacks fair and who's third string? Will LSU be 5-7 or 7-5 or 10-2 or 13-0?  All these questions and many more have left Tiger fans with the same resolve that we just want to get this season started and the sooner, the better.  The season will be here soon and whatever happens, will happen but some things are certain while other things will have to be revealed in due time.


Les Miles is the Best! 
Pat Forde of ESPN wrote an article a few days ago titled "Is Miles more or less?"  While Forde does an excellent job of representing arguments for and against Miles, the arguments most compelling to me were the "Les is more" pro Les Miles arguments.  It is a certainty that despite two off years Les Miles has the highest winning percentage of any LSU coach who has coached at least 20 games.  Miles has a 77% winning average.  The great Charlie McLendon had a 69% winning average.  Paul Dietzel had a 65% winning average.  And even the "Bear Bryant, Jr." aka Nick Saban had remarkable but still second place winning percentage of 75 as an LSU head coach.  Forde makes a number of other arguments in his Miles evaluation article but this first one was enough for me.  Les Miles is the best LSU coach ever and a couple of down years are not enough to convince me otherwise.

LSU is loaded with talented players!
From 2006 to 2010, Rivals and ESPN have ranked LSU's recruiting class in the top 10 every year except for one.  LSU's 2008 recruiting class was ranked 11th by both Rivals and ESPN.  Scout has included all of those same LSU recruiting classes in the top 10.  It is a certainty that LSU has some of the best football players playing college football anywhere this year.


The Offense
We have two experienced quarterbacks each of whom has exhibited a major flaw in their play as underclassmen.  Jefferson took too many sacks and Lee tended to throw touchdowns for the wrong team.  Whether either Jefferson or Lee will emerge having corrected his flaw is still a mystery.  LSU's running backs were not regular starters last year and LSU did not run well last year with experienced backs.  Some LSU fans are so worried about this mysterious lack of a running game that they have expressed frustration at the idea that LSU will even consider trying to pound the ball up the middle.  LSU's offensive line is mostly new starters leaving us to guess at how good they will be.  We will not know for sure if the addition of a new running backs coach, a new tight ends coach, and a new passing coordinator will bring the LSU offense to life until the team takes the field.  I have a strong feeling that LSU will have very good offense this year.

The Defensive line and linebackers 
LSU has very few returning starters on the defensive line and among the linebacker corps.  Drake Nevis on the line and Kelvin Shepard among linebackers are the two leaders with experience.  Pep Levingston has experience on the d-line but he has been moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. The good news here for LSU fans is that many of the players that will be starting and in the regular rotation at these positions were highly recruited talented athletes that would have started earlier in their college careers at many other schools. A certainty within this defense is that they are fast.  Speed can often correct for defensive errors.

While the certainties are comforting, the number of mysteries is frustrating for LSU football fans.  Who's ready for some football?!  Is it almost September 4th yet? How about now?


Anonymous said...


If you want Miles to keep that 77% avg. you better get him retired pretty fast, because the trend is more like in the 65% range. And the slope of that cure since 07, isnt showing any sign of flattening out either.

You got a mediocre qb, no particularly special fullback, an offensive line that isnt dominant and a coach that wants to run a game plan that to be successful requires the line to be dominant. Add to that, you've got excellent receivers, but an offensive coordinator that wont throw to them past 10 yds down the field.

You've got no particular size on the d-line, and the linebackers are a bit slow.

Dietzel was a 65% coach because he took nothing and built a winner. Saban was a 75% coach for the same reason. The trend was upward. Generally. McClendon coached in a time when tickets werent the size of car payments and fans could 'love' their coaches for doing their best.

Miles was on avg an 8-5 coach at Ok St. Starting to look familiar? You can say he is the best, because of his first three years. But really, how long will those first three years keep you warm?

BillyWayne said...

When Les Miles winning percentage drops below 75%(Saban's), I will start listening to this nonsense. The fact of the matter is that Miles does not have to field a team with mediocre player because he recruits well. The 2006 date that Bob uses is the first real class that Miles recruited. Fly by night Saban left Miles little time in 2005 to recruit a solid class and that is why you have this downward blip the last two years.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Mysteries of Life are about to be revealed when the Tigers Kick tail! Geaux Tigers!

Anonymous said...

"Miles doesnt have to field a team with mediocre players".

Who on the team would another SEC Team trade for? Receivers for sure. O-line? Running backs?, qb?, D-line?, Lb?... nope on all counts. We do have steely-eyed missle men in the defensive backfield though, no question there. Just hope its enough.

Sadly, you wont have too long to wait to bust that 75% threshold.

Anonymous said...

Kelvin Shepard-LB, Drake Nevis-DT, Sam Montgomery-DE, KeKe Mingo-DE or OLB, Mike Ford-RB, Joe Barksdale-OT, Will Blackwell-OG. Any team would be upgrading to trade for these players.

Anonymous said...

So Charlie Mac can win 69% and he is an LSU coaching hero bc he could not attract great players to LSU but Miles is a failure if he drops below 75%. Get Real!

Anonymous said...

"And the slope of that cure since 07, isn't showing any sign of flattening out either"

First we are talking about 5 years of statistics and second in case you did not notice LSU went 8-5 two years ago and 9-4 last year admittedly not a vast improvement but definitely a one year upward trend.

So Miles did not have to build a weak LSU program? He still had a better record his first year than Saban had the year previous.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, I know you are quite the retard so I will just keep it simple for you. Les Miles took little Nicky's OWN PLAYERS at LSU the very next year and WON MORE GAMES than little Nicky did the year before. So pretend you have one live brain cell and let that sink in.

LesIsBest! said...

This guy is right - same exact players, two different coaches with two different results. This has got to be the only real test of the Miles/Saban debate.

Anonymous said...

Before Saban came to LSU he only had one season with 8wins or more. In his 5 years at Mich. State he only managed 6 wins 3 of those 5 seasons. And he had talent like Plaxico Burress. Miles has better talent at LSU than he had at Ok.St. That guy talking about getting used to 8-5 seasons is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Lets compare records of Saban and Miles against the SEC teams. I believe Miles has the advantage there. Miles faired better against Tuberville(Auburn) than Saban. Miles against Florida has faced Urban Myer as the Florida coach over Saban facing Ron Zook at Florida.(Which Fla teams are better/more talented?) Even now at Bama, Saban doesn't have to face Florida on the schedule every year. He lost two out of three(only won last year against Florida in SEC title game). The SEC West has been the tougher of the divisions since Saban left with better Arkansas teams, Ole Miss teams with talent recruited by Coach O, and a better Miss St team that beat Alabama two years ago with Saban as coach. Fans continue to talk about Miles losing to Ole Miss. In nonconference schedule Saban(at LSU) lost to UAB and Va Tech(blow out), (at Bama)Bowl Game Colapse/did not show up against Utah,and LA Monroe(Whoaaaa?) Miles has also faired better in the bowl games(Cap One Bowl field conditions limited LSUs advantage/speed). Under Saban at LSU lost to Iowa and Texas and at Bama(Utah). LSU vs OU National Championship should not have been that close(Saban shut the offense down/coaching blunders).

Too many so called LSU fans still have love for this guy in Alabama who abandoned us, the school, and players he recruited after lying to us all.

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