Miles Reprieve And Opponent Should Result In Solid Effort
By John Ventola
LSU faithful have had thirty-one days to process the embarrassing drama that played out around Les Miles in November as the Tigers plummeted from the ranks of the unbeaten (ranked No. 2 in the initial CFP poll) to a team not ranked in the Top 25. A three-game SEC losing streak put the quirky eleventh year head coach on the hot seat, and ultimately atop the shoulders of his players following a job-saving victory over Texas A & M in the home finale, a win that literally gave him a “third quarter” reprieve from the coaches’ unemployed list.
There has been a month for psyches to heal (now ranked No. 20) along with the bumps and bruises from a tough month of play. It gave Miles time for further team preparation,
time to evaluate the season’s results, and possible staff changes. It also gave he and his staff a period to recruit, hopefully time to find the first decent quarterback recruit to come to Baton Rouge in the Miles-era (JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn were Saban recruits, and Zach Mettenberger was a transfer).
As the Tigers take the field tonight at NRG Stadium to take on Texas Tech’s top ranked passing offense in the Texas Bowl, the Bengal fan base should not expect any major changes from what they witnessed against SEC opponents last month. A predictable offense, a less than formidable pass defense, and terrible special teams play await television viewers and those willing to travel to Houston to wave their purple and gold pom-poms.
Since Miles’ reprieve from LSU president King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva, he has continued his same routine, describing practice sessions in gibberish fashion, frequently using unsportslike jargon, and terms. While many thought Miles
would be asked to make staff changes in order to remain at LSU, it appears that was not part of the school’s recommitment to him.
If offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, or defensive coordinator Kevin Steele were going to be let go, they would have been notified after the regular season ended, giving them time to seek coaching positions elsewhere.
Cameron, whose contract ends in March, has struggled coaching dual-threat quarterbacks. His background is the pro-set passing game in which Mettenberger flourished. Peveto, who was let go from LSU once before, put special team units on the field that looked unprepared, with players often getting out of responsibility lanes in punt and kickoff coverage.
Grimes, in his second season after replacing Greg Studrawa, had an offensive line that badly underachieved once the competition got tough, while Steele failed miserably in replacing the departed John Chavis.
Replacing one or more of the named assistants would probably be beneficial to the program. However, Miles will be Miles. He will use Alleva’s ill-fated search for his successor to be even more hard-headed than he has been previously. That could prove disastrous for LSU, and put the program further into its recent SEC decline.
When the LSU-Texas Tech pairing was announced, this blogger immediately predicted
Leonard Fournette would rush for 250 yards in the game. The Red Raiders finished sixth in the ten-team Big 12 (yeah, I know, how can 10 teams be the Big 12), and weekly put a defense on the field that was not capable of stopping any offense. At least Red Raider coach Kliff Kingsbury noticed the shortcomings, firing his co-defensive coordinator, secondary coach, and outside linebackers coach after the regular season ended.
Texas Tech lost to conference foes TCU (55-52), Baylor (63-35), Oklahoma (63-27), and Oklahoma State (70-53). Folks, I am talking football here, not basketball. Tech gave up an average of 63 points a game in those four losses. Of course they scored 53 and 52 points in two of the losses also as the fast-paced Air Raid offense tried to outgun its opponents. The team finished second in the country with a 46.6 points per game scoring average. LSU, meanwhile, averaged 24 points per game.
The only common opponent of the two teams was Arkansas. Texas Tech defeated the Razorbacks early in the year at Fayetteville, 35-24, while LSU lost to them in Tiger Stadium, 31-14, in mid-November.
Kingsbury will probably fill the “box” early in the game, forcing Brandon Harris to throw the ball. It worked for Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, but make no mistake, most Tech defenders would not see the field for those teams. Harris will have to throw some, but Fournette should be primed and ready to return to his early season form. Offensive
linemen Jerald Hawkins and Ethan Pocic are both contemplating declaring themselves for the forthcoming NFL draft. It they cannot punch holes in the Red Raider defensive line for Fournette they had better contemplate coming back for their senior seasons.
LSU’s defense will surely be tested. The Tiger defense finished ranked No. 25 in the country by giving up 342 yards per game. Miles and Steele would settle for that figure tonight. Defensive backs Jalen Mills, Ricky Jefferson, Tre’Davious White, Dwayne Thomas, Kevin Tolliver, and Donte Jackson will need the batteries charged on their hover boards as Red Raider quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws to fleet receivers on most downs. Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture will have to put pressure on Mahomes, and Kendell Beckwith and Arden Key will have to be active. A few well-timed blitz packages would help alleviate some of the pressure on the defensive backs.
The 2015 Texas Bowl, it will have Tiger fans saying, “Wait Until Next Year”, or “I told you they should have fired him!” Either way, I am curious to hear and try to decipher what the man in charge will have to say after the game. LSU games are not always entertaining, but Miles’ post-game comments surely are.Thanks For Visiting JV Sport Shots .Com’s Website And Viewing Our Latest Blog(s) / Page(s). We Would Really Appreciate It If You Would Leave Us A Comment Or Remark Below. This Helps Us Provide Great Sports Content; You Would Like To See In Future Posts.
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