Sunday, November 25, 2007

Time to Grade Miles' Exam.

Well, we LSU fans got our hearts broken Friday. Atlanta was looking nice and playing for the BCS Title looked even nicer until our Pickett's charge foundered upon an interception. I've been saying for three years now I would save my judgement of Miles until after this year as I considered this season to be his exam. Well, it is time to grade the exam.

First the positives on Miles. I think he is a good man. He has good character. Family man type of guy and everyone who has met him likes him. The players like him. Not bad qualities for a coach to have.

If he stays at LSU, he will win 75% of his games. He is a good recruiter as he keenly recognizes talent. He hires good staff (although I am now questioning Pelini as a good SEC DC), showing he is not afraid to hire true experts for his team, something Dinardo was averse to doing. Hiring good coaches and having strong recruiting classes alone will ensure a winning record at LSU, a string of bowl games, publicity, and a decent ranking every year. See Cholly Mac.

Now for the negatives. I think although he has a good character, I think it is weak to some degree and lacks strong decision-making skills. I don't think its any coincidence that he had to kick 5 players off the team this year for violent crimes as he had similar problems at OSU. Now it is true Miles did the right thing in kicking off these players. What these guys did went way past teen-age stupidity. It makes one wonder why Miles is recruiting these players in the first place.

Perrilloux is a prime example of recruiting questionable players. Saban said he was not crazy about Perrilloux's character. When Miles came to LSU he made signing him a priority. Perrilloux has shown nothing special on the field (He has been at LSU for 3 years) and over the last year and has been in trouble repeatedly with each incident worse than the one before it. If the police reports from the incident at the Varsity are to be believed, Perrilloux truly is a thug. From what I have heard, his teammates are sick of him and his attitude. Make no mistake, Saban had his share of problem players too but they were not in the police blotters and headlines and frankly, the players WERE scared of Saban.

Forgetting Saban's ethics for the moment, there is one important fact to consider about Saban's evaluation of players: if the player is one Saban does not want or can't work out for Saban, history shows he is not worth having: Barrington Edwards, Robert Lane, Parquet..the list goes on. However, Miles has shown he will take a chance on such players and look what we get: reporters checking the police blotter on a daily basis with a stack of ten dollar bills ready to pay for police reports. Nice legacy. The question is by repeatedly recruiting players who get in trouble so much, does Miles make good decisions in recruiting? Does he focus just on talent? What is his philosophy when it comes to recruiting? Is talent alone the determining factor or does it include character and intelligence?

There has been another disturbing trend among his football team that can not be ignored. Under Miles, LSU tends to play to the level of the competition if its an SEC team, unless that team is really bad. His best SEC win was this year against South Carolina: 11 points. Consistently playing to the level of the competition usually indicates a very young team or weak coaching.

Every mediocre or better SEC team has presented us with the same scenario: LS comes out flat or has to win in the last minutes of the game. LSU does NOT come out and control the game from start to finish. Yes, Saban had 3 loss seasons but he also had games where we dominated (when is the last time you heard Miles talk about domination? You know why you don't know? Because he never has.) The record does not lie:
Florida: Every game but '06 was down to the wire
Tennesse: last minute win, OT loss
Arkansas: all three games were very close
Auburn: everyone knows that history
SC: won by 11
UGA: Blowout loss
Alabama: OT win, last minute win, came out flat in '06
Ole Miss: against bad Ole Miss teams: OT win, back and forth game last week.
Kentucky: average SEC team this year. we lose.
MSU: we've always owned them. same with Vandy.

In 03, LSU blew out Auburn, Georgia, S. Carolina, Bama, and Arkansas. LSU blew out FLorida in 02. We beat Arkansas handily in 04. Every good SEC coach will have wins against decent SEC teams where they have controlled the game from start to finish. We have had good teams blown out by Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and so on. Good SEC teams DON'T have Miles track record of playing exactly to the other team's level every game. From time to time, they dominate. At other times they are dominated but that is why you play the game.

Under Miles, LSU does not have a killer instinct for the most part. The result is we live by the edge and every game is a nail-biter in the SEC. That is fine for winning record. However, it shows something is not right. I don't think he focuses as other coaches do having his players dominate the other players. I think his nice guy personae plays into that and he does NOT have a killer instinct. One time I heard him defend the team having a tough game in saying hey, the other team was good. You can interpret that any way you choose. That lack of a killer instinct means we will usually lose that one game that keeps us from true success in college football.

In '05 before the Georgia loss, he flew to Dallas to discuss the Cotton Bowl with its representatives on Thursday night BEFORE the SEC Championship game. He defended it saying that was his normal family night so it did not interfere with his game preparations for Georgia. Oh really? I remember in 01 making fun of Fulmer because on that same night, he and one of his players flew to Florida and back to accept an award on that Thursday night when he should have been back in Knoxville getting his team ready for LSU. Can you imagine Saban or Meyer going out of town for a whole night 48 hours before the SEC Championship game? Can you imagine them doing family night before a big game. Make no mistake, coaches NEED to spend time with their families. However, 48 hours before such a game, shouldn't they be working on the game, not worrying about bowl games or awards? However, I digress.

The lack of discipline shows up on the field during games. Leading the SEC in penalties. Repeatedly committing personal fouls on the field. Punches to the head during games. Late hits. Experienced players repeatedly lining up wrong, costing us touchdowns. The constant inability of our offense to use the clock wisely. The refusal by Pelini to adjust on defense during games as needed. The numerous times where the team has lacked a killer instinct when the opponent could be put away for the rest of the game (see Arkansas and Alabama this year). As for the defense, even if the soft defense is due to Pelini, Miles still can overrule him, which apparently has not happened. One does not face SEC offenses with soft coverage and a basic 4 man rush. After three years with veteran, highly recruited players, this should not happen and the blame should be placed squarely at the feet of Miles. One must also wonder once again about his ability to make decisions when he allows coaches like Pelini to run schemes that obviously do not work and have not worked for some time.

I'm sorry for writing this as I like Miles as a person. However, LSU fans have to decide what are their expectations. If it is to be a winning program with bowl games every year, then Miles is the coach. However, there is a huge difference between a championship coach and a winning coach. Saban was a championship coach. Stallings was a championship coach. Meyer is one as well. We won't even mention Tuberville. Put those guys into big games that mean something, they know what to do. Miles has shown that in games that truly count, he does not know how to coach the team before or during the game.

I am not one of these idiot fans who think we should go undefeated every year and think ten wins a year is not good enough. However, I want a championship coach. My expectation is a top ten or so ranking every year and every 5 years, a shot at the national title. A shot, not a win. Its very rare you get to the level of Miami in the 80's or Florida State in the 80's or 90's where you are playing for one every year and I don't have those expectations.

After grading Miles' exam, I don't think Miles is a championship coach. He will win, he will have success and if that is the expectation, then he is the right coach for LSU. If a championship coach is desired, then he is not the right coach and LSU should let him go to Michigan. Unlike Skip, I don't want a "best fit". I want a championship coach who has his team disciplined on AND off the field. Having said that, LSU might beat Tennessee this week and win the SEC Championship. However, there will always be the fact that LSU was ranked number one twice this year and lost twice to average SEC teams that finished in the middle of their division.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS