In Louisiana football, Bobby Hebert comes with the territory: The Cut Off, La., native was the first quarterback ever to lead the New Orleans Saints to the playoffs, and has spent the last six years as the most prominent voice on the local AM radio giant, WWL, where his enthusiastic, mush-mouthed stylings dominate the late afternoon drive slot. From Les Miles' perspective, he's also the father of an LSU offensive lineman, T-Bob Hebert, who's started 26 games over the last three years at center and guard. The locals, they know what to expect from Bobby Hebert.
After Miles made an opening statement, the moderator opened the floor to questions. The first came from Bobby Hebert, a local broadcaster and former Saints quarterback, whose son, T-Bob Hebert, plays center and guard for L.S.U.
Hebert started, according to the transcript: "Coach, did you ever consider bringing in Jarrett Lee, considering that you weren't taking any chances on the field? Now, I know Alabama's defense is dominant. But, come on, that's ridiculous, five first downs. I mean, so it's almost an approach, I'll tell you from the fans' standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in Jarrett Lee?"
In the often mundane world of post-event news conferences, where coaches spew clichés and reporters worry about deadlines, this rant, in all its fan-like anger — from a broadcaster to the man who coached his son — registered somewhere near the level of "bombshell," as the room fell silent and faces filled with shock.
If you're scoring at home, Hebert's "question" spans 126 words — including two counts of "that's ridiculous" — before he's cut off by the moderator, who asks curtly "Do you have a question?" Question? Y'all must not be from around here. That's just Hebert bein' Hebert, baby.
And frankly — professionalism aside — it's Hebert being right: Miles' refusal to pull starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson for Jarrett Lee as LSU's offense was being torn to bits was ridiculous. Jefferson was miserable, and only grew more impotent, flustered and self-destructive as the night wore on. Lee, the starter for the first nine games of the Tigers' brilliant regular season, never took a snap. LSU's offense never came close to scoring.
Hebert is frequently accused of sounding like a random fan off the street after he's had a few too many, which (except for the "random" part) is basically what he is. It's also why he's No. 1: While the rest of the press observes decorum and gropes for words and saves its savagery for the page/screen, Hebert stood up and said exactly what every LSU fan was thinking to the head coach's face, exactly the way they'd say it, even if it meant making himself look a little ridiculous in the process. In this case, I guess you could say ridiculous recognize ridiculous.
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