November 22, 2009
If you didn't know any better, you'd think Les Miles had nothing to do with quarterback Jordan Jefferson's baffling, ill-fated decision to attempt to spike the ball with one second on the clock at the end of LSU's 25-23 loss at Ole Miss, thus ending the Tigers' comeback bid without a shot at a winning field goal or a throw into the end zone. Miles himself, after all, said after the game: "I do not know who told him to clock it. ... You cannot clock that ball. I don't know that that call was ever made." From that, we can assume the sophomore quarterback took it upon himself, in the heat of the moment, to take the only action in that situation that essentially assured a Tiger loss.
Thanks to a Baton Rouge television station, however, we do know better:
That clip compounds the already searing indictment of LSU's horrendous clock management on the game-winning drive: On top of allowing 16 precious seconds to tick away before heaving up a desperate fourth-down pass with only nine seconds left, and apparently failing to have any plan for getting the field goal team onto the field or getting off a throw into the end zone when that pass was completed, Miles a) Vigorously signaled for his quarterback to throw the team's only remaining chance to win into the turf, and b) Proceeded to either forget what he was thinking in that crucial moment or outright lie about it, effectively making his sophomore quarterback the scapegoat for the boneheaded decision.
It's not the first time Miles has lost his head in the heat of a crucial moment or seemed to lose track of the clock at the end of a game. It was bound to burn a man whose brain seems to lie entirely below his sternum eventually. But to throw your own quarterback to the wolves -- intentionally or unintentionally, since it's not clear at all Miles was technically conscious when he was frantically instructing his team to spike the ball -- that's hardly the stuff of a $4 million man.
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Hat tip: Sports By Brooks.