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LSU head coach Les Miles. (Associated Press)

LSU head coach Les Miles. (Associated Press)

Hobbs: You don’t mess with a winning formula

Last Modified: Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:36 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — We’re down here somewhere deep and dark under Kyle Field where Les Miles is trying to explain how his LSU team beat Texas A&M, but unfortunately there are roughly 375 people in this room that was designed to hold maybe one fair-sized offensive line.

It is bunched up tighter than an LSU running formation, sweatier than a defensive line after chasing Johnny Manziel all day and about as chaotic as LSU’s near-comical attempts at a wildcat offense.

Miles is smiling, I believe, but most of his explanation is inaudible, drowned out or spoken in untranslated Miles-isms, which is a shame.

Because I’m afraid on this day, for this game, I’m not much help. I’m at a total loss to explain how the Tigers got out of this place with a 24-19 victory over Texas A&M.

Fortunately the Tigers’ charter jet is waiting just a stone’s throw from here and they seem in a hurry to get there, slip away and fly across the state border before anybody can review it any further or try to make any solid sense of it.

I’m not sure if the Texas troopers will be escorting them to the airfield or chasing them.

These Aggies are serious about their football, came here today full of sky-high, stadium-swaying expectations, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a posse forms any minute.

Run, Les, Run!

That famed Aggie corps could mobilize at any moment, and they have bayonets.

Anyway, Aggies, welcome to the SEC and the renewal of what should be an interesting rivalry.

“As long as our guys continue to give effort like that, we’re going to be able to win any game,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I think it should have been today.”

Again, welcome to Les Miles’ world. And don’t worry about it.

You’re not the first to come away dumbfounded after tangling with Miles.

Trust me, the game film will be of little help.

Miles pulls this kind of thing occasionally — winning for no discernible reason — and it has frustrated far more veteran coaches than you.

You will probably point to the Aggies’ five turnovers, which includes a lost fumble on the attempted Stanford band re-enactment on the final play of the game.

Certainly, they helped. It appeared LSU might never have scored in the first half if not for a little nudge.

But it could have been anything.

The turnovers, on some days, would have been easily offset by LSU’s laughable 2-of-16 success rate converting third downs, none until well into the third quarter.

LSU’s funny like that. Somehow they had a 14-12 halftime lead without a converting a single one.

Of course, Miles was 2-for-2 on his patented fourth downs, both of which set up touchdowns or else we’re not quite so mystified by a final score more that might be more to the Aggies’ liking.

The final stat sheet has A&M outgaining LSU by 410-316, but I must have missed a lot of the Tigers’ yards. And no team with seven three-and-outs on offense — A&M had none that weren’t interrupted by turnovers — probably has no business even thinking about scoring enough points to stay ahead of a wild offense like the Aggies’.

When A&M, down 17-12, had a chance to really make it interesting with a 76-yard kickoff return, the Tigers responded with their first true stop in the red zone.

It took a missed chip-shot field goal, but it goes down as a stop.

Of course, some people still claim Miles is just Lucky Les, but we’ve seen stuff like that too much.

There were some new wrinkles.

The Tigers dove full bore into the wildcat offense and took the wraps off Zach Mettenberger, ordering him to air out pass after pass long and deep against a suspect Aggies defense.

Neither ploy really worked nor had much effect on the game. In particular the wildcat thingie, with Spencer Ware under center, made LSU looked more helpless than usual in the red zone. Certainly more confused.

The long passes were mostly big teases, although Kadron Boone didn’t manage to snatch one medium-length one for a 29-yard touchdown catch just before halftime.

Mettenberger managed to complete 11 of 29 passes for just shy of 100 yards (97).

LSU got a better handle on the Aggies’ wide-open offense in the second half.

But nobody will ever properly explain that 14-12 halftime lead in which Texas A&M totally dominated the half.

Wait a minute. Here comes Miles, headed out the door en route to an open date before the annual showdown with Alabama in two weeks.

“We’ll get on a plane,” he says. “Head home, find us a big flat-screen TV, eat heavily, watch the (night) games. Probably tomorrow we’ll describe this game (to the team) and kind of fix it.”

I don’t know, Coach. I wouldn’t change a thing. You don’t want to mess with a winning formula.

Whatever it is.

And hurry to the airport.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

Posted By: Lou On: 10/22/2012

Title: tigers got bailed out after getting butt kicking

Aggies butt kicked Tigers all over field....couple of costly turnovers right before half cost aggies the game.......referees helped by calling one touchdown back despite a block that had nothing to do with the was all about setting up a big money game.....tiger offensive line held on every play but it was ignored by refs ................BAMA is coming to town in 12 days and its gonna be another butt whipping for the tigers to endure at the hands of the
Tide ..........if you cant play in trenches with T A&M you sure cant compete with BAMA..Tigers should have had 3 weeks to prepare for the real deal..........bama 31- Lsu---3......this time the other team and the refs wont give the game away..too much at stake.........les miles and whole lsu staff is way overpaid................who put mettenberger where he is at..les miles did...ROLL TIDE

Posted By: C L Armentor On: 10/21/2012

Title: Don't mess with a winning formula

LSU's present quarterback just isn't cutting the mustard. Why not go to a wish-bone type backfield?? With running backs Hill, Ford, Dillard, Ware, etc a very good running game would suffice. Need variety..Throw in Shepard for a pass every now and then or let Ware throw a short one in the flat or over the middle. LSU's ground game could eat up the SEC and other foes if used properly. Oklahoma proved that this type offense worked when they did not posses a quarterback worth the team's sweat.

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