LSU head coach Les Miles calls out from the sideline during the second half of the Tigers' game against Alabama Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Top-ranked Alabama beat LSU 21-17, handing the Tigers their second loss of the season and virtually eliminating them from the BCS National Championship Game. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Monday, November 05, 2012 10:44 PM
In the days leading up to the Alabama game last week, LSU coach Les Miles said you don’t beat the Tide with “trickery.”
Then Miles threw almost every gimmick in the book at the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide, almost all of which blew up in his face in a 21-17 loss.
“I told my team I wish I had played better,” Miles said Monday. “I wish I had done things different.”
But, rest assured, the Mad Hatter hasn’t completed reformed.
“I don’t necessarily share every piece or tidbit with y’all,” he said of the sleight of tongue to the media. “To be honest with you, I will probably make those calls again.”
Not all of them.
Miles repeated Monday that he wished he hadn’t called the second-quarter fake field goal on fourth-and-12 that Alabama quickly sniffed out and stuffed.
“We saw something that we liked,” Miles said. “I wanted to go after it ... maybe a little too aggressive.”
But otherwise, “We were going after them, that was obvious, so that’s the way we played. I will probably make those calls again (if) I see things that can advantage us.”
LSU did catch Alabama napping in the third quarter with an onside kick after pulling to within 14-10. But, with kicker James Hairston ready to pounce on it, the ball bounced up and hit him before traveling 10 yards.
“I liked the onsides kick trying to steal a possession,” Miles said. “Felt like it was there. We had just scored, felt it was exactly the right time. Sometimes the ball bounces the wrong way and it bounced up and hit him in the chest (too early). If it hadn’t, who knows what happens?”
Actually, it didn’t hurt LSU.
Although the Tide took over at the Tigers’ 44-yard line and drove deep into LSU territory, Alabama fumbled a handoff and LSU’s Sam Montgomery recovered at the 10-yard. LSU promptly drove 90 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
LSU had two more chances to pad the 17-14 lead before Alabama eventually drove for the game-winning score. But a fourth-and-a-long-1 gamble failed with running back Spencer Ware lining up under center for a quarterback sneak from the Tide 24 and Drew Alleman missed a 45-yard field goal with 1:34 to play.
“I would probably do that again,” Miles said of going to Wildcat offense on the failed fourth down try. “I felt like we had it, an opportunity to pick up a first down. If you look at it, if we can extend a drive by a minute, 30 seconds, the game’s over.
“If you look at those fourth downs ... I’m going to make those calls if I feel like it’s the best thing we can do for victory.”
In the end, of course, it didn’t get a victory.
And that was the tough part for Miles.
“The issue of how well your team played — how well they executed, how tough they were, (how) physical — that’s the difficult part, not have the victory there. That’s something a coach would want for his team fully.”