Hobbs: You don’t mess with a winning formula

By 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


“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 shobbs@americanpress.com