Category Archives: Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Les Miles does all the diligence due.

It’s nice that Zach Mettenberger sees his stint at LSU as the result from God’s plan.  Evidently the Almighty One didn’t require his new head coach to dig too deeply into what went into his old head coach’s decision to dismiss him from the Georgia program.

When you were recruiting Zach, did you by chance call Coach Rick(sic)? If so, what was the gist of some of those conversations? I certainly reviewed those guys that we recruit. I got the real view of the incidents and understand kind of what happened there, and recognize that certainly people make mistakes.

Translation:  I needed a quarterback.  Beyond that, if you don’t look too closely, you don’t have as much to worry about.

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STFU, Les.

I realize that the Sturm und Drang we hear from the coaches at the SEC meetings is essentially window dressing – don’t forget, last year they unanimously voted against the roster management rules that were passed by the presidents a day later – but that doesn’t mean Les Miles hasn’t been showing his ass in a major way this week.

Yesterday I wondered if Miles’ complaint about LSU playing Florida on a permanent basis was about him or if he was making a bigger argument about the conference as a whole.  I guess with his AD whining about other schools’ selfishness on the issue, the Hat chose to go all in.

“Mississippi State is going to play Kentucky every year, and I think that is disproportionate,” Tigers coach Les Miles told reporters Wednesday at the gathering in Destin, Fla. “I’m not for Auburn playing Georgia every year. Again, it’s disproportionate. I think there should be an opportunity to see a greater segment of the conference.”

It turns out that Dan Mullen isn’t for Les Miles.  Booyah!

… This, of course, led to the response from Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, which was a G-rated version of what he really wanted to say.

“I’ve been in this league for a while, and I have a national championship ring from when my crossover games at the University of Florida that year (2006) were Auburn, Alabama and LSU,” Mullen said. “Is that fair? But we still won a national title. I don’t see how there’s any relevance to that.”

I know it’s hard to believe, but it doesn’t appear that Miles and LSU are winning many converts (“Reporters struggled, though, to find other coaches coming forth in agreement with Miles…”) on the issue.

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UPDATE:  Make sure you read this terrific post at And The Valley Shook.  Particularly this:

That said, permanent rivals are important. They also strengthen the bonds of the conference, and it ensures programs of relative quality play each other every year. More importantly, it preserves two of college football’s greatest rivalries. Alabama-Tennessee gets the press, but I think saving Auburn-Georgia is more important.

Auburn is an Eastern team playing in the West. Their traditional rivals were largely the eastern schools, and they took one for the conference when they agreed to move West. The SEC predates 1992, and Auburn’s already been asked to sacrifice the Florida game, but asking them to also give up the South’s Oldest rivalry is just obscene. That’s not progress, that’s slapping tradition in the face. I think preserving one of the oldest rivalries in sports is not some incidental goal. Auburn’s given up a lot for the SEC, and as their conference mates, we can give them this. Tradition matters. It matters a lot. Even if it’s not my tradition.

It’s sad that the fans grasp this, while the folks in power grow less and less concerned about it.

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Les Miles and the geography of tradition

As with so many things Les Miles says, it’s hard to tell whether he’s being a smartass or just smart when he discusses his displeasure with LSU having Florida as its permanent cross-division partner/rival.

“This is all based on some vague tradition that is not considering that you’re adding teams to the conference,” he said. “Tell me about the tradition of the conference when you add teams to it.

“I mean, Florida isn’t even a nearby state. This tradition of rivalry is the fact that we enjoy playing them.”

Wait a minute… if you enjoy playing them, then why do you want to do away with… oh, never mind.

If Miles is complaining specifically about his game, well, okay.  Although his “adding teams to the conference” rationale doesn’t make much sense in that there were unbalanced rivalries/pairings before expansion when he didn’t object and the two new schools aren’t exactly patsies.  But there’s so much “it’s not fair!” whining going on these days you can hardly blame the man for his share.  However, if he’s dissing “the tradition of the conference” as a whole, The Hat can go screw himself.

It’s not like we fans were clamoring for conference expansion.  That’s come about solely as a result of the chase for the almighty dollar.  And that’s a chase that benefits Les Miles a helluva lot more than it does me.  So if you’ve got a problem with SEC tradition, Les, kindly keep it to yourself.

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Well, if Les Miles thinks it’s a good idea…

He’s on board with Spurrier’s division record only proposal.

“I want the schedule to be fair and I want it to give everybody the same opportunity,” Miles said today in Birmingham at a luncheon for the Changed Lives Christian Center. “I’m for the Western Division deciding the Western Division champion and the Eastern Division deciding the Eastern Division champion.”

He doesn’t like playing Florida.

I swear, the coaches don’t want to play nine conference games and they don’t want to play tough cross- divisional games.  How ’bout we let them play twelve games against Sun Belt and MAC teams and then vote on which teams they think are best suited for the SECCG?

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Athlon isn’t impressed with Les Miles’ dietary habits.

Of all the reasons to downgrade The Hat in this ranking of SEC coaches, this strikes me as a trifle strange:

However, he has also developed another reputation based on bizarre eating habits…

Granted, that’s not the only criticism lodged his way, but to use that as a shortcoming to rank Miles below a coach who’s never beaten him (Mullen) and has only lost one less game in three years than Miles has in seven seems like a stretch.

If Lester gives up grass, do you think Athlon will move him up on the list?

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Saturday morning buffet

Get off your motorcycle and grab a plate.

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“We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC—in any way, shape or form.”

Hell has truly frozen over.  In a mere two months, Bret Bielema and Mark Dantonio have managed to accomplish something that never happened in five years in the SEC – make me side with Urban Meyer.  Bielema, in fact, is so upset over Meyer’s recruiting tactics that his mommy is going to the principal his athletic director is going to the conference commissioner about it.

Just so we’re clear: Bielema wasn’t talking about winning national championships. He was talking about Meyer’s recruiting tactics—and how after a little more than two months on the job, Meyer already is getting under the skin of his colleagues.

Just how much, you ask? Bielema, whose teams have won more games than any other Big Ten team in his six seasons in Madison, says Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez will speak Friday with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer’s recruiting methods during the league’s athletic director meetings in Chicago.

During his National Signing Day press conference, Bielema hinted that Meyer was using “illegal” recruiting practices. He said as much again Thursday when contacted by Sporting News, and without getting into specifics offered this:

“I called Urban and we spoke about it,” Bielema said. “We talked about it, and he said it would stop and it did. I’ll let our commissioner deal with anything else. That’s not who we are (in the Big Ten). We settle things among ourselves as coaches.”

The big complaint?  That Meyer won’t adhere to the Big Ten’s “gentlemen’s agreement”.

Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema thinks otherwise: he thinks that the Big Ten should adhere to a gentlemen’s agreement that, according to Bielema, has defined the conference’s recruiting efforts for generations. At its core, this agreement makes verbal commits — that’s a non-binding, unofficial commitment, by the way — out of bounds for any coach working within the conference.

How quaint.   How irrelevant.

What does a Big Ten coach do when one of his verbal commitments gets flipped by a coach from another conference?  Hold his breath until his face turns blue?  Does Bielema really think Delany is going to order Meyer to stop talking to recruits who have given verbal commitments to other Big Ten schools?  (My prediction:  watch for Big Ten coaches to lead a push for an early signing period.)

Whining about Urban Meyer is a bad move.  It’s a sign of weakness.  Hint to Bielema:  if you’ve got to whine about something related to recruiting, save it for an 18-year old who has a hard time making up his mind.  That’s the way we roll in the SEC, bitch.

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UPDATE:  Game on.

Meyer reportedly fired back while at the Ohio High School coaches clinic on Friday morning.

“You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again,” said Meyer. “Do it a little harder next time.”

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UPDATE #2:  Barry Alvarez to Bret Bielema:  Shut up, boy.

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UPDATE #3:  The Big Ten’s most useless athletic director chimes in.

This statement from Ohio State AD Gene Smith was released by the school early afternoon on Friday:

“I am disappointed that negative references have been made about our football coaches and particularly head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting. In our league appropriate protocol, if you have concerns, is to share those concerns with your athletic director. Then your athletic director will make the determination on the appropriate communications from that point forward. The athletic directors in our league are professionals and communicate with each other extremely well. Urban Meyer and his staff have had a compliance conscience since they’ve arrived.”

Pretty rich, coming from Jim Tressel’s enabler.

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“Nice hat.”

Les Miles, livin’ large at the Heisman ceremonies:

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Does Georgia have the horses?, part four

Sorry, but with LSU looking at a possible undefeated season which would include SEC and national titles, I can’t help but revisit Heisman/College Football Pundit’s spectacularly wrong assessment of Les Miles as the worst college football head coach in America.

1. Les Miles, LSU — You could put a potted plant on the sideline at Tiger Stadium and get the same results Miles has gotten for LSU.  And there would probably be better clock management.  Selling his soul to the devil in exchange for wins in close games puts him over the top here.

What makes that especially delicious is that the potted plant’s success this season is significantly attributable to one of the smartest moves of his coaching career, ditching offensive coordinator Gary Crowton and his complexity-for-complexity’s sake system for a much simpler power football scheme.  LSU has an identity on offense.  It doesn’t screw up as much as it used to.  And it’s become a much more efficient scorer.

It’s a contrarian approach in a college football world of spread attacks.  And in the land of defenses built to stop the spread, the power football offense can be king.

Which is why we Georgia fans need to be careful as we beat our chests saying things like LSU hasn’t faced a balanced team like the Dawgs this season.  Because the truth is that Georgia hasn’t seen an offense like LSU’s this season either.  (The closest was probably South Carolina’s, but even there, the Gamecocks ran a zone-blocking scheme and not the straight ahead power stuff we’ll see Saturday.)

As a certain head coach we know puts it,

“Their goal is not to trick anybody,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team will face the Tigers this weekend in the SEC championship game. “Their goal is to line up and play real sound football in all three phases and basically physically maul you — wear you down and wear you out, make you quit. They’ve been able to do it most every game they’ve played.”

They’ve got the big, physical line and the deep backfield to do that.  But they’ve got other personnel that contribute to that, as well.  Rueben Randle will be the best receiver on the field tomorrow (even if Georgia gets the edge in receiving based on depth); he’s the most formidable wideout the Dawgs have seen since Alshon Jeffrey.  Both of LSU’s quarterbacks complete a higher percentage of their passes than does Aaron Murray and while they’ve combined to throw 13 less touchdowns than Murray, they’ve also combined to have a better TD/INT ratio than he does.

And don’t sleep on Jordan Jefferson’s ability to run.  He’s LSU’s fourth leading rusher.  Against Arkansas, they used the option brilliantly during the early part of the game when he couldn’t get untracked throwing the ball.

These guys don’t screw up much on offense.  Their job is to wait for the other team to do that and then capitalize.  And then pound the other team’s defense into the dust.  They’re damned good at it.

There’s only so much Todd Grantham can control.  If Georgia’s offense and special teams commit their share of errors, it’s going to put an enormous amount of pressure on the defense.  That didn’t work out so well in the fourth quarter of the South Carolina game when Lattimore took charge and never let go.  But if the Dawgs can stay away from making mistakes, LSU may indeed find out about what that balance we’ve been bragging about means.

One thing’s for certain, though.  It’s final exam time for those vaunted changes in the Strength & Conditioning program.  Strap it on, boys, and show us they’re for real.

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“Not many.”

Les Miles has really honed his stand up routine.

“Not many.”, posted with vodpod

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