DEVILLE: Fans won't let Miles soon forget loss

Is there any doubt LSU coach Les Miles is finding out how the other half lives?

Just two games into his tenure as the Tigers' head coach, Miles has already drawn the ire of LSU fans. A hero after the Tigers ventured into the Arizona desert and returned with an inspired victory over the 15th-ranked Sun Devils, the same fans that cheered him call for his head a day after LSU lost a 30-27 overtime decision to No. 10 Tennessee.

Only hours removed from arguably the largest meltdown in the modern day history of Tiger football, there are already local pundits pondering the former Oklahoma State's future at LSU.

The Baton Rouge Business Report's Tuesday edition of "The Daily Report" featured a reader poll posing the question, "How long with Les Miles be LSU's coach?"

A bit rash?

Well, yeah.

The guy has coached all of two games against a pair of teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation. Sure Monday's 21-point meltdown will go down in the books with some of the worst in college sports history. Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais included the loss in a collection of memorable collapses in LSU lore. How could you forget LSU's 22-18 loss to Alabama in 1998 as well as the "Interception Game" at Auburn in 1994?

(Ironically, Monday's honorary game captain was the engineer of those four, fourth quarter interceptions on The Plains. Was it an omen that Jamie Howard was the team's captain for such a historic fiasco?)

Rabalais also mentioned LSU's 36-33 loss at Ohio State in 1988, but forgot to include Dale Brown's 31-point freefall to Kentucky in 1994. However, that loss did come on the hardwood.

At any rate, Monday's game was one Miles, nor anyone involved, will soon forget. From the sheer bizarre nature of the game being played on a Monday to the inconvenience of LSU and Tennessee fans alike. The Volunteer faithful was up in arms about the fact the Tennessee team had to fly in and out on the day of the game due to minimal accommodations in Baton Rouge due to the hurricanes. Plus, UT fans were upset because the game was moved to Monday thus a small number of Big Orange fans could attend the game.

The LSU team experienced yet another delay in an already peculiar season and played just its second game of the season and first home game almost into the month of October.

Tiger fans, who have already been put through the ringer by two catastrophic storms and have been shorted one home football game this year, were faced with limited tailgating on game day, which in Baton Rouge is almost more important than the game.

Then there is Miles.

Chosen for the unenviable role of replacing LSU coach Nick Saban, Miles had the surreal opportunity of experiencing the best and worst of Tiger Stadium in a single game. Already complicated by the fact his debut in Death Valley was delayed by a host of bizarre circumstances, Miles took the field a hero, cheered wildly in the early stages then booed – twice.

While it is disheartening to here fans boo the home team at any time, the performance of the team as well as the coaching staff was equally discouraging. Some may argue players make plays and are responsible for their own actions, but the buck stops with the coaching staff – especially the head coach – when all is said and done.

While it may be a bit premature to break out the "For Sale" signs and head to Miles' home, the rookie LSU coach needs to understand the job he has accepted as the head coach of a major college football program like LSU and the responsibilities that go along with that.

Even the most reasonable fan can examine LSU's performance against Tennessee and grow a bit impatient. Remember, the Tigers are a 4th and 10 away from being 0-2. Fair or not, what Miles put on the field in the second half versus Tennessee isn't going to cut it. And as Miles found out Monday the hard way, fans aren't going to let him forget it.


 Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. Reach him at

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