GUILBEAU: Blowout blow-ups and fallout

LSU coach Les Miles really is a nice and patient guy with a good sense of humor. He will never be mad as hell and unable to take it anymore, but he is progressing on the anger chart.

On the Wednesday before the LSU-Fresno State game, Miles.was not his usual pleasant self at his press conference, but his temper flared after two questions by a young reporter about the likelihood of another blowout victory against the Bulldogs, who came in at 1-5 and as 30-point underdogs.


QUESTION: Coach, with this game coming right after Kentucky and another likely blowout coming after your past blowout …


MILES: You don't mind if I don't buy your "likely blowout." That's just not something I can take very easily.


QUESTION: I was going to say, at what point does it turn into practice on TV? At what point does the competition just stop being threatening? I mean, 21-0? 28-0? 35-0? Fourth quarter?"


Miles let the question sink in and appeared to be growing angry but did not answer. At this point, LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette asked, "Who's got another question?"


Then Miles said, "I didn't really understand it." And Bonnette said, "I don't understand it either."


Miles then calmy said, "I mean I understand what you're saying – at some point in time you're ahead. And when you're ahead, that's a good thing. And you know what, it's never practice. I always like being ahead, and being ahead by a lot is not to be demeaned. And being ahead is what we try to do."


Then Miles gradually grew angry and yelled the following words in bold.


"And you only hope that this is a question that is just a simple question, and never would you like to come in on a Monday and say, 'Boy how about that question I asked?'" Miles said, then raised his voice considerably. "Because then EVERYONE would know that it was a DUMBER question the SECOND time you mentioned it!"


Seconds later, Miles had calmed down completely and told the reporter, "Now I'm not mad at you. I'm just letting you know that you better prepare and you better prepare for each team individually and each team has strengths and weaknesses and you had best be prepared for their best shot.


"They are not coming here for vacation. They're not coming here to see Louisiana. They're coming here to play their best football that they can muster, and we better play ours. That's the only way you approach those games. And so, I apologize. No I understood what it meant. I just can't buy it. And if you ever got to sit in these shorts or in these shoes, you'd not buy it either."


In the end, though, the questioner was right. It was just another blowout for the Tigers, who defeated Fresno State 38-6. Since there were only about 40,000 on hand because of torrential rains and lightning, it really was practice on TV.


Knowing Miles, he'll probably apologize again to the reporter next time he sees him, unless the reporter characterizes next week's Tennessee game as "another likely blowout."


Miles is obviously adept at controlling his emotions, which is more than many coaches can say. He can turn it on and off. Behind closed doors he is pretty tough on his players. It is halfway through the season, and tailback Alley Broussard is just now exiting the doghouse. Meanwhile, third team quarterback Ryan Perrilloux may not exit his doghouse until next spring.


So, do not always judge a coach by his press conferences. Nick Saban was not as mean as he appeared to be at times publicly. Miles, in turn, is not as soft as he usually appears to be publicly.




We've seen all the statistics of LSU's blowouts. The Tigers have won their six home games by a combined score of 274-38. But what is the fallout of a blowout on the other side?


LSU's most lopsided win was 49-0 over Kentucky on Oct. 14. The Wildcats had an off week to think about it, and naturally former LSU coach Mike Archer - the Wildcats' defensive coordinator - is taking the brunt of criticism. Following his team's surrendering of 546 yards to LSU, Kentucky dropped to 119th out of 119 schools in total defense with 462.4 yards allowed a game. The next worst defense in the SEC is at Ole Miss, which was allowing nearly 100 yards less at 370 a game.


"A complete system failure," is how Kentucky coach Rich Brooks termed the defensive effort. "Nothing was working. We played virtually no minutes of good defense. It was very, very poor execution of defensive football."


Brooks knows defense. He was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons during their Super Bowl run in 1998 and most of his background is on the defense. He was asked if he would be taking a more active role on the defense.


"Obviously, I'll be involved," he said. "But the defensive coaches are working hard in practice to correct the things and areas where we're not progressing."


Mississippi State was blown out 48-17 at LSU on Sept. 30, but it now has some hope. The Bulldogs lost by fewer points to undefeated West Virginia the next week (42-14), beat Jacksonville State 35-3 the next and nearly beat Georgia Saturday before losing 27-24 in Athens.


State (2-6, 0-4 SEC) hosts Kentucky (3-4, 1-3) Saturday.


"I'd like to get the taste out of my mouth by going out and playing," Brooks said after the LSU game. "But from a health standpoint, I'm glad we're off because it gives the guys who are out a better chance of getting back."


Kentucky still has a very good chance of getting bowl eligible. With a win at State, Kentucky would be 4-4 with home games in the next three weeks against Georgia (6-2, 3-2), which is obviously struggling, Vanderbilt (3-5, 1-4) and Louisiana-Monroe (1-6). The Wildcats close at Tennessee. What bowl would not want Kentucky? Bowls like high scoring games, and you are guaranteed that with the 'Cats.


State making a bowl would be a miracle. After Kentucky, the Bulldogs play at Alabama, host Arkansas and finish at Ole Miss.




Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at  or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and occasionally USA Today. You can contact him at

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