FEINSWOG: Lots of things have Miles smiling

Is this fun or what? The place-kicker runs for a touchdown and it wasn't because the snap was muffed. The coach marvels with an almost gosh-golly chuckle about how much his team loves contact.

"This football team likes to play," Les Miles understated.


And now LSU goes to New Orleans to play Tulane, and talk about a laugher …

Yup, after four games everything is falling into place perfectly for the second-ranked Tigers. Heck, they're even playing two quarterbacks and both are doing well and there's not even a quarterback controversy.


No wonder Miles is smiling a lot these days.


LSU beat South Carolina on Saturday night, 28-16, primarily in rain on a field that by game's end was pretty chewed up against a team trying to make the jump to the next level.


That would be LSU's level, a stratosphere occupied only in college football also by Southern California, Florida, and – largely because of a favorable schedule – Oklahoma.

Everyone else is playing for a distant fifth place.


Not that South Carolina didn't keep it interesting. Scoring the first touchdown of the game let everyone know from the start that for the first time all season LSU would be in for a fight.


But that was before LSU's offense woke up in a big way, getting a tremendous jolt from the tiniest player, 5-foot-5 Trindon Holliday, whom Miles joked can hide behind the line, hide behind the tight end … Well, there was no hiding him when the speedster burst through for a 33-yard TD that tied the game before the end of the first quarter.


The second quarter did USC in, with LSU first mounting a drive capped by quarterback Matt Flynn hitting Richard Dickson for a 1-yard TD, and then the aforementioned PK David running into the end zone untouched for a touchdown on a fake field-goal try.


And not just any fake field-goal try, but a snap and then a no-look, over-the-head toss from holder Flynn to David, who caught the ball on the run to go into the end zone for the score. It was the same play that Auburn ran here in 1999 against LSU and one that is simply fun to see.


There are those who took extra enjoyment in it because it was LSU running a trick play instead of USC, whose coach, Steve Spurrier, is considered a master innovator. And also someone who quietly stirred the pot in the days leading up to the game, reminding reporters that LSU could have hired him in 1986 and that LSU is doing pretty well but never mentioned Miles by name.


Miles, of course, was asked about beating Spurrier in their first matchup, and he gave what can only be called a Miles-like answer:


"I'm not built so that I look to beat him. That's not the issue. The issue is this team works hard and enjoys their play and comes to the field ready. And you know what? I've not seen this team come to the field without a real passion and a feel for the game. As long as that continues, there will be very little of me involved."


It's kind of an unusual way of saying it's all about the kids; but it is, and that's why his kids seem to really like him and love playing for him.


They should really love it Saturday, when LSU can name the score in the Superdome. It will be an opportunity to play a lot of kids, score a lot of points, and smile some more before the game of the season, when Florida comes to LSU on Oct. 6.


Talk about fun.




Lee Feinswog is a Baton Rouge sportswriter. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or sportsmonday@aol.com.

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