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LSU Q&A

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This week's blogger Q&A is with a blog that we didn't make up. I promise. Pelican State Sports is an LSU blog. Really. Anyway, they have our answers up over there. Here are their answers to our questions.

1. Is Les Miles the right coach to keep you at a national championship caliber level? If so, what do you like about him? If not, what is his downfall, and who would you like to replace him with?
After some thought caused by the cleverly worded question, I have to say yes. Much as been made of Les' strange calls at times, his crazy hat style, his antics, and his apparent stupidity. But the numbers don't lie: 41-9 so far, 3-0 in bowls (all three blowout victories, by the way), and a national championship, albeit with two losses. Granted, if you talk to "football" people, they will tell you that a certain other SEC West coach is a better coach, but Les has shown the ability to maintain a level of excellence. Imagine: this is the worst year of his tenure and the team is 7-3, and pushed #1 Alabama to overtime. Just about any team in the SEC, with the possible exception of Florida, would trade places with LSU during Les' tenure, and as long as he continues to recruit well–this year's class is shaping up as a top-fiver–I see no reason why he cannot maintain a high level of competitiveness.
Secondly, whatever else Les is, he is a fun coach to have on your sideline. He runs more fake fg's, punts, and trick plays than anyone else in college football. He lets his players audible to fake punts from their own end zone, as he did in 2005 at Arizona State. In other words, he plays football like I do when I am on playstation, and it makes his teams incredibly fun to watch.
Finally, during his tenure, Les has, in my opinion, outooached Larry Coker, Tommy Tuberville, Philip Fulmer, Steve Spurrier, Charlie Weis, Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel in individual games. Some of those coaches (looking at you Weis and Fulmer) are overrated, but others (here's to you Spurrier and Tressel) are the very top of the coaching heap. And yes, at times he has been outcoached. But more often than not, his teams come up big. As I said in the first paragraph: regardless of what one thinks of his personality, just about every team in the SEC and the country would take his record right now.

2. We all know about Jarrett Lee's struggles this season. Can you explain the pick sixes though? Having not seen many of your games, I would guess that the offense is sluggish when he throws a pick and just doesn't respond well. Is it that, or is he just throwing them to corners with nothing but green in front of them?
Ugh. Its a combination. Just off the top of my head, it seems that when he misses a throw, he misses it by a wide margin and defensive players get the ball with room to make something happen. And they do. Combine that with some player frustration and that could lead to a lack of effort on some players' part to make a play on the defensive player with the ball.

3. In the comeback win over Troy, it seems like the first three quarters provided a blueprint for teams trying to beat you. When Troy was 4 or 5 wide on offense and stacking the box on defense, they tore you apart. What adjustments did you make to stop them in the fourth quarter, and what happened to your offense then?
Full disclosure - I chose not to watch the Troy game. I went to the movies. But from what I have read and seen, LSU woke up a bit, and started playing like the game mattered. Regardless, going 4-5 wides on offense is a good way to get an advantage on LSU because of an inexperienced and at times ineffective secondary. Good teams have found a way to isolate certain players, especically Danny McRay, on receivers and take advantage of his weak cover skills.
Defensively, with LSU timid about throwing the ball, stacking the box is a good tactic against Charles Scott. The LSU offensive line, huge and experienced, has been a big let-down this year, and has been unable to dominate the line-of-scrimmage like they should have in games like that. Teams have been effective doing exactly what Troy did.

4. We all hate to think about Billy Cannon, who will be honored this weekend. Name the one player on your team (other than Trindon Holliday) who could make a last second play to give you the victory. Go into detail about what makes this player special.
This one is pretty easy: Demetrius Byrd. He is a good candidate for this answer because he has done it in the past, notably against Auburn last year with one second to go on the clock. He is a big receiver, at 6'3" and 200 pounds, but his biggest weapon is his speed. He is incredibly fast. And while Bradon Lafell has become more of a go-to receiver this year in the LSU offense, Byrd is still their best big play threat from anywhere on the field.

5. What's your prediction on the game? Give me specifics about how it will happen.
As I mentioned in my questions, I fear Nutt above all others. He really really scares me every year, and I was very much pulling for him to leave the division when he left Arkansas. Of course, that was crushed about two seconds after he left, when he showed up in Oxford. But I don't fear him enough to pick a Rebel win. I think LSU can gut this one out. There are, of course, all of the requisite stories coming out of Baton Rouge about how Jarrett Lee "turned a corner" against Troy, with the obvious implication that now he will be a consistently better quarterback. I don't believe it. What that boy needs more than anything is an offseason. So I don't expect the LSU offense to come out and look like the 94 Cowboys at all.
What I do expect is Ole Miss to take a lead in the first half, maybe 10-0 or so, and LSU to get a field goal or maybe even a touchdown before half. Then I expect LSU to come out strong in the second half, grab the lead, and then have to fend off a fierce Rebel charge (sounds like I am describing Gettysburg or something) and hold on like mad for the win, something in the 27-24 variety.