I do not know the outcome of Saturday’s game, obviously, but I can tell you Miles and co. will do everything in their power to make sure LSU is as prepared as ever.
While yes, this may seem like a usual ‘LSU/Auburn’ matchup, this game is more for Miles.
Because in his career at LSU, he has done everything. He’s won the Western Division. He’s won the SEC. He’s won the National Championship. But the one thing he has not done is conquer some of the SEC powerhouses on the road.
Miles has made it a personal challenge of his this season to achieve victory in major road venues like the Swamp or like Jordan-Hare Stadium, because he knows if he can turn LSU into a dominant road team that he will be able to compete for national championships every season, not just every ‘odd-year’ season like LSU seems to be doing now.
Miles has a great resume at LSU, but he added to it last night. His team accomplished something that had last been done when the players on the team were children. He beat Auburn on the road.
And he really had the team ready to play. There weren't any of those stupid pre-snap motion penalties or delays of game. Special teams were the sharpest we've seen at LSU in recent memory. The game planning was excellent. The decision-making from a coach's perspective was excellent. I personally agreed with every call he made at the time he made them, except for the decision to put in / leave in Jarrett Lee in the first half (and even though he played poorly, it's hard to say that game would have gone the same way if he hadn't).
I agreed with the decisions to kick two long field goals on 4th and shortish in the first half, even though one kick missed. I agreed with the decision to kick the field goal in the 4th quarter.
But even more than the decision-making, his emotional demeanor is just perfect for this program. He is that perfect combination of emotion and calmness. He gets excited for his players when we win, and when we're losing he's just as calm and re-assuring as a coach could be. This week, he needed the calmness. In other weeks, we've needed the emotion. He always seems to hit exactly the right note.
One of my good friends, a guy by the name of Dan Kern, who lives in California, related this story about watching the 2007 BCSNCG in a bar filled with a mixture of fans. After OSU went up by 10 points, he told an OSU fan, "You guys don't have the intestinal fortitude to play a Les Miles coached game." Ballsy thing to say when you're behind by 10, right? But he was absolutely correct. They didn't.
This morning on The Sports Reporters on ESPN, Mike Lupica (usually insufferable) said, "This guy is a really good coach. I don't know what happened with Michigan, but he's where he needs to be and will be there for a long time." Dang right. For some reason, much like Nick Saban was the perfect coach for the LSU program in the early part of this decade, Les Miles is the perfect coach for LSU right now.