Golden Football Magazine
November 25, 2019
Quotation
Steve Spurrier on Nick Saban in 2012: "He's got a nice little gig go­ing, a little bit like [John] Calipari. He tells guys, 'Hey, three years from now, you're going to be a first-round pick and go.' If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the great­est coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere be­sides Alabama and win, because they've always won there at Alabama."

Tiger Den

1965 Sugar Bowl

The Tigers had to corral Syracuse's RB tandem of Floyd Little and Jim Nance.

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Saints Saga

Unexpected Uplifting Victory

The Saints' 2005 preseason was like none other in NFL history.

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Seminole Sidelines

FROM THE GOLDEN ARCHIVES

October 18, 1947: The first Florida State football game.

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1947 Florida State-Stetson Program
Super Bowl XIV

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Los Angeles Rams

The Steelers sought their fourth Super Bowl championship in the last six years.

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Football Profile

John Heisman - 2

A personal tragedy led to Heisman coming to Auburn.

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How Well Do You Know the Rules?
NFL Huddle Situations
College players' nicknames
Quite a Plane Ride
Ray Glier, How the SEC Became Goliath: The Making of College Football's
Most Dominant Conference
(2012)
Messengers kept coming down the aisle every few minutes. "Pitt's winning." They walked back and forth a couple more times on the flight back to Baton Rouge, ... giving the partial score of the West Virginia-Pitt game. It was too tedious for Les Miles and he finally had enough. "I'm not the guy who wants to get a partial score," the LSU coach said. ... "Give it to me at the end."
"Playing for a conference championship is awfully damn important here," Miles said. "Even this past season [2011] we're going to hang two banners in this building. A Western Division banner and the SEC banner. Those are damn important things and they were dam important in 2007." ...
When the plane landed, Miles heard the final score: Pitt 13, No. 2 West Virginia 9. It had all been lined up for the Tigers; LSU had a chance to play for the national champ­ionship. West Virginia had been a decisive favorite against the Panthers, who were just 4-7, but the Mountaineers unraveled. Their sensational QB, Pat White, dislocated his thumb in the second quarter, the Mountaineers lost three fumbles, and WVU be­came the sixth team ranked No. 2 in 2007 to lose. Pretty luck, huh? For LSU, that is.
Miles sitting in his office in Baton Rouge four and a half years later, just smiled. Pat McAfee, an NFL-caliber kicker, ... had missed two makeable FGs for West Virginia. How could that happen? Miles turned his right hand over, the palm was up, and he kept smiling and gave a little shrug. A Bible was a few feet away on his coffee table. You knew what he meant. A blessing had flowed into his open palm. ...
"We got on the plane having won the conference championship," Miles said. "We got off the plane with a chance to win the national championship. Are you kidding me? How wonderful all that was."
It was not so wonderful for West Virginia. After this bitter loss on a bitter-cold night, plenty of ill will followed. Some students gathered outside McAfee's off-campus apart­ment and started shouting threats and honking horns. Texts warned of abuse for miss­ing FGs from 20 and 32y. His car was vandalized and then there was the ultimate smack talk: a death threat.
"It was just a nightmare," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said after the game. "The whole thing was a nightmare."
For LSU, it was euphoria. Just to make sure the BCS did not dare slip anyone but LSU into the National Championship Game against Ohio State, Miles was given directives on the tarmac on whom to lobby in the media to make it all secure. Les the Lobbyist got on ESPN and started talking up the Tigers. Undefeated in regulation, he chimed, a phrase coined by his wife, Kathy. LSU (10-2) had lost to Kentucky and to Arkansas, both in triple overtime. They had clobbered No. 9 Virginia Tech and beat Tim Tebow and No. 5 Florida. They won at No. 18 Tennessee and beat Nick Saban's first Alabama team in Tuscaloosa.
"Georgia wanted to say it was the hotter team and it should play Ohio State," Miles said. "Well, I said the hell with them. We were the better team. They didn't even win their side of the conference. We had accomplished greatly, even if we didn't get in that last game. It didn't make any stinking difference where we played after we won the championship of this conference. But I'm glad we got the shot. It was going to give us a chance to get healthy. Glenn [Dorsey] needed the time off, and Matt Flynn [QB] didn't even play in the conference championship game. When we got healthy, well, you saw it."
The Tigers waxed the Buckeyes. They were good and lucky.

L-R: Les Miles, Glenn Dorsey, Matt Flynn, Jordan Jefferson
They were more than that, though. They were a together team. Some significant players on the '07 championship team, such as Dorsey, the All-American defensive tackle, were recruited by Saban ... Then the Miles recruits were mixed in with the players left behind by Saban. A visitor to Miles's office wanted to talk about Saban's guys, but Miles held his hand up as a stop sign. "No, no," said Miles. "When I got here, they became my guys. ..."
The players, meanwhile, treated it as if they belonged to neither Saban nor Miles. They were LSU guys. That's how LSU has remained near the top of the heap in college foot­ball the last five seasons: Louisiana pride. People around the state recognize that high school players, staying in state, can deliver championship after championship.
"Eighty percent of the guys in the program were from Louisiana," said Craig Steltz, the safety for the 2007 team. "It doesn't matter for a lot of guys who the coach is, Saban or Miles. We are going to uphold the tradition of the program. We are going to wear the white jerseys and gold pants at home. We're going to run through the goalposts and walk down the [Victory] hill. The tradition is what has to be upheld through the years."
That was fine by Miles. Players first, coach second. Miles made the mistake one time of getting the order wrong. It still bugs him. He remembers referring to his guys after one game while he was the head coach at Oklahoma State as "they," and he has never fogotten it. "We were at Kansas State, and we got the s*** kicked out of us," he said. "We had suspended two FBs and had some injuries and it was just a bad day, and I, as a young head coach, put myself in a separate place and said 'they' when responding to a question. I had to apologize to my team. It so bothered me." ...
"We're playing Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game (2007). Matt Flynn is my holder; he's out, injured. Ryan Perriloux is my new holder. There is just a little differ­ence in how it all needs to mesh on the kick. Those things you as a reporter are never going to get from me." Colt David missed a 30y FG before the half in the 21-14 win over the Vols. David did not miss many 30y FGs in his career, but he had an alibi, a new holder. Miles refused to lay blame or enlighten.
It's why Miles did not jump down Bobby Hebert's throat publicly in the press conference following the 21-0 loss to Alabama in the national championship in January 2012. Hebert, a former NFL QB, popular radio talk-show host in New Orleans, and father of one of Miles's players, asked an agitated question about why Miles did not change QBs against Alabama with the offense flailing away. The answer was pretty obvious: Jarrett Lee, whom Hebert wanted in the game, had wilted in Tuscaloosa in the 9-6 LSU win in November when Lee had to pass against Bama pressure. Miles wouldn't say publicly that Lee was not going to handle the frother-up Alabama defense any better in the rematch. ...
"You're never going to get comparisons from me for Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee in that championship game," Miles said. "I am going to stand for both of them. I love both of them."
Even after Jefferson went on an Atlanta radio station a month after the game and bashed the LSU game plan against Alabama, Miles kept quiet. Others in the program were incredulous at Jefferson's sniping. Miles had stood behind Jefferson after the QB was in a bar fight before the 2011 season and stuck with Jefferson as QB after a num­ber of poor passing performances. It wasn't just the game plan that cost LSU against Alabama; it was Jefferson's mishandling snaps from center and penalties that ruined some plays. Miles needed a flak jacket with his own side taking shots at him, but he was mum. ...
He is considered a player's coach, but he does not coddle players. He tells them rather directly, "When you sign up to come to this school, you are signing up to really exceed expectations."

THIS ISSUE'S CONTENTS

FOOTBALL ARCHIVES

AAFC Championship Games
AFL Championship Games
Dazzling Debuts
Did You Know?
Football Firsts
Football Profiles
Football Quizzes
Football Short Stories
Football Stories
How Well Do You Know the Rules?
Memorable Games
NFL Championship Games
Odd Football Facts
Seminole Sidelines
Saints Saga
Season in Time
Slice of History
Streak Busters
Super Bowls
Tiger Den
LSU Bowl Games
A Weekend in Time


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