January 17th, 2012 09:31 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: LSU
Tags: Besides Gonzales, Jefferson Shepherd, LEE, LSU
For the past few days, a viral email has been darting from inbox to inbox of LSU fans still trying to come to grips with why their team looked so bad in the BCS Championship Game. (No team ever just looks bad, of course… it’s always a product of cheating refs or in-house fighting). The email — at least the variation that we received at MrSEC.com on Saturday — claimed that LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa had decided to go with Jarrett Lee as his quarterback in the title game, that Les Miles nixed those plans, and that a black/white debate between Tiger teammates broke out as a result. All just hours before the title game.
Here’s what we got in the ol’ inbox:
“I spoke to my friend Lois who works in the football office last night. She was away from the office and could tell me more. Everyone associated with the program was told to stick to the same story…………”Strudawa & T-Bob Hebert” had words & that’s why Hebert didn’t play.
That’s not the story.
Game plan was for Lee to play. About 3-4 hours before the game after a team meeting the players knew the game plan and were discussing it. Jefferson made a comment that Lee didn’t have what it took to play in this type of game. Blackwell, Hebert & other white guys defended Lee in a big yelling match. Things cooled off cause Strudawa came in and told them to get ready to head to game & let it be. When they got to superdome Lee was one of the last getting off the bus. He was down & upset cause of the “ordeal” and felt bad that he had friends standing up for him. Strudawa told him to shake it off they were sticking to the game plan. In the meantime when they got to the locker room Jefferson & Shepherd said that Strudawa was going to make Jefferson look bad cause he didn’t want Jefferson to play he wanted Lee……..well Hebert nearly killed Jefferson. Strudawa had a meeting with Miles and Strudawa told him that Lee needed the chance to play and that Alabama was not ready for Lee to play. Miles said it was his call & he didn’t want Lee or Hebert on the field. When Strudawa said that they both were going to play Miles told him to start looking for another job. He said I will fire you tomorrow and you will have to find yourself another job. He told him the 5-10 plays he wanted to be played and it was not anything what the team had practiced. Strudawa said well your fellow Shepherd won’t play either but Miles overruled that too. Team was confused as to why the game plan had changed with no explanations. It got very heated between Strudawa & Miles. She said Miles does this with every offensive coordinator. He said Strudawa kept telling him we have won 13 games doing it our way (meaning he & Kragthorpe) and now you will change & lose everything over him. Said that it became a black & white issue with the players & Shepherd kept mouthing off saying they couldn’t do it without Jefferson & himself. Hebert & others said that’s what you think. Said that Strudawa didn’t want Shepherd in the game at all but Miles demanded that he be put in for 3 plays only. Said that the team was in shock and upset because what they have been working on & the plays they ran in practice were never used during the game & that all the plays that Strudawa called Miles overruled. He did what he wanted and so there were only a handful of plays that Miles used during that game. Tension was so tight between the players. She said with Jefferson & Shepherd gone the team will play together without the trouble makers.
Note: LEE did graduate on time & it wasn’t him that cost us the recruit leaving (Patrick Miller) it is Jefferson that didn’t mean his deadline……… She said Miles argues all the time with all offensive coordinators to do things his way. She said Strudawa stood up to him but yet Miles pulls ranks and threatens to fire him…………She said he thinks he knows more about the offensive side of the ball than the coordinators he hires. Said Miles won’t tell Chavis anything cause he knows better.
She was going to talk to Miles private secretary today while Miles would be out of the office a few hours this morning. Said they were all walking on egg shells in the office. This was also “tweeted” or put on a blog so it’s a matter of time before everyone finds out what happened. No matter what he tells the staff & players to say it will come out. She is afraid if Miles keeps doing this we are going to lose our coaches……………..that’s one reason Gonzales left…..he saw that Miles will continue to run the ball therefore the wide receivers and all will never get a chance. Besides Gonzales wanted to be an offensive coordinator again & knew he was never going to get the chance here especially with Miles pulling rank with play calling.
Will keep you updated……”
As we pointed out on the day after the game, Miles and LSU had decided long before January to phase Lee out of the Tiger offense. His playing time was cut drastically after the Tigers’ first game with Alabama. In the SEC title game — much to the dismay of many Tiger fans — Lee was sent into the blowout win over Georgia to take the final kneel-down snap, which was viewed as a slap in the face to the player who had led LSU past the likes of Oregon and West Virginia early in the season.
There was no way in hell LSU coaches were going to make Lee their starter for the BCS title game after sitting him for the last month of the season. To suggest so — as the email above does — is conspiracy theorizing at its best.
Enter ex-Tiger offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert who tweeted the following on Friday:
“I just heard about this alleged argument that took place between me and coach miles before the game, there is absolutely no truth to it.”
“Nothing out of the ordinary happened before the game.”
This morning, Hebert appeared on WQXI-AM 790 in Atlanta to make it even clearer that the email is false. Totally false. Completely false. (Full disclosure: I’ll be on CSS’ “SportsNite” with Nick Cellini from the “Mayhem in the AM” crew this evening at 6pm ET.)
“Everybody as a team stuck together. Nothing changed. Everybody had each other’s back. We believed in the gameplan. I was telling folks before the game maybe it was the best gameplan we had all year. That turned out not to be the case.”
Some will no doubt say that Hebert is just covering up. There are plenty of kooks in the world. But the fact is, if a major brouhaha like the one described above had taken place, there would be no way to keep 85 players, 10 coaches, support staff, equipment managers and LSU hangers-on totally quiet. We’d be seeing a lot more than just phantom emails (and the details of those emails change from sending to sending, by the way).
One has to wonder if the person who cooked up this wacky tale was an LSU fan… or the fan of a rival team determined to play with the noggins of angry/sad Tiger fans. Either way, LSU fans believed enough of what they read to forward the story to other LSU fans. Those fans forwarded the emails to media members and posted the story on messageboards.
Now LSU players are having to state just how ridiculous the initial claims were.
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