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Miles doesn't bite on calling out officials

11/10/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Kudos to LSU coach Les Miles for playing it right down the middle.

After all the complaining, whining and gnashing of teeth about the officiating in the SEC this season, it’s refreshing to hear a coach stand up and say that one play didn’t beat his team.

Sure, Miles was peeved about not getting that interception in the fourth quarter last Saturday in Alabama’s 24-15 win over LSU. It sure looked like an interception, although it was called an incompletion on the field and the video replays weren’t conclusive enough for the replay official to overturn it.

Miles understands how the replay system works. It’s not perfect, far from it. We’ve already seen that a couple of different times this season.

But blaming the officiating for everything bad that happens to a team is getting old.

“I believe in my heart that those officials are trying, and if I felt differently, I’d say that,” Miles said. “I don’t believe that. I believe they are working hard to get it right, and that doesn’t change the score today or the position we’re in.”

Miles, like all the SEC coaches, also knows that SEC commissioner Mike Slive isn’t going to tolerate any more public scrutiny of the officials by coaches. Slive was in Tuscaloosa for the game last Saturday and told me that the precedent has been set with the $30,000 fine on Florida’s Urban Meyer.

Had Meyer’s comments on the SEC teleconference been more critical last week, Slive said he would have suspended him. Even then, Slive said he thought seriously about suspending Meyer all the way up until Thursday night.

Anyway, it’s good to see Miles taking the high road. Coaches in this league have more incentive to do so than ever before.

It’s called dollars and cents and sitting at home and watching your team play on television.