Leave it to a radio host born in Cut Off, La., to dominate LSU’s postgame news conference last night. Alabama had just stomped a 21-0 mudhole in the Tigers, and former Saints/Falcons/Northwestern State University Demons quarterback Bobby Hebert (H-E-B-E-R-T, “Hebert.” It’s a fun name to pronounce) channeled everyone in America who had been wondering when Les Miles would yank Jordan Jefferson, the Tigers’ signal-caller and gift-wrapper of interceptions.
After all, there was a perfectly ambulatory Jarrett Lee on the sidelines. Yes, Lee threw two picks against three completions in the Tigers’ win over the Tide in November. Nonetheless, the BCS National Championship Game was not Jefferson’s night. His final line (11-for-17 for 53 yards and an interception, to go with 15 yards on 14 carries) doesn’t even describe Jefferson’s hot panic, as he tossed passes for negative yardage and blew option reads and absorbed four sacks for negative 36 yards.
Hebert, now an AM sports broadcaster, listened to Miles’ opening statement, which was resigned, contrite and hopeful. Then Hebert spent the better part of a minute dog-paddling around this alleged question:
Coach, did you ever consider bringing in Jarrett Lee, considering that you weren’t taking any chances on the field? Now, I know Alabama’s defense is dominant. But, come on, that’s ridiculous, five first downs. I mean, so it’s almost an approach, I’ll tell from you the fans’ standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in Jarrett Lee? So what if you get a pick six. It seems like the game plan that – not pushing the ball down the field, considering it’s like a Rueben Randle or Odell Beckham Jr. I know the pass rush of Alabama, but theres no reason why in five first downs – you have a great defense, LSU is a great defense, but that’s ridiculous.
The moderator replied, “Do you have a question?” Hebert attempted concision and settled on, “Do you think you should have pushed the football more down the field?” Miles refrained from a reply of “well, duh” to suggest that the play calls were in fact designed to pick up yardage but were not successful. And that while he did consider throwing Lee to the sharks, he felt the pass rush demanded a more mobile quarterback. Y’know, someone who can lose nine yards per sack.
If Hebert’s exasperation sounded more visceral than the typical jock-turned-media-personality softball, consider that Hebert’s son T-Bob is a senior offensive guard for the Tigers. Already known as an unabashed press-box cheerleader for the Saints, Hebert can now add “frustrated dad” to his media credentials. One imagines the New York Times’ Greg Bishop still trembling and sweating as he relayed the scene on his blog post: “In the often mundane world of post-event news conferences … this rant, in all its fan-like anger – from a broadcaster to the man who coached his son – registered somewhere near the level of ‘bombshell,’ as the room fell silent and faces filled with shock.” The horror. The Hebert.