LSU football coach Les Miles has been called “The Mad Hatter” because of the signature baseball cap he wears on the sideline during games, as well as his occasional affinity for making unconventional calls.
Miles made a Mad Hatter call in the Tigers’ 35-21 victory against Auburn last Saturday. LSU lined up as though it were going to try a 30-yard field goal on fourth-and-10. Instead holder Seth Fruge grabbed the snap, stood up and ran up the middle for 8 yards, and Auburn took over on downs.
When asked what he got from the play, Miles replied, “A headache is what I got from it.”
“I need to give thought to running those things,” he continued. “I can tell you that it was designed well.”
Fruge gave special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey credit for recognizing on film where Auburn was vulnerable and designing a play to take advantage of it.
The play gave Fruge, who hadn’t run with the football in a game since five years ago when he played running back and returned kicks and punts as a senior at Notre Dame High School, two holes from which to choose.
Fruge chose the first gap, cutting inside of fullback J.C. Copeland, but on film, he said, it was apparent that if he had gone outside, around tackle La’El Collins, he would have scored.
“The fake was there. It was a great call,” Fruge said. “Coach put it in earlier in the week. He saw we might have a chance to gash them pretty good. We had the look we wanted.
“Hindsight is 20-20, but I took the inside gap when I should have taken the outside.”
Fruge, who’s in his first season as the holder, has been a stalwart on the coverage teams and was in on three special teams tackles against Auburn.
“I have to score some other way, maybe a strip and score or maybe we’ll get a chance to do something else,” Fruge said. “If I get another chance, I’m getting in there.”
More than one homecoming
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s return to Athens to play his former team (Georgia) is getting a lot of attention this week, but six other Tigers are also having homecomings this weekend.
Backup quarterback Anthony Jennings is from Marietta, wide receiver Quantavius Leslie is from Hogansville, fullback J.C. Copeland is from LaGrange, offensive lineman Andy Dodd is from Lindale and long snapper Reid Ferguson and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander are from Buford.
“I get to go to a place I wanted to play my whole life,” Copeland said. “They didn’t offer me (a scholarship) and I have a little chip on my shoulder about that. They knew I was interested. They told me I was too short (6-foot-1).”
Even though Alexander grew up in Georgia, he was born in New Orleans and had relatives in the Crescent City, which helped lead him to LSU.
“I just felt more at home at LSU,” he said.
Ferguson said both his parents went to Tennessee, so there was no inherent lure to Georgia for him.
“I’m going to bring a bunch of family and friends that can’t travel 10 hours to see me play home games,” Ferguson said.
All in the family
The Ferguson family will have a rooting interest in LSU for a while after Reid’s younger brother, Blake, committed to the Tigers as a member of the 2015 class.
HHe’s expected to succeed Reid as the long snapper in two years.
“I’m looking forward to taking him under my wing and showing him the ropes,” Reid said.
“He’s been around the program as long as I have.”
Blake was on the freshman team when Reid was a senior in high school so they’ve never played on the same team.
Martin expected back
Free safety Ronald Martin is expected to play against Georgia after missing last week’s game because of the death of his father, Ronald Sr., on Sept. 13.
The funeral for Martin’s father took place the day before the Tigers defeated Auburn.
Micah Eugene started in Martin’s place and made eight tackles.