Yes, Nick Saban did say goodbye to
Baton Rouge, bidding adieu to the Tiger
faithful with a 30-25 loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. The shock of
LSU’s last-second loss to the Hawkeyes had barely settled in before LSU had
their guy in place – that being Les Miles.
Many people said – Who?
Few people knew had hardly heard of
Les Miles, much less knew anything about the fourth year coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Sure the Bo Schembechler protégé’s name had surfaced when the
rumblings that Saban may bolt surfaced, but after the Cowboys 33-7 defeat in the
Alamo Bowl, Miles was brushed aside by the Tiger nation and LSU fans began to
covet the likes of Butch Davis, Bobby Petrino and Jack Del Rio.
When word leaked out literally
minutes after the horn sounded in Orlando that Miles was to follow Saban the
Great, a state of unrest began to grow in LSU land and the natives weren’t
Why you might ask?
Many of the arguments ranged from
his 28-21 record as Oklahoma State’s head coach in four seasons to his
lackluster showing in the bowl game against Ohio State to the fact he was more
focused on offense and fielded weaker defensive squads, which has been the
Tigers M.O. under Saban for the past half-decade. The there was the argument
that Miles has been widely regarded as Lloyd Carr’s successor at Michigan due to Miles’
Wolverine roots. Also, fans wasted little time in comparing Miles to Ron Zook,
the exiled Florida successor of Steve Spurrier and showed
little discretion in christening Miles as the next Curley Hallman or Gerry
If you reading this are one of
those folks, then you might not care to read the remainder of this
While we feel the way LSU handled
the Saban fiasco as well as the coaching search that included flirts with
Houston Nutt, R.C. Slocum and even an interview with LSU assistant coach and
terminated Michigan State head man Bobby Williams, in this opinion, the
powers-that-be on North Stadium Drive, may not have hit a grand slam with Miles,
but definitely legged out a triple with this hire (in Skip Bertman
For who was available at the time,
Miles is the best “fit” for LSU in terms of his background. An alum of one of
the grandest football programs in all of college football at Michigan, Miles coached under Schembechler as well as
Lloyd Carr in Ann Arbor, did tours of duty as a
coordinator in the Big 12 conference and coached in the NFL before returning to
the Big 12 as head coach of Oklahoma State.
Using the Saban formula in the
selection process, Miles coached at the number two school in a football rich
state just as Saban did at Michigan State.he recruited well and enjoyed success
in resurrecting the Cowboys program from the doldrums of the cellar of the Big
12, much like Saban did in East Lansing. Like Saban, Miles has NFL experience
serving as an assistant for the Cowboys under Dave Campo.
While fans squirm at the mere
mention of a 28-21 record at OSU, Miles did enjoy plenty of success in Stillwater winning, eight, nine and seven wins in his last
three seasons with the Cowboys, that including a pair of wins over arch rival
Miles takes a very business-like
approach to coaching a football team, much like Saban, but offers a much warmer
demeanor than the icy exterior Saban showed most of the time. The bottom line
is, LSU is getting a quality football coach, that can recruit, has coached on
the highest level, has produced results and looks to be putting together a
talented staff together to help coach this team. PLUS, he is a nice guy. While
some may take niceness for weakness, Miles isn’t a pushover and will stress
discipline. But it will be nice to have a coach in Baton Rouge that fans (and
the media) can warm up to.
You take all of these
ingredients and toss in plenty of wins and Miles will turn LSU’s legged triple
into a round tripper in no time.
Matt Deville is the editor
of Tiger Rag Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.