LSU doesn't rebuild, it reloads.
That's a tired cliche and one that will be tested this season after 10 Tigers declared early for the NFL draft, including six members of the defense. Headlining that group were defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, linebacker Kevin Minter and safety Eric Reid.
Not an easy task for head coach Les Miles, to say the least.
Despite the massive roster turnover, Miles is content with the current reality of the program.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Miles explains how he's spinning the mass exodus as a positive.
"We did a great job developing our guys, and investing in them," Miles said. "And what’s happening is that three-and-outs are reality. We’re going to have to enjoy the success that those guys can have in three and out."
Good for Miles.
Is he running an "NFL farm system," as the article suggests in the final paragraph? You bet he is.
You know who also is? Every other college football head coach in the country, without exception.
Sure, coaches want to raise great men, successful students and good husbands and fathers. That's part of their job description as well. But every player who sets foot on the college practice field this spring has aspirations to play professional football and is placing trust in each of his coaches to get to that level.
One of the biggest debates in college football today is whether players should be paid. They should be, but there are many hurdles to clear in order to make that a reality.
Pay or not, it's quid pro quo. Programs use players for profit and championships, and players use programs for training to get to the next level. In the process, players can—if they so choose—prepare for life after football with a quality education.
It also is a signal to high school players that playing for LSU is a pretty good pathway toward realizing their dreams.
Miles accepting this reality indicates that he recognizes what his program is—one of the best in the country.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Having players declare for the NFL draft early isn't negative. It never is. Sure, it can create some minor speed bumps along the way, but, by design, college football is subject to a hefty amount of roster attrition.
Seeing players realize their dreams early means that Miles is living his dream. He's running an elite college football program.
For that, he should be applauded.