High Praise of Leonard Fournette at Media Day Puts Added Pressure on Freshman RB

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High Praise of Leonard Fournette at Media Day Puts Added Pressure on Freshman RB
USA TODAY Sports
LSU head coach Les Miles praised Leonard Fournette at SEC Media Days.

HOOVER, Alabama — Les Miles has outdone himself. 

Miles is crazy. It would take more words than a dictionary to describe all of Miles' mischievous activities. But for SEC media day, he shared updates of his daughter's softball tournament and his affinity for Derek Jeter's All-Star Game performance. 

Just Miles being Miles. 

USA TODAY Sports

Yet even Miles, arguably the most successful coach in LSU history, did the unthinkable when describing his talented freshman running back Leonard Fournette

But before getting to Miles' ridiculousness, check out this scenario. 

Imagine being compared to the greatest athlete of all time. Imagine being compared to the greatest athlete of all time by your coach. Imagine being compared to the greatest athlete of all time by your coach, who you have never played a game for. Imagine being compared to the greatest athlete of all time by the coach you have never played a game for in front of quote-hungry media members.

Welcome to Fournette's world, where this is now a reality.   

“He’s got speed, size and strength, he’s goal oriented and he expects more of himself,” Miles said per The Advocate. “Michael Jordan was not coached to be Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan expected himself to do something special. That’s the kind of player Leonard Fournette is."  

Really Miles? Michael Jordan? 

Fournette is undoubtedly the next great thing. But Miles did the unfathomable Fournette hype no favors at SEC media day in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Was Les Miles out of line comparing Leonard Fournette to Michael Jordan?

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Comparing any human to Michael Jordan is nonsensical. Jordan is a deity who can do no wrong in the eye of the public. Heck, King James cannot even stay within the same breath of "His Airness" without outrage.

Can Miles at least wait for Buga Nation to play a game?

LSU senior running back Terrence Magee made a more reasonable comparison: the Minnesota Vikings' Pro Bowl workhorse Adrian Peterson. 

"To be honest, I think he (Adrian Peterson) is the only guy that's playing running back right now that you can compare him to," said Magee. "He is fun to watch and mentor. And his work ethic is off the charts." 

Magee also said Fournette could be the best running back ever. 

Even Charlie Chaplain is impressed by how much Fournette has accomplished today without saying anything. 

Hypothetically, if Fournette averaged 150 yards per game, which is unlikely considering he will share carries with Magee and Kenny Hilliard, comparing any mortal human to Jordan is nefarious in American sports culture. Some would even call it blasphemous. 

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Magee rushed for 626 yards last season and will likely start in the season opener against Wisconsin. Hilliard is a touchdown vulture, having accumulated 21 career touchdowns on only 212 carries in three seasons.

Fournette was the No. 1 recruit in the country for a reason. He is a damn strong football player, which probably would have been a better, and more familiar, way for Miles to describe him.  

But do not expect anyone to label Fournette as "Air Buga" anytime soon, or ever.  

 

*Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

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