You’re right, he’s totally insane.
You’re right, he has no business coaching in the SEC.
You’re right, Les Miles didn’t win a National Championship last year, or at least if he did, he won with Nick Saban's players.
And yes, I'm aware he wears his hat funny.
I’ve heard it all.
Including an opposing fan stopping me on the street to tell me, "Your coach is an idiot."
To which I replied, "An idiot like a fox."
I have to say I was somewhere in the middle on Miles when he got to Baton Rouge. I was looking for a systematic decline after his first couple of years. But it didn’t happen.
Sure, he's not the best behind a microphone. Luckily, LSU didn't hire him to be an award-winning orator. Miles has had three great seasons at LSU. But you probably need a little more convincing other than seeing the Mad Hatter hoisting the crystal football this past season eh?
Let’s see what else I got. Les Miles has been at LSU for three years. In those three seasons:
-He’s won an SEC and National Title. Also he’s won the SEC West two out of three years.
-He guided the Tigers through the most tumultuous season off the field in his first year after Hurricane Katrina.
-He makes great hires. LSU has had a great staff in Miles’ tenure highlighted by defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. It seems Miles has a great relationship with his coordinators, including the wisdom of delegating most of the scheming and play-calling to his OC and DC.
-He’s blown three bowl opponents (Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Miami) out of the water. After three seasons, is there a better coach with a month to prepare? Meyer? Ask Michigan. Tressel? See ’07 and ’08. Stoops or Beamer? No thanks. Maybe Pete Carroll? But it took a performance of Vince Young’s life to outweigh the advantage of Leinart, Bush, White, Smith, etc. and Mack Brown on the other sideline. Nah, if the Peach, Sugar, and National Championship are any indication, give me Miles in a January game.
- Miles is 34-6 at LSU. Five of his six losses were to:
’05- No. 10 Tennessee (after Katrina and Rita), No. 13 UGA in the Georgia Dome, with JaMarcus Russell injured during the game.
’06- No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Florida, both on the road.
’07 No. 17 Kentucky, on the road
Meaning his ONLY loss to an unranked team was to Arkansas and Heisman finalist Darren McFadden. Three of those six losses were in overtime, two of those three in triple overtime.
-He’s 15-5 against Top 25 teams.
-He’s 13-4 against Top 15 teams.
-He’s 7-3 against Top 10 teams.
-He’s 19-2 at home.
-He’s the only coach at LSU to ever post three 10-win seasons in a row. He’s also done the same thing with 11-win seasons. The only other SEC coach to do that goes by the name of Bear Bryant. He’s also the first LSU coach to post three Top 5 finishes in a row.
-He has 10 come-from-behind victories in just three seasons.
-Miles is an unheard of 34-44 on fourth-down conversions in his tenure at LSU. That’s just ridiculous! That’s a 77-percent success rate on fourth down. And I may not know much about football, but fourth downs usually seem pretty important. Nick Saban was 51.5 percent in his tenure at LSU, and 50 percent is pretty much par for the course on fourth downs across the nation.
- He’s brought in great recruiting classes, and will continue to do so. Miles' 2009 class is shaping up to be a great one.
-While perceived as uncomfortable and unintelligent behind a microphone, he is a smooth, enthusiastic, influential leader of men in the locker room, on the practice field, and in the living rooms of potential prospects.
-He beat five National Championship-winning coaches this past year: Spurrier, Meyer, Saban, Fulmer, and Tressel. Miles also beat Tuberville, who had an undefeated season in ’04, plus Frank Beamer—who is a pretty accomplished coach in his own right.
I could keep going, but if you’re still not a believer, there’s nothing I could keep going on about to change your mind.
My favorite knock on Miles is that he won this past year with Saban’s players. Miles, in his third season removed from the Saban era, has the Alabama coach to thank? No one thought Urban Meyer should have thanked Ron Zook after winning the National Championship in his second season.
Jim Tressel is a much respected coach around the nation. The much respected coach also won a National Championship in his second year. However, no one gives props to John Cooper for that win over the Canes.
Bob Stoops is one of the more revered coaches in the country, also a winner of a National Championship in his second season. So shouldn’t Sooner fans be showering John Blake with all the accolades?
No, those three guys are coaching royalty. Miles is a buffoon.
And you know what? I’m totally okay with you feeling that way. Because if you feel that way, maybe your team and its coaches feel that way when they run through the tunnel. And maybe just maybe if you talk yourself into the fact that LSU is led onto the field by a dangerous, idiotic oaf, then maybe your team won’t put forth its best effort.
The 2008 season will be a tough one for LSU, following the dismissal of Ryan Perrilloux. I know people are saying LSU is still loaded with talent—but talent or no, the quarterback is essential to keep drives alive.
LSU has been very successful on third downs under Miles, but Les has had the uber-talented JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, who was an efficient fifth-year senior leading the drives.
If Les can keep LSU in a race for the SEC title this year, this may be his best coaching job yet.
So keep underestimating Les Miles. He seems to do just fine when that happens.