One of my pet peeves that really bothers me is when people fail to give credit where credit is due. This lack of acknowledgement has at times trickled out of some corners of Tuscaloosa, and surrounding environs, with respect to Les Miles and the BCS Championship that he guided the LSU Tigers to in 2007.
The old cry that could be heard or read from some of the Tide faithful was that "LSU won that title with Nick Saban's players." It is as if St. Nick should somehow share in that title. I personally believe this line of thinking is a whole load Bayou Bengal manure.
First of all, many of the talented players that Nick Saban recruited to LSU before bolting to South Beach were probably LSU players to begin with. Les Miles probably would have come up with most of these players himself if he was head coach at that time.
It isn't like Saban is luring players that no one else is recruiting. Even today, Saban and Miles often make overtures to the same high school seniors throughout the south. Saban wins some battles as does Miles. Rivals.com will show that they both do quite well.
So what makes the recruits that Saban wins over any different than the ones that Miles lures. They are all 3, 4 and 5 star players that caught the eye of both coaches, along with others. It all comes down to what is going on between the ears of each individual player and what their mommas want.
So based on the fact that both coaches are often courting the same players there is really nothing any different about the crop hauled in by Saban as compared to that brought in by Miles; especially given that their respective classes are often ranked neck and neck.
How do you rate Les Miles as a head coach?
With that being clarified, despite the fact that many of the upperclassmen on LSU's 2007 BCS National Championship team were recruited by Saban, three years earlier, they were most definitely molded, groomed and developed by Miles and his staff to be champions.
Saban may have brought them to LSU in 2004 when they were bright-eyed kids right out of high school, but it was Miles who coached them and motivated them to achieve excellence in 2007.
Subsequently, Les Miles has received a lot of hate and criticism for reasons I am not quite sure. I believe much of it has to do with him being somewhat unorthodox in his approach to coaching and that labels him as a bad coach by some.
Some of the folks at Alabama, I believe, have ulterior motives for trashing Les. It is my opinion that it really yanks their chain that LSU was the dominant force out of the West for most of this past decade, especially in winning two national championships.
In talking with a number of Tide fans they believe that Alabama is the natural heir to the SEC West throne and they can't stand to see reality dictate otherwise. Their postings repeatedly allude to a "natural order" being restored with the Tide's recent success.
In stating that Les guided the Tigers to the '07 championship with Nick's players somehow, in their minds, directs some of that success, vicariously, to Tuscaloosa where Saban now resides.
Saban is a great college football coach as he proved at LSU and is now confirming with Alabama. Les Miles is also a very good coach and motivator who just happens to walk to the beat of his own drummer. This rubs many traditionalists wrong prompting the "bad coach" labels and inhibiting the bestowal of due credit.
The fact remains that Les Miles is the winningest coach at LSU during the first five years, even better than Saban during that same time frame. During those five years he has won 1 BCS title, 2 SEC titles and has a stellar bowl record. That didn't happen by chance. It was orchestrated by Coach Miles through superior coaching, a driving motivation and turning high school kids into winners.
Give credit where credit is due.