LSU Tigers: It Is Time to Appreciate Coach Miles For Who He Is

Christopher Williams@@6thCLagniappeCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers watches the action during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Anytime a popular coach who built a successful program leaves, the coach who replaces him will never be as popular as the coach he replaced.

Do you think Ron Zook could have been as popular as the guy he replaced at Florida? Zook could have went three years without losing a game and there would have been a certain percent of Florida fans who would have still preferred Steve Spurrier over Ron Zook.

When Rick Pitino left the University of Kentucky to go coach in the NBA, his replacement was Tubby Smith. Although Smith won a championship in his second year, he still was not Pitino and many Kentucky fans wanted him out.

When LSU's head coach Les Miles replaced Nick Saban in 2005, after Saban left to go to the Miami Dolphins, the fan reaction towards the guy replacing a winning coach was no different. Miles could not do anything right from day one. 

The first game of Miles's career at LSU was against Arizona St. It was scheduled to be a home game for the Tigers, but because parts of LSU's campus were being used as a temporary medical center for Hurricane Katrina victims, the game was moved to Arizona St.

The Tigers won in a close game against then ranked No. 15 Arizona St. Despite everything going on back home, LSU did not give up and coach Miles started off 1-0. Surely Tiger fans would be happy with this right?

Well of course they were happy with the win, but there were some who complained about how the Tigers won and some complained about the fact Miles wore an ear piece instead of the traditional headset. 

In 2007, fans were still critical of coach Miles even after he won the national championship. The fact that he was the first coach to win a BCS championship with two loses was just enough to give fans something to complain about.

Many LSU fans feel as if the 2006 LSU team was more talented than the 2007 national championship team and that they "defaulted" their way into the championship game. No matter what the guy does, there will be a fraction of the fan base who will find anyway to criticize him. 

Honestly, after the ULL game last year I started drinking the anti-Miles koolaid, and after the Ole Miss debacle last year I was almost a full blown Miles hater, but I found myself able to argue both sides if needed to.

Then after the Mississippi State game this year I felt that the fan base was painting an uglier picture of Miles than he really is. After all, this years team arguably has one of the best special teams and defenses in the country. Yes, the offense has more problems than any fan wants their team to have, but the coaching staff is working with what they have.

It all boils down the the quarterback situation, but despite the chaos in the last 40 seconds of the Tennessee game, LSU's offense showed much improvement when both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee played.

Then on Saturday against Florida in "The Swamp", the Tigers actually looked like a team with an offense that could actually strike some fear in opponents defenses. On Saturday, it was enough to be in discussion with national championship talks.

Right now LSU is 6-0 and ranked No. 9. Alabama, who is coached by the guy who Miles replaced, is 5-1 and ranked No. 8 in the nation. What if, what if LSU is 7-0 when Alabama comes to Baton Rouge and the Tigers beat the defending national champs then eventually goes on to win the SEC championship? What will the Miles haters says?

The fact is, coach Miles might not always do the obvious, but he has a method to his madness. The only thing LSU fans should do is sit back and be proud that there is no other winning coach in the nation than can do it like him.