State of the Hogs: Miles Away

The Louisiana media and a few national bloggers went wild Tuesday afternoon with news that Les Miles had an offer to coach at Arkansas. They were all wrong.

Offers to be head coach at an SEC football school are very precise. They do not happen until funds are secured by the fund raising branch of the athletic department.

At Arkansas, that's the Razorback Foundation. For an offer to go out, that bunch has to meet. And it takes a bit to line up a quorum. These folks have big-time jobs and they do have to be notified for something like a teleconference to happen.

So for those thinking they figured out that LSU coach Les Miles had an offer to coach at Arkansas, first you have to assume that the money would be through the roof -- and it would have to be approved by the Razorback Foundation.

There's one missing link in all of this work the national bloggers put together yesterday with the Les Miles offer stories: the Razorback Foundation did not meet Tuesday. There was a call to suggest that a meeting could happen at some point in the day. I can tell you why. Jeff Long, UA athletic director, wasn't going to make an offer to Miles, his friend from years ago at Michigan.

I would not be surprised if Miles -- a very good coach, but a little on the goofy side as this mess Tuesday would suggest -- had been interested in Arkansas after he saw what was going on with the campus.

I could make an argument for Miles, but the most important thing is that he's not adored by Arkansas fans. Miles would have to grow on them.

He's a better coach than most think. He has come close to messing things up and often is prone to let weird phrases come out of his mouth. But his record is solid and his teams fundamentally sound. They are generally good up front on both sides of the ball, but so drip with talent that it tends to mask the coaching being done.

He was here for the better part of two days and could see the construction. LSU administrators were flying all over the stadium and near the construction area to get a feel for what they were going to have to do to catch up because I'm sure he said we'll have to have this -- it's better than their new football building that is already much out of date.

That building -- needed after Nick Saban begged for it arriving in Baton Rouge -- looks like an apartment building in Memphis. And they will be in a catch-up mode. I ran into them behind the south end zone suites several times.

I would guess that Miles approached his old friend Long and then asked for permission from the AD to talk. That's all it was, probably. And then the LSU AD leaked it to damage Long.

That's not a fun day in the SEC. Sad in reality, but it should not totally surprise anyone that someone at LSU would do that in a private search. Next time, I would not allow any of the LSU administrators to have a pass that gets them anywhere but their seat.

The key is that there was not an offer from Arkansas. The Foundation board did not meet. A call was in fact made that said they might need to meet, but it never happened.

I believe the same candidates are in play that I thought about one week ago and it will take until the end of the regular season for everything to play out.

I'd list Gary Patterson, Mike Gundy, James Franklin, Kirby Smart, Steve Sarkisian, Paul Rhoades, Gus Malzahn, Butch Davis and Tommy Tuberville and perhaps one dark horse that I don't know of the large variety.

I doubt we hear of that guy unless he makes a move. Anyone can try to guess that one and I can't help you because I don't know. There is some thought put to the order I have them, but it isn't something I'd argue strongly that I know for sure. Just the best guess I can make and I might put Butch and Tommy higher than Gus.

It's exciting and interesting every minute of every day. I may get tinted windows in my truck to keep from getting asked about the next coach at a stop light. That happened yesterday. My answer then -- well before the bloggers had an offer coming down the highway to Baton Rouge -- it's not going to be Les Miles.

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